Medtronic’s deep brain stimulation – Turning a revolutionary therapy into “standard of care”
In 2006 executives within the Neurological division at Medtronic were trying to determine how to get a new innovative deep brain stimulation therapy to a standard of care. Medtronic had been very successful in building and branding their pacemaker business. Its new deep brain stimulation therapies while using similar technology and manufacturing practices as the cardiac devices had different challenges as they relied on a smaller population of medical practitioners for referrals and the therapy was still considered cutting edge as the conditions it treated were typically treated with drug medication. In addition to these challenges, within Medtronic a tension existed between finding new applications for the deep brain stimulation therapy and maturing its current uses and applications. The case explores how Medtronic uses business processes that have been successful in the past to build market share and brand as well as create new activities to meet the markets changing conditions and expectations and take this new therapy to a standard of care.
Medtronic built a very successful pacemaker business and wanted to develop the same market share and standard of care with its deep brain stimulation therapy. Medtronic had significant challenges to overcome before being able to do so. The case illustrates the challenges of continuing innovative developments while maintaining a structured focus on developing business revenues and gaining market acceptance. Other learning objectives include how to focus forward thinking for next applications without detracting from existing and maturing markets. Also, issues are raised as to how business development and research and development can work effectively together.
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