Large Medical Device Firms Seeking External Innovation

In the medical technology sector, major corporations are increasingly looking to external startups and inventors for innovative new technologies. In addition to traditional M&A, these major strategic players in the medtech world are exploring innovative strategies to partner with early stage startups, and our speakers will explore topics such as:

  • How do major corporations find new device technologies that are a fit for their pipelines?
  • What can an early stage startup do to find the right partner?
  • How do partnerships work, and what conditions might a major partner have?
  • What kind of technical and commercial validation will be required to secure a partnership?

The panelists will explore these topics with reference to the technology areas that they are looking at for their future pipelines.


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David Uffer, Senior Partner Alira Health Ventures (Moderator)

David Uffer joined Alira Health with over 25 years of management experience in the medical device, products and clinical diagnostics field. He has lead strategy development, strategic planning and business development activities in these fields for mid and large cap public companies.

David has directed business development deals ranging from M&A, licensing, distribution and co-development for companies such as Medtronic (legacy Covidien) in their respiratory and medical products business, as well as Hologic and Boston Scientific. He has held management roles at Integra Lifesciences and Abbott Labs.

David has a BA from Clark University, Worcester, MA and an MBA from Thunderbird, School of Global Management, Glendale, AZ.

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Tomoko Ishikura, Business Development Advisor, Nipro Corporation

Tomoko is Partner at Kicker Ventures and Business Development Advisor to Nipro. Located in the SF Bay Area, Tomoko leads business development activities at Kicker Ventures in addition to fund management focusing on digital health investment. As Business Development Advisor, she supports Nipro’s due diligence process for a variety of global investment, acquisition and partnership opportunities.

Prior to joining Nipro and Kicker Ventures, Tomoko was Business Development Manager at Avantec Vascular, a U.S. subsidiary of Nipro. Prior to Avantec, Tomoko was a consultant for Axios International in France, and PwC’s PRTM and Aqumen Biopharmaceutical in Japan. She holds an MBA from INSEAD and MS in Medicine from Kyushu University. She is a member of INSEAD angels group and AIR of HealthTech Capital angels group.

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Christina Salys, Director of New Business Development, Intuitive Surgical

Christina Salys is a Director of Business Development at Intuitive Surgical where she leads the process for evaluating and executing transactions ranging from technology acquisitions and structured acquisitions, licensing and co-development collaborations, and strategic equity investments. Previous to Intuitive, Christina started out her career designing implantable cardiac leads for St. Jude Medical where she went on to hold roles in engineering management and program management. Christina also spent time at Flextronics Medical where she led a program management organization and conducted technical business development activities. Christina holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical and biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, a Master of Science in biomedical engineering from UCLA and a Master of Business Administration from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

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Rachel Rea, Director, Strategy & Portfolio Management, Surgical Innovations, Medtronic

Rachel is a Director of Business Development and Licensing at Medtronic. She has been with Medtronic for almost 9 years serving both its Respiratory, Gastrointestinal & Informatics division and more recently its Surgical Innovations division. As a Director of Business Development and Licensing, Rachel is focused on opportunities to bring additional innovation to Medtronic and its patients. These opportunities could consist of licensing, distribution, investment, acquisition, etc. Rachel has a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami in Miami, FL, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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Takumi Uehara, Manager, Business Development HQ, Terumo Corporation

Takumi is a Corporate Development manager at Terumo. Currently based in Boston, Massachusetts and working with Catalyst Health Ventures, he is responsible for identifying and executing on investment, partnership and acquisition opportunities in innovative healthcare technologies. Takumi has been working at Terumo for over 10 years, serving various functions from operations to strategic planning in different geographies. Prior to the current role, he was a project manager for Terumo Pharmaceutical Solutions in Belgium. Takumi holds an MBA from IMD Business School in Switzerland and a BS in Management from the University of Warwick in the UK.