EMDT's series of interviews offers personal perspectives on the diverse and dynamic medical technology sector. Here, we talk to Biense Visser, CEO of aap Implantate AG.
Q What is the first thing you do when you get to the office?
A In Germany, it is customary to take a few minutes to walk around the office, greet your colleagues with a handshake and catch up on the latest happenings. The Germans are very polite.
Q If I were not talking to you right now, what would you be doing?
A I try to dedicate most of my day to interacting with customers, suppliers and other company stakeholders, so right now I would likely be meeting with people.
|Biense Visser, CEO of aap Implantate AG|
Q How did you get in the industry?
A I am a pharmacist by education and a businessman by training, having worked at a number of large pharmaceutical companies. When I turned 50, I began to think beyond the realm of pharmaceuticals, and became interested in medical devices, particularly for trauma. My feeling is that the innovations and competencies of pharmaceuticals and devices are driving these two industries together, and in the near future I anticipate a kind of hybrid industry between pharma and devices.
Q What is the best thing about your work?
A The nicest thing about my line of business is that we work as a team to develop new products that first and foremost benefit patients, but also healthcare providers. We have a diverse team at aap, drawing from all ages and regions of the world, and working together to drive innovation. When we succeed, it’s highly rewarding.
Q What is the worst thing about your work?
A Having to attend regularly scheduled meetings. I enjoy interacting with people, but not necessarily in the confines of a scheduled meeting. There may be things a person regrets at the end of his life, but skipping a meeting is not one of them.
Q Will your job be any different five years from now?
A I joined aap three years ago, and the first thing we did was to transform this small, diversified healthcare company into a focused orthopaedic medical device company. Over the next five years we will be growing the company’s sales, volume and international footprint. I anticipate that aap will be even more focused than it is today.
Q What’s so great about your company’s tech platform?
A We have a strong background in trauma products and related intellectual property, highlighted by the innovative locking-compression technology of our LOQTEQ anatomical plating system. We are also very involved with biomaterials, and if you look at our pipeline, we are working to combine these strengths and bring new biomaterial innovations to our trauma portfolio. For example, we are focused on improving infection management through the application of specific coatings to implants. We’re also looking to incorporate a material into our platform that blends the strength of titanium with resorption properties.
Q What do you think is the most important medical device invention ever?
A This question reminds me of the ancient riddle: “What walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon and three in the evening?” The answer is a human over the course of his life, with the third leg being a cane as we reach old age. The cane in a way is the first medical device, enabling people to continue to walk, though over the past centuries we have become more innovative.
Q What is the most exciting development on the horizon?
A Increased collaboration between pharma and medical device companies will result in new hybrid technologies. Within the last decade, industry has begun to understand certain fundamental life science processes, such as stem cell development, and the impact of this is still to come. We hope that aap will be on the leading edge of innovation for these new hybrid technologies.
Q What do you want from your suppliers?
A We look for organisations that will participate in our development process, who understand our goals and will leverage their experience with materials to suggest new ways to advance our technology. For example, we are working with one of our suppliers on new techniques for manufacturing with magnesium.
Biense Visser is CEO of Berlin-based aap Implantate AG, a global medical device company focused on innovative trauma products and biomaterials for the orthopaedic market. Visser can be reached by phone at +49 3075 0190 or via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the company website at www.aap.de.