Versicor aims to help bring new medical device ideas to life

May 2, 2014

Electronics Hardware and Software Development Company Offers Innovators Opportunity to Turn Ideas into Successful Products.

By Amanda Pedersen, Senior Staff Writer

Taking an idea for a new medical device from concept to commercialization is never easy. The pathway to market in the medical technology industry is almost always long, complicated, and expensive. For new companies with fewer resources, going it alone isn’t necessarily an option.

One newcomer to the medical device space, a firm called Versicor (Royal Oak, Michigan), said it wants to help technology entrepreneurs bring those ideas to life. Versicor also works with businesses in the clean-tech and transportation industries to accelerate product development.

Recently the company launched a contest, dubbed Ideas to Action, through which it will provide $250,000 worth of electronics, controls and software development services to select winners. The first of two application rounds opened today and applications will be accepted through Aug. 15. Selected winners will gain access to Versicor’s team of engineers as well as its platform. Christie Coplen, president of Versicor, told Medical Device Daily the company has been in business working with medical entrepreneurs for about two years. From a very broad perspective, the firm works with any device that requires electronics on the inside, she said.

“Effectively we’re providing controlled electronics to small to mid-size companies,” Coplen said. “Some companies we work with are very early in the infancy phase, but we work with other companies that are making $50 million to $100 million a year and have a clear path forward.”

In addition to helping engineer hardware and software for medical devices, the company’s services also include developing application interfaces or website development. The company also helps with data management and mobile design and development.

Data management is a growing need in the medical industry because there are an abundance of technologies available to collect data but not as many solutions to help the right people access and understand that data. According to Versicor, its software can not only transmit data from a medical device or mobile application but also help clients use that data and optimize the information to outcomes.

As for mobile design, Versicor said it is not a question of if but of when a medical device company will go mobile. The firm said it can develop a company’s application to drive its medical device, engage customers, and accelerate product adoption.

Often, early stage medical device companies do not have a clear understanding of the regulatory pathway their products will need to take, and Versicor offers support in the way of ensuring that all the regulatory requirements are met, and offering guidance on that process from inception.

Coplen said that based on client feedback, Versicor’s services can help clients bring a new product to market six times faster and can replace somewhere between four and six of the company’s engineers. The way Versicor is able to do this, she explained, is by using building blocks it has developed, taking that off-the-shelf hardware and software and integrating it into the device in a plug-and-play fashion.

“It’s kind of like building with Legos,” she said. Versicor can build a prototype of the product which the client can then use to secure venture capital, which in turn helps move the device that much closer to the commercialization phase.

Versicor’s Ideas to Action contest is expected to be an ongoing program that will include application rounds about twice a year. There will be one award recipient each round and applicants will be pooled together rather than separated by which industry they operate in.

“Through this award, our goal is to recognize product ideas in their infancy so we can better assess and deliver tangible products that embody their full potential,” Coplen said. She added that the goal of the contest is also to identify companies that have the potential to make a social impact in the U.S. but need support to make that happen.

“We want to help them get out of the gate faster” and ensure that an idea isn’t just an idea, it’s a product, Coplen said. But what happens after the product is out of the gate? Coplen said her firm’s partnerships with clients, including medical device companies, does not end after the product is through the FDA process. “Versicor is really a design distribution service provider,” she said. “We’re kind of a one-stop shop: Not only can we design it, we can also distribute the product that we touch.”