To have software like PatSnap is very helpful because, with our limited resources of people, money and time, it allows us to greatly cut down the number of hours and money we have to spend on external services.
Ably is revolutionizing the very core of patient recovery. In close cooperation with health professionals, it is redefining what a hospital bed can be, from the ground up. The Ably bed emerges from extensive research, in cooperation with Norwegian hospitals and health institutions. The ability of the bed to assist patient movements is modelled on the human spine.
Can you tell us more about your role at Ably Medical?
"I work as head of quality assurance at Ably Medical. However, as SMEs have limited human resources, employees tend to have multiple responsibilities. In my case I am responsible for quality assurance, regulatory affairs, risk management and looking after our intellectual property portfolio."
Can you share any of the business's key objectives for the next few years?
"Broadly speaking we are planning to start a demonstration study with our partner hospitals in Canada by the beginning of 2019. Ably Medical are then planning to host a clinical trial towards the end of 2019 beginning of 2020.
"Similar to many MedTech companies we will be getting our regulatory pathway set up in parallel with the rest of the activities ensuring that we can get to the market as fast as possible. We are aiming to have our access to the market granted by 2019-2020.
Finally, we just started exploring the business possibilities in Germany and the US."
What are the typical challenges you've noticed within the healthcare industry?
"It can sometimes be difficult to present the most innovative and novel features of the hospital bed in an easy and comprehensive way. However, by using PatSnap's Insights feature you can easily make reports demonstrating the company's competitive advantage.
"We have experienced for instance that users normally reference different “nice to have” features that already exist in some of today’s technology. However, there is not yet a hospital bed on the market incorporating all of these features and technologies like Ably Medical does. Therefore, Ably Medical needs to have an understanding of how the referenced technologies work and the market size of the different technologies they are referring to—a task that can be very time consuming. However, by using PatSnap's Landscape feature it is easy to conduct a comparative analysis that is quite comprehensive.
"We are a mid-size company with around 14 -15 people. Consequently, when you’re talking about intellectual property specifically, we only have a limited number of people who have that kind of knowledge. So, to have software like PatSnap is very helpful because with our limited resources of people, money and time, it allows us to greatly cut down the number of hours and money we have to spend on external services.
"Within our niche market, we’ve been seeing a decline in the number of patents being filed in the last 3-4 years. There has obviously been an increase in the US, but a decrease in Germany and China for example. However, it is interesting to see that big players are filing fewer patents."
How has PatSnap been able to add value to the work that you're doing?
"In addition to the examples above we are quite happy with the freedom to operate functions– it is a really good feature. I also like that PatSnap provide videos that guide you through the activities. Freedom to Operate is quite expensive so for us to have software that can minimize costs and still be efficient is very helpful.
"The software has furthermore helped us be prepared when having meetings with patent attorneys. By prepared I mean, having the background information about the big players in the potential market, knowing the market size, having an insight into the landscape and hence, knowing how novel we are in a specific market.
"The landscape feature has also been really great because we’ve been able to prove to our stakeholders that our product is innovative, based on the rest of the patents in the market. They’re able to see that we’re in a completely different area on the map than the rest of our competitors. It’s also been useful for future product developments, to get ideas of where we can go next."
And why did you decide to buy PatSnap?
"Our CEO of North America, Ane Solesvik Oppedal worked in the industry for quite some time before she started working at Ably. The background she brought with her and the recommendations she received along her career led her to look at PatSnap.
"We started exploring PatSnap in a trial period which we thought was great. We then worked with PatSnap to figure out a price model that worked best for us. Once we’d found a good model, we decided to go with PatSnap."
Are there personal drivers behind what you're doing? How did you get into this kind of work?
"I have a Master of Science in Health Economic, Policy and Law from Erasmus University of Rotterdam. As the title suggests we have tremendous work opportunities and the demand is quite high. The industry has always been interesting to me for many reasons, but mostly because of its complexity. The complexity makes the policies and laws even more interesting.
"Finally, as a health economist my aim is to develop innovations and treatments which improve the user or patient’s quality of life. Ably Medical is therefore spot on. I get the opportunity to work in the industry with the tasks I am interested in – policy and law. And on top of that, I get the possibility to develop a new innovative medical device that is not only cost effective, but also aim to improve the end user's quality of life."