New product development and commercialization are never easy, but when supply chain partners tackle these endeavors together, the ride is smoother from good idea to market. For medical advanced adhesive materials supplier Vancive Medical Technologies and healthcare sales and marketing organization Eloquest Healthcare, the launch of a post-operative wound dressing required collaborations.

The ReliaTect Post-Op dressing with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) uses BeneHold CHG, a patent-pending adhesive technology developed by Vancive. In 2015, Vancive sought a partner to commercialize this technology and Eloquest was a great fit because of their focus on preventing hospital-acquired infections (HAI). Vancive and Eloquest signed an exclusive supply agreement in June 2016. During the milestones that followed, including securing device clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the businesses have benefited from three characteristics of their partnership.

1. Complementary capabilities, corporate cultures

Vancive and Eloquest sought to leverage each other’s strengths. For Eloquest, Vancive brought a deep research and development (R&D) bench and a long history of adhesive innovation. For Vancive, Eloquest brought its expertise in brand positioning and commercialization, an expansive sales force, and its extensive network of hospital and group purchasing organization (GPO) relationships.

Synergies in the corporate cultures of both partners proved to be important. Both firms valued:

  • Clinical focus in sales activities
  • New technology, innovation
  • Infection risk mitigation
  • Transparency, trust in communications

“Both of our organizations highly value collaboration and exhibit responsiveness and flexibility,” says Eloquest Healthcare president and CEO Tim O’Halla. “Vancive’s corporate culture was compatible with ours. That compatibility has served us well in addressing the multitude of tasks and issues that arise and need to be coordinated in launching a new product.”

The ReliaTect post-operative dressing, developed and commercialized by Eloquest and Vancive, features Vancive’s patent-pending BeneHold CHG adhesive technology, with absorptive, breathable, and antimicrobial properties.
COURTESY OF VANCIVE MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES

2. Regular, open communication

Since the start of their partnership, Eloquest and Vancive have made frequent communication a priority. Teams have a bi-weekly conference call, and individual team members from the two organizations often communicate directly with each other outside of these scheduled meetings. Virtual and face-to-face meetings have kept product development and commercialization activities on schedule.

Open sharing between Eloquest and Vancive teams working on the ReliaTect dressing often means sharing contacts. If a problem arises, they proactively work to address the issue. Both businesses strive to keep communication channels fluid. For instance, if a marketing team member from one company has a technical question, he or she can reach out directly to a chemist or technical product specialist at the other company, allowing professionals to resolve issues quickly and respond with greater agility to market demands.

“Trust, transparency, and open communication have been the cornerstone of our partnership,” says Vancive General Manager Kirsten Newquist. “This has truly allowed our teams to plan and execute more quickly and with fewer setbacks.”

The ReliaTect Post-Op Dressing with CHG is thin and conformable to different body surfaces. It provides antimicrobial protection and a transparent view of the surgical site as it heals.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ELOQUEST HEALTHCARE

3. Continued post-launch collaboration

After a device receives FDA clearance and is introduced to the market, teams involved in the project breathe a collective sigh of relief. But for many medical device marketers, this is also a time to embark on the next phase of partnership.

After ReliaTect received clearance, Vancive and Eloquest turned their attention to building and expanding the customer base and product adoption. For a new product, this effort involves clinical studies to collect evidence about the product’s performance and clinician and patient acceptance. Vancive and Eloquest are actively partnering on several studies and planning to publish the results in peer-reviewed journals. The companies both devote resources to the trials to ensure they yield accurate data to help educate the market about ReliaTect.

While Vancive pursued FDA clearance for the ReliaTect dressing, Eloquest took the lead in developing product branding and packaging.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ELOQUEST HEALTHCARE

Conclusion

There are many advantages to engaging with a partner, but for a partnership to be successful, it’s essential to have a good fit between the organizations’ corporate cultures and to foster open, frequent communication. Finally, both partners must stay focused and engaged in the product’s success well beyond FDA 510(k) clearance and formal launch. The collaborative spirit must be sustained to keep building momentum and improving patient care.

Eloquest Healthcare

Vancive Medical Technologies

About the authors: Barbara Van Rymenam, global director, CHG program management, for Vancive Medical Technologies, an Avery Dennison business, can be reached at barbara.van.rymenam@eu.averydennison.com. Matt Stahl is the clinical marketing and brand director for Eloquest Healthcare. He can be reached at 248.586.8428 or mstahl@eloquesthealthcare.com.