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MedTech POV Podcast: Titan Medical’s Cary Vance Talks Robotic Innovation in MedTech, the Importance of MDUFA V, and Addressing Supply Chain Issues


 Cary Vance, President and CEO of Titan Medical, joined AdvaMed’s Scott Whitaker on the MedTech POV podcast to share his experience leading a small medical device company through the regulatory process as they transition from design to manufacturing. In his role at Titan Medical, which is focused on enhancing robotic assisted surgery, Vance has had a unique view of the future of medtech through robotics, and he shares this experience and the importance of MDUFA V with Whitaker.

To kick off the conversation, Whitaker asked Vance about his own journey through the medtech industry and the work Titan Medical is doing. Vance described the landscape of innovative technology in health care and the realities of doing business in a field that is evolving rapidly.

“If you look at where technology has been and where it’s going, it’s important to both address current standards of care as well as look to the future,” Vance said. “I think that if you look in the robotics space, for example, 10, 20 years from now it’s going to look very different. So, when you’re in the space, when you’re trying to change the paradigm, you need to address not only what currently is needed in the market, but what’s down the road.”

Vance went on to say, “What I like about medtech right now, and even robotics specifically, is that everything has become very real. It’s no longer a flashy toy for a physician to buy. It’s no longer a billboard that says, ‘We have robotics.’ It is ‘What demonstratable value do you provide clinically, financially, logistically, ergonomically?’ Whatever it might be, you actually have to prove it. You actually have to have value that ticks the boxes on either pain points or opportunities that they have, and that’s good for the healthcare system and good for patients.”

Whitaker went on to discuss MDUFA V’s future impact on the industry, specifically how it will de-risk the regulatory environment and make things more predictable for companies and investors. Vance credited AdvaMed’s work to secure the most recent user-fee agreement and for ensuring greater communication between the medtech industry and FDA, saying, “it should be difficult to get through FDA, but it shouldn’t be a mystery.”

“I mean, if you could imagine you only have one shot, or you can imagine you only have six months, or you can imagine you only have five million dollars, that’s the environment that companies like ours are in,” Vance explained. “We can’t afford to misstep, or to even pivot. We have to know where the target is. We have to know what they expect, and we have to know how long it will take. Because we can’t absorb a mistake, or a misstep, or a delay.”

In discussing the impact of the COVID-19 shutdowns and ensuing supply chain issues, Vance discussed Titan’s efforts to secure robotic systems and thousands of component parts. He went on to praise AdvaMed’s work to ensure the Biden Administration and semiconductor manufacturers are prioritizing the medtech industry.

“We picked the time to transfer from design to manufacturing at the exact wrong time. So we’re contract manufacturing on a robotic system, and they have thousands of parts, which include semi-conductor chips, circuit boards, and so on. What we’ve had to do is be very creative. We’ve had to find ways to work with our partners to find the parts to incorporate in those systems. We also have to think about, because of the long regulatory pathway, when we go to market in 2025, when we’re selling these systems in ’25 and ’26, do we have parts that are going to become obsolete by the time we actually go to market? And so there are a lot of complexities to it even though we have a low volume of product that we’re manufacturing. 

“We also have worked with organizations like AdvaMed, who I know is lobbying on behalf of the medtech industry to say, listen, I know the circuit boards and chips are needed everywhere, including in the automotive industry and others, but this is a matter of life and death. We don’t feel like we’re on our own, and that’s, that’s the most important part.”

Vance also goes into detail about the importance of having a patient-centered approach at CMS and the role of investors in the medtech industry. Listen in to catch his thoughts, or find past episodes of the podcast, download the MedTech POV podcast on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or wherever podcast streaming is available.

AdvaMed, the world’s largest medical technology association, launched the MedTech POV podcast in April 2021. The program has featured medtech and health care policy leaders such as Dr. Steven Hahn and General James Mattis. In each episode, guests and host Scott Whitaker cover the intersection of medtech and policy from every perspective, including current issues in business, policy, and current events

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