Year: 2008-09

Company: Kinetic Concepts Inc.

Liaison(s): Royce Johnson

Breast conserving therapy leaves lumpectomy patients with limited options for resolving any disfigurement. While thankful for the life-saving treatment, many women are profoundly unhappy with the physical results; this emotional dissatisfaction and can significantly impact their quality of life. Fear of these consequences also influences their treatment choices. Our goal, therefore, was to develop a new technology that would provide patients with a better reconstruction option following lumpectomy. The project had two parts: the technical development of an implant to restore normal shape, and a market research project to analyze the market potential for such a device. The goal of the technical project was to devise and investigate the feasibility of a device that could occupy the space to rebuild the breast for better physical appearance. Several biomaterials and methods were researched with some chosen for experimental testing. Testing took place in Dr. Phillip’s laboratory at KGI. For the market analysis project, we established a business case to explain the market need. We analyzed current competitors and alternative procedures, spoke with key opinion leaders and sought perspectives patients. We spoke with physicians to ask about current and future reconstruction options as well as assess their understanding of the degree of dissatisfaction of their patients, and with patients to get an insight into their choices and their experiences in treatment and reconstruction. This primary research was combined with conventional market analyses to form the basis of our market opportunity analysis.