Global OEM Discovers Unexpected Opportunity for Minimally Invasive Embolism Therapy with Help from Guidehouse


A global original equipment manufacturer (OEM) was preparing to launch a new minimally invasive embolism technology, but wasn’t sure which market to focus the launch on.  

The technology could be used in a variety of surgical procedures, and appeared especially promising in treating obesity or alleviating symptoms associated with osteoarthritis. The global OEM wanted to determine which one carried the best potential return on investment before committing resources to commercializing the product.

The initial hypothesis was that the obesity market was a top priority.


Leveraging a comprehensive body of available research, Guidehouse conducted a landscape assessment to evaluate the market size, value proposition, and adoption barriers for the products in the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, and the UK. 

Analysis: Obesity Market

At the outset, the obesity market appeared very encouraging. Because the new technology offered a minimally invasive option, it was best suited for those patients who also had diabetes and for whom surgery was not an option. More than 35% of the adult population in the U.S. is obese. Diabetes affects up to 12% of the population with another 33% in the preliminary stages of the disease. When cross-referenced, this data appeared to present a sizable market with high associated costs to the healthcare community. 

Furthermore, the new technology offered a less-invasive intervention option than standards of care, and presented a clear clinical benefit for a small fraction of the market. 

However, research and analysis uncovered several critical barriers to adoption.

A level of high motivation was required on a patient’s part to seek treatment. Most patients who sought treatment presented to general practitioners — not surgeons — who tended to recommend medical management of the condition or lifestyle modification, rather than standard of care gastric bypass surgery. In fact, fewer than 1% of patients received the intervention, and those who did had to first pass through an intricate approval process. Of the treated population, very few patients consistently complied with requirements of the surgery to sustain long-term positive weight loss. As a result of this behavior pattern, it would have been very difficult to isolate and prove the benefit of the new technology in a trial.

In order to spur interest in the new treatment option, the company would need to generate clinical data that proved long-term patient benefits vs. the current standard of care. It also would need to provide guidance on diagnosis of these ideal patients to trigger providers to prescribe the treatment option.

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