Building specialized devices for medicine, a budding local business field
Excerpted from Wisconsin State Journal
By Judy Newman
Medical device manufacturing is nothing new to the Madison area.
The former Datex-Ohmeda, now GE Healthcare Life Support Systems, has been making anesthesia machines since 1904 and Nicolet Biomedical, now Natus Medical, has produced brain and nerve-related instruments since the mid-1960s.
In the late 1990s, TomoTherapy joined the ranks, with its radiation systems for treating cancer patients.
But a different version of the medical device industry is starting to take shape here, with companies working on compact, specialized products aimed at updating and improving on past medical equipment and procedures.
More than a dozen young companies have emerged in the past five to 10 years that could be the nexus of a new medical device cluster in the Madison area, some say, with products ranging from surgical tools to tongue exercisers, newfangled wheelchairs to prosthetic hands.
“I do think that Madison has the potential to be a specialized medical device cluster. We have a ways to go yet to get to that point, but I think it will happen,” said Terry Sivesind, entrepreneur, investor and co-founder of Merlin Mentors, a group that serves as mentors to local entrepreneurs.
“Where information technology intersects with health care has really been an intriguing spot, and many of those would be considered medical devices,” said Nicholas Mischler, a co-manager at Wisconsin Investment Partners, a Madison angel investment group.
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