A ‘pearl’ of an idea provides unexpected business opportunities

About three years ago orthopaedic surgeon Olivier Temmerman approached the Physics and Medical Technology (FMT) department of VUmc. He had an idea to improve the surgical chisel for removing old cementing layers during hip prosthesis revisions. It was ‘a real pearl’ according to Micha Paalman, head of the development group at FMT. “Olivier had worked out his idea quite well. We don’t see that very often.”

Temmerman adds that although he is not the typical do-it-yourself guy he enjoys developing improvements in his working situation. “Orthopaedics also is a rather technically oriented field of medicine, that might help too.” FMT assisted Temmerman in the manufacturing of a prototype. The IXA business developer arranged for the Dutch company Van Straten Medical to assist in further development. It’s a good match, says Paalman: “The company has a strong orthopaedics portfolio.”

Temmerman is excited about the joint development although he is not very fond of handling the formal and legal aspects. “But that’s all in the game. To be honest, I hadn’t given my business case much thought, nor had I realised that there might be a substantial market for my chisel. It’s a good thing IXA, through its Pontes Medical approach, provides a framework for assessing stuff like that. I’d never been able to do this all by myself.”