Is Medtech Venture Capital Dead in the Water? Interview with Kevin Bitterman, Principal at Polaris Venture Partners

Is medtech venture capital like a rare, nearly extinct animal? You know, similar to one of those odd, but interesting animals we’ve all seen on the Discovery Channel? Like the Passenger Pigeon.

In fact, as recently as 200 years ago, Passenger Pigeons weren’t anywhere near extinction. They were actually the most common bird in North America. So what’s the parallel between the Passenger Pigeon and medtech venture capital? Answer: Scarcity!

VCs are becoming less and less interested in healthcare because of diminishing returns. With that said, will medtech venture capital eventually see the same fate as the Passenger Pigeon? Or is well-known VC Terry McGuire right in declaring that, “Darwin was an optimist”?

To help answer those questions and a host of others, enter Kevin Bitterman, Principal at Polaris Venture Partners. In this interview, we learn what medtech venture capitalists like to see in a startup and how these early-stage medical device companies can best position themselves for success.

Interview Highlights with Kevin Bitterman

  • Will the IPO market for medtech companies ever open up again? Also, what requirements would make for an attractive IPO candidate?
  • Where do large medical device companies see the greatest opportunity for growth?
  • What questions should medtech startups have already answered before approaching a potential buyer?
  • In terms of a potential exit, what is more important for a medical device startup – clinical data or commercialization?
  • Besides venture capital, where else should medical device startups look for money?
  • What is Kevin’s personal medtech investment psychology?
  • After receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School, what attracted Kevin to the medtech venture capital space?
  • Kevin’s lasting advice for early-stage medical device companies.

Listen to the Interview with Kevin Bitterman

Read the Interview with Kevin Bitterman

Download a copy of the interview transcript right here.

More About Kevin Bitterman

Kevin Bitterman is a Principal at Polaris Venture Partners. Kevin joined Polaris in 2004 and focuses on investments in the life sciences.

Prior to joining Polaris, Kevin completed his Ph.D. in genetics at Harvard Medical School. His doctoral research focused on the molecular regulation of caloric restriction and on modulation of a novel class of protein deacetylases. Kevin has authored papers in several top tier journals, is an inventor on multiple patents, and is a co-founder of Genocea Biosciences and Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (GSK).

Kevin currently represents Polaris as a Director of Biolex Therapeutics, EPacing Inc., Follica Inc., Genocea Biosciences, Kala Pharmaceuticals, Neuronetics, Inc., Taris Biomedical, and Visterra. Additionally, Kevin is a Board Observer to Pulmatrix Inc.

Prior to obtaining his Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School, Kevin earned a B.A. with highest honors from Rutgers College with a major in Biological Sciences and a minor in Philosophy.

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