CASE STUDIES

Search Specialism in Medical Technology

Strategic Roles to Drive Success

At the forefront of highly innovative science, Medical Technology is a booming sector and an important focus for Coulter Partners. The medical device manufacturing industry is among the world’s fastest growing industry sectors. From a replaced hip to a stented artery, from a new heart valve to an implanted pacemaker, the more than 500,000 medical technologies that are currently available share a common purpose: to improve, extend and transform peoples’ lives.

The search for talent in this rapidly expanding and innovative industry continues to pose challenges, as firms compete not only for the scientific and technological skills, but also for the business and financial acumen that they will need in order to gain an edge. With a significant presence in this market, having worked with many key Medical Device and Diagnostics organisations to build their leadership teams, Coulter Partners has gained considerable knowledge, connections and expertise in this field. The following case studies illustrate the specialism as leadership advisors that we have been developing:

 

Case Study 1

Med Tech spin-out goes transatlantic

Key Players: Nick, Irene, Carol, Charlotte B

Setting the Scene

Our client is a UK headquartered diagnostics company, with offices in the West of England and Boston, USA. They are leaders in the design and development of rapid point-of-care in-vitro diagnostic systems. With plans to launch in late 2016, their pioneering rapid diagnostic platform is designed to detect the presence of infectious diseases such as STIs and MRSA, where a quick test result provided on-demand can significantly improve patient outcomes. The small, low cost, easy-to-use instrument and a test-specific disposable cartridge are designed for use in decentralised laboratories, point-of-care and other near-patient settings, providing a laboratory accurate test result in around 30 minutes. This enables a ‘test and treat’ solution, avoiding delays in treatment and the need for unnecessary follow-up appointments.

Search challenge

Founded from a university and molecular diagnostics company spin-out and backed by major VC funds, our client was looking, among other leading roles, for a high calibre CFO with a strong US capital markets pedigree and operational experience with early-stage, medical device companies. During what was an extremely buoyant IPO market, where CFOs with public markets experience were in exceptionally high demand, this client turned to Coulter Partners for our extensive background in recruiting CFOs for early-stage life science companies and our ability to present a convincing case to candidates on their behalf. We were able to leverage well-established relationships with CFO and IR executives, investors, Wall-Street analysts, bankers and life-science leaders, as well as in-depth and broad-based understanding of the CFO market. With nearly 17 years’ experience in CFO search and an early career in investment banking executive search, specialist Nick Green was the ideal partner to take on this challenge.

The CFO hired, relocated from Florida to Boston and came with over 20 years of experience in the life science industry as well as a very successful track record in all aspects of growing businesses, including transitioning companies from a research focus to a commercial one.  His broad experience included substantial equity and debt fund raisings, mergers/sales and acquisitions and taking a number of medical technology companies public in the US. From a cultural standpoint, he also brought considerable European business experience.

Value Added

Further senior appointments successfully achieved for this client included a:

  • Chief Development Officer, with a strong engineering background and impressive track record of point-of-care/in vitro diagnostics, who has steered internal and external relations, including the development of a prototype via a contract manufacturer in Europe.
  • Research Director, to lead the research group, who had an extensive molecular diagnostics background and came from a senior role as Director of Product Development and Clinical Marketing. He was also former Head of Molecular Diagnostics with an established European company.

Our client is now on the cusp of launching their first product in Europe and the US, having just recently achieved CE mark approval.

Case Study 2

CFO with Strategic Transaction Experience for Medical Device manufacturer

Key Players: Geoff, Lilyana

Setting the Scene

Committed to bringing new freedom and ease of use to people living with diabetes, this highly innovative, publicly listed, mobile diabetes technology company is headquartered in France and has their main manufacturing base in the UK. The company has developed an innovative mobile diabetes management system, which includes a patch pump, a mobile handset with a built in blood glucose monitor, and an extendable applications set.

Search Challenge

Coulter Partners was retained to find a French-speaking CFO with Life Science sector knowledge, who also could offer significant experience of leading finance for a public listed company. Having completed their IPO the client was in the process of adjusting from being privately held to being a fully functioning public company, so the ideal candidate needed to offer both the strategic insight of a forward looking CFO with strong hands-on operational expertise. The talent pool of candidates who fulfilled these criteria was accordingly tight and CFOs of this calibre were consequently in extremely high demand.

The client turned to Coulter Partners for our significant track record in recruiting CFOs for early-stage life science companies, our ability to identify candidates who operate at a strategic level and on a global stage, and our skill in presenting a convincing case to candidates. This was an outstanding opportunity for a high-calibre professional to join an ambitious company with a proprietary platform technology and exciting opportunities to diversify over time. A medical device with a digital patient data application connected to it, which compiles macro-data on patient vital signs and the effects of insulin, this technology also represents a significant interface with the new and exciting world of Digital Health, an area where Coulter Partners is one of the few search firms with a substantive record of successful searches at senior levels..

The French CFO who was duly appointed to this position came from a multinational biopharmaceutical company and also brought to the table a strong track record in international capital markets. Having overseen a biopharma company’s public listing on the Nasdaq and contributed to an extensive programme of restructuring through mergers, divestitures and reallocation of resources, he had also served previously as CFO of a Euronext Paris listed company. Our client was delighted to attract such a highly experienced business leader, with expertise gained in strategic level global operations and a significant Life Sciences background, to help them fulfil their ambition and potential in the diabetes market.

Case Study 3

Lead Strategic Role to develop Global Business

Key Players: Geoff, Jason

Setting the Scene

Our client was a privately held Swiss medical device company focused on the development and commercialisation of innovative battery-powered implantable pump systems that manage excess fluid within the body and can be recharged through the skin. This automated, fully implantable pump system has achieved CE mark approval and has been developed for the management of ascites (fluid build-up in the abdomen), a frequent complication of late-stage liver disease and certain cancers. The pump can be linked to a data collection device, which will record patient data for transfer via smartphone to the clinician caring for the patient and to a database for further analysis and research.

 

Search Challenge

The client needed to recruit a CFO with substantial experience in financing, building, leading and managing a rapid growth medical device business to work alongside the CEO as a business partner. For an experienced CFO this would be an opportunity to make a real difference and create significant value for shareholders, whilst bringing to patients, physicians and healthcare providers new and highly advantageous technology. It would also be an opportunity to play a lead strategic role in the development of the business. Having reinvested sales revenues in further European expansion, a recent financing round was aimed at expediting planned clinical trials in the U.S. and investigating potential applications for the technology in cardio-vascular conditions

The CFO that was appointed to this role came from a broad financial and Life Sciences background, with significant Medical Devices experience. A strong track record in healthcare investment banking, venture capital and CFO roles, plus significant IPO experience made him the ideal fit for the profile our client was seeking. He was able to bring to the table the communication skills, strategic outlook, decision making and influencing skills, and project management drive associated with a true business leader. With such a small community in the UK and European Life Sciences market of CFOs with this level of experience, our client was delighted to achieve such an outstanding appointment.

 

Case Study 4

Building a start-up Med Tech

Key Players: Irene, Bianca

Setting the Scene

A venture capital backed company required independent directors to advise the Board on commercial and R&D strategy, and support the CEO to manage an exit strategy and/or commercialisation pathway. In addition there was also a need to appoint a Chief Operating Officer to oversee all operations.

Search Challenge

The Board was composed of founders and investor representatives, but lacked the industry sector expertise required to support the CEO. There was a need to attract profiles with both vascular expertise and knowledge of value growth and exit strategies for early stage devices businesses. Coulter Partners were chosen for their

  • reputation of successful work with VC backed businesses
  • strong track record of appointments for early stage, rapid growth firms
  • in depth understanding of relevant business models

The team was successful in guiding the appointment of two new directors and a restructuring of the board to balance its capabilities for its 3+ year horizons. Both board members recruited, one domiciled in the US and one in Europe, had extensive sector expertise and were able to add real depth to the board. We also placed a COO who could manage all clinical, regulatory and manufacturing operations and help the organisation achieve FDA PMA approval.

Value Added

A distribution deal with their commercialisation partner was consequently agreed and the new directors and board structure enabled an additional funding round to be completed for the commercialisation phase.

“Thanks to the team at Coulter Partners for getting not just one, but two internationally experienced leaders from the stent area.” – Chairman

The company raised a substantial sum from existing and additional investors to fund them towards commercialisation. It is expected that the current product range can expand into other indications and our client can open up new potential – and proof of principle in new markets.  Initially, however, they commercialised their existing technology with a partner outside the USA (they signed up with a world class distributor), and meanwhile conducted a clinical program in the USA to get to a PMA. The company turned to Coulter Partners to strengthen its leadership and execution capability, progressing commercial, R&D, clinical and new product development efforts in parallel.

Coulter Partners has continued to work with our client, and has gone on to appoint the commercial team’s VP International and Director of EMEA Sales, and the VP R&D.

Case Study 5

CEOs for Healthcare Incubator – In-Home Healthcare screening

Key Players: Irene, Bianca

Setting the Scene

We were retained by a newly created division of the one of the world’s largest healthcare organisations, a Healthcare Incubator, which is focussed on creating new companies and technologies leveraging breakthroughs in the parent R&D arm of the company. Our client started to pioneer a new and exciting venture, for which we were asked to find several new CEO’s.  The first one in Home Screening was built as a spin out opportunity from this Healthcare Incubator.

Helping to find entrepreneurial CEO’s

We were seeking individuals to drive the growth of such early stage organisations, by appointing experienced and talented management to each venture with the aim of fostering a dynamic and entrepreneurial environment. The first and most advanced of such ventures was in the Home Screening area, which represents an exciting and novel concept in the personal diagnosis, and ultimately treatment of patients. The premise is based on the paradigm shift away from point of care or centralised testing for disease, to a future model where patients will increasingly seek to carry out their own diagnosis from the comfort of their own home.  Bringing this vision to market, our client has patented a number of new technologies.

Value added

The appointment of the first CEO to explore the Home testing area was a success and helped drive the growth of the incubator, and as a result we were asked to appoint further experienced and talented management to each venture with the aim of fostering a dynamic and entrepreneurial environment. The first and most advanced of such ventures in Home Screening represented an exciting and novel concept in the personal diagnosis, and ultimately treatment of patients. Coulter Partners has been the strategic partner of this Incubator during the early years and was involved in several CEO appointments across other areas in point of care technology and image guided diagnostics. Some of this new technology might not have been nurtured at all had it remained in the parent company and in less than five years some of the ventures have become established companies with a number of promising products being prepared for commercialisation.