Brett Johnson: Welcome, Brett Johnson here in New York City with OneMedRadio. Today, we are with Ken Mendez who is the chief administrative officer of AdvaMed and one of the architects behind AdvaMed 2011, the med tech conference that is now entering its fourth year. Ken, it seems you’ve been successful in your mission to build this conference into premium global gathering for leaders in the healthcare medical technology field. Can you tell us a little bit about its evolution and what we can expect at AdvaMed 2011, September 26th to 28th in Washington?
Kenneth Mendez: Sure. Thanks, Brett. We started this conference back in 2007. It was the first conference and there was never anything like it. The idea was to build the pivotal event for anyone who cares about the medical technology and diagnostics industry, and we’ve been very successful. There have been tough economies through the years, but we’ve grown by double digits ever since then, and you know it’s the place to come if you are involved in the medical technology industry. All our large companies will be there, our small companies will be there, too.
Maybe I should just take a second a little bit and describe who AdvaMed is just so you can understand because that’s really the focal point of the conference.
KM: We’ve got about 500 members, companies and subsidiaries and our industry accounts for close to 2 million jobs and the medical technology industry is about a $350 billion industry and the US accounts for 40% of that. So we’re a very healthy industry and we’re bringing it all together at this conference. While 70% of our active member companies have less than $30 million in annual revenue, our membership also includes 20 of the world’s 25 largest device manufacturers and 10 of the largest diagnostics manufacturers. So that’s who you’re going to see at this conference. It’s an opportunity for partnering where you’ll have small companies come in who want to meet the large companies and that’s a real feature of it.
And then we also have AdvaMedDX the diagnostics components,which is a subsidiary of AdvaMed, a separate brand we’ve developed that is also part of this conference. It’s a real opportunity for anyone who cares about the industry to come to Washington DC.
BJ: About how many people and companies will you be expecting to participate in this year’s event?
KM: We hope to have over 1700 people. It started as a 600-person conference and it’s popularity has significantly increased over time. We’ve got delegations from overseas attending. There’s an exhibit floor, some excellent speakers. The plenary speaker is George W. Bush and that kind of completes the lineup of recent presidents that we’ve had. President Clinton spoke two years ago. President George H. W. Bush spoke when we first started the conference. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has spoken at the conference just before she assumed her role as Secretary of State, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi opened the first year of the conference. We’ve had a number of senior officials from the FDA, Dr. Margaret Hamburg spoke last year. So if you want to know about what’s going on in the healthcare field and the medical device field industry, this is the place to come.
BJ: Can you tell us a little bit about the format of the event and sort of when it starts, when it ends, and what happens?
KM: So it kicks off on Monday, the 26th registration opens, but in general what happens is it’s a conference so we have various tracks. There’s a business development and finance track, the compliance track, E-health, diagnostics, emerging company issues and international track, and with a legal track. Within each of these tracks, there are 45 to 90-minute sessions that address key issues in those fields and in the industry. So if you want to learn more about the current issues on the regulatory, payment side, legal compliance side, you would attend one of these sessions. So there’s a menu of options and that starts and kicks off on Monday the 26th.
And then there’s an exhibit hall component where we have folks who are involved in the medical technology industry who want to reach out to some of the attendees, and then there are various receptions at embassies in this area obviously and events in the evenings.
BJ: So for small companies, emerging medical companies, what kinds of programming are you offering for them?
KM: Well, in addition to the tracks I just told you about, there is another complete track for emerging growth companies who have applied to present. They spend about 7 to 10 minutes talking about what their technologies. There is an entire day and a half where business development executives, venture capital folks go and listen to these companies. The deadline has already passed for making presentations, but if you’re an emerging company and you want to learn more about how other companies market themselves, you could certainly attend those sessions.
And then if you are an emerging company and you want to meet business development officials, we have a partnering system, an online partnering system where once you register for the conference, you can invite a business development official from a larger company to meet or with another vendor who’s there who you possibly want to meet. Once people register for the conference, we maintain a database and you can sign in and look for people that you’d want to network and meet with and then arrange meetings in the partnering suites that we have onsite.
BJ: I guess most of these firms are looking for capital, these emerging medical technology companies?
KM: Yes, I think they’re looking for capital, they’re looking for licensing opportunity, and they’re looking to connect with the big companies. I think from the big companies’ point of view, we’ve talked to a lot of the business development officials and they say that this is one-stop shopping for them. It’s a great place for them to come and rather than make 15 or 20 different trips during the year to various companies, they could come here and meet a lot of companies in one place.
BJ: So if you had to guess on the number of business development executives or the number of firms with representation in the business development side, any estimate as to how many might be attending?
KM: I think probably at least 20 or 25 business development officials, they’re actually listed in the program, who have committed to attend. You know as AdvaMed, our board supports this conference and the CEOs who sit on our board have asked from the start of this to make sure that their business development officials attend. As a result, this business development component of the show has really grown. As I said earlier, we have 20 of the top 25 medical device companies and if you have roughly 21 or 22 business development executives there, you’re covering most of the big guys in the industry.
BJ: You mentioned that AdvaMedDX, that you had a new initiative really focusing on the diagnostics companies, can you tell us a little bit about that?
KM: Sure. We felt that the diagnostics side of the medical technology industry was distinct enough to have a separate division. We’d already been doing a significant amount of work in the diagnostics side, but honestly there were some companies who saw AdvaMed as strictly a medical device trade association. So we created this separate brand that’s within AdvaMed that still reports into our board of directors called AdvaMedDX and it’s been hugely successful. We started about a year ago, we hired Andy Fish who is the executive director and he heads up the division, and it’s really attracted folks who’ve really thought of AdvaMed as pure medical device. Now with a diagnostics component we attract companies who wouldn’t have ordinarily joined AdvaMed because they thought of us as strictly a device organization.
BJ: So you mentioned that the conference is looking to move in other parts of the country. I understand you’re planning to take next year’s event to Boston. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
KM: You know, we have honestly modeled ourselves a little bit after the Bio Conference that our producer Ray Briscuso was instrumental in helping start. What we’ve found is as you move — it’s been in DC ever since 2007 and we really thought it was important to come here because this is where all the policy is developed and where government officials are and healthcare has been so important on the front page for many years now.
But what we’ve found is if we move it to other parts of the country where there’s healthy medical device activity, and Massachusetts is where we’re going to be in 2012, we attract people who wouldn’t ordinarily come to DC. Once you have the conference there, they see what a great asset it is, what a great opportunity it is and then they follow the conference as you move it around the country. So the plan right now is to go to Boston in 2012, but come back to DC in 2013 and then move it again in 2014. So, we’ll have a rhythm of being in Washington DC and then bring the conference to the local environment where there’s medical device activity.
BJ: Well, it sounds very exciting. It sounds like you guys have done a terrific job of building the conference and there’s certainly a bright future for it and it fills a very, very important need for the medical technology field generally. So that’s September 26th and 28th.
We’re with Ken Mendez who is the chief administrative officer of AdvaMed telling us a little bit about AdvaMed 2011, the 26th to the 28th in Washington. You can learn more about that at advamed2011.com. Thanks so much for joining us today, Ken.
KM: Thanks, Brett. I appreciate the time.