IATI Biomed 2015: "Israel is used to doing more with less"May. 14, 2015
For years, Medtronic has been one of the world's leading medical equipment companies. Today, following the acquisition of Irish company Covidien, also one of the world's largest companies in the field, it is probably the largest. After years of focusing on sophisticated implants, the $50 billion acquisition of Covidien has put Medtronic into almost every medical equipment subsector, from simple surgery support products to sophisticated products for electronic brain stimulation designed to combat neurological diseases.
Medtronic has been doing business in Israel for many years, and has had a development center in the country since 2006, when it acquired Odin Medical Technologies. It also acquired Ventor in 2009 for $325 million (although it closed down this activity) and Instent in 1996 for $200 million. Medtronic has a very active marketing company in Israel, invests in several Israeli venture capital funds, and sends representatives to the IATI Biomed conference each year.
Dr. Stephen Oesterle is Medtronic senior VP medicine and technology. Since his first visit to Israel in 2007, which he says left him astonished and enthusiastic, he has been here dozens of times, and has become one of Medtronic's leading advocates of cooperation with Israel. It appears that learning more about Israel has not detracted from his enthusiasm.
"I recently lectured at NASA about the connection between weapons, satellites, and medical equipment," he says. "What they all have in common is that we build an expensive and sophisticated device, and then 'launch' it into outer space or into the body, and expect it to survive in a hostile physical environment and monitor what's taking place. We want to maintain communications with it, while using a minimum of energy. Many capabilities in these spheres in Israel come directly or indirectly from the army."
For the full Globes interview click here.