CTO Todd Park takes startup thinking to public sector (Weekend Rounds)

Life science current events from this week include Todd Park’s strategy for his new position as CTO of the United States, what Boston Scientific’s Cameron buy tells us about medical device acquisitions, and patent conflict for BioCryst.

A review of life science current events reported by MedCity News this week.

New national CTO plans to expand lean thinking to all federal agencies. If Todd Park can find entrepreneurs in federal agencies and unleash a flood of health data, leaders in big hospitals and pharma companies can also use startup techniques to change business as usual. Park says that with his new promotion, he will seek out entrepreneurs in all governmental agencies to expand the success Health and Human Services has had with open data initiatives.

What Boston Scientific’s acquisition of Cameron means for future deals. It appears that the days of a larger player buying a startup with a a novel technology in its infancy and then shepherding it through expensive, lengthy clinical trials and regulatory submissions may be over. Medical devices companies already stressed by a variety of headwinds are looking for substantial proof of concept to mitigate any risks involved with buying a company with a new technology, however revolutionary it may be.

BCRX challenges Biota patent wars, claims its hepatitis C compound was first. The experimental hepatitis C treatment that BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BCRX) wants to take into clinical trials this year has run into an unexpected hitch: a patent for the compound was awarded to another pharmaceutical company.

AtriCure aims to grab more cardiac ablation market share from Medtronic. In December, AtriCure’s Synergy ablation system became the first medical device to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common type of heart-rhythm disorder. The ablation system is approved for use in open-heart AF procedures that are performed in conjunction with other operations. That approval has AtriCure CEO David Drachman thinking that his Cincinnati-area company is poised to expand its lead over Medtronic in the open-heart ablation market.

A button-sized implant aims to deliver extended release pain meds for weeks. Axxia Pharmaceuticals is developing an implant the size and shape of a shirt button that can subcutaneously deliver an opiate for 30 to 90 days without any moving parts. The first application of the technology will deliver hydromorphone for treatment of moderate to severe chronic pain in cancer patients. CEO Wayne Pollock said the company plans to file an Investigational New Drug application for the implant by the fourth quarter of 2012.