New Technology, Two Different Approaches

What is the optimal market launch given two viable approaches?

Situation: An early-stage pre-commercial company had a new surgical technology to address a major chronic condition. The company leadership and board members disagreed on whether to pursue the minimally-invasive version for launch (requiring increased time and investment) or first launch with a simpler surgical approach and delay the launch of a minimally-invasive version.


  • Some indicated patients required major surgery for other reasons so a non-minimally invasive version of the technology could easily be used in these ‘concomitant surgery’ patients
  • Other patients were either too sick or too healthy and would benefit from a minimally invasive version

What our analysis uncovered:

  • There were actually very few candidates for the surgical version of the technology
  • The clinical trial required to validate the benefit of the technology in the ‘concomitant surgery’ patients was highly problematic and expensive
  • The market for the minimally invasive version was large and attractive and the clinical trial required would be smaller and less expensive, withless risk of equivocal results.


  • The concomitant surgery market was small, unattractive and risky
  • If the minimally invasive product could not be proven, there was no chance for investors to get a return
  • The only course of action was to focus development, regulatory and clinical efforts on the minimally invasive product


  • Pursue only the minimally invasive technology development
  • Focus clinical and regulatory on the patients too healthy for the concomitant procedure


  • Some board members challenged the analysis, but ultimately agreed with the conclusions
  • The minimally invasive approach was prioritized development plans were re-calibrated to the recommended approach

US Launch Timing and Incidence by Scenario