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The Coming of Age of Vulnerable Plaque

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Traditional scientific wisdom holds that heart attacks originate from severe blockages of the artery created by atherosclerosis, the progressive build up of plaque in the coronary arteries. Recent research indicates, however, that certain kinds of "vulnerable plaque" may trigger acute coronary events, creating demand for new diagnostic tools to identify and characterize the plaque and new treatments. The field is moving at a dizzying pace and is beginning to attract a handful of start-ups and venture capitalists; these see a huge opportunity, but also recognize the challenges inherent in changing entrenched approaches to treatment.

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The notion of incubators is catching on quickly in medical devices, thanks in part to a difficult financing climate and, in part, to the desire of some executives to find a new career path, focused on mentoring companies and leveraging skill sets across a number of projects at once. Designed primarily to get early stage product ideas to proof of principle quickly, incubators are overcoming skepticism about their proper role and beginning to make their mark on the device industry. In this two-part series, we look at several different incubator models.

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The notion of incubators is catching on quickly in medical devices, thanks in part to a difficult financing climate and, in part, to the desire of some executives to find a new career path, focused on mentoring companies and leveraging skill sets across a number of projects at once. Designed primarily to get early stage product ideas to proof of principle quickly, incubators are overcoming skepticism about their proper role and beginning to make their mark on the device industry. In this two-part series, we look at several different incubator models.

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