Interview with Rasmus Hother le Fevre, CEO, Ferrosan Medical Devices

Interview with Rasmus Hother le Fevre, CEO, Ferrosan Medical Devices


Business Focus: Ferrosan Medical Devices, a Danish powerhouse in the medical device industry, is recognized globally for its innovative therapeutic alternatives. Boasting a remarkable 41.75% net sales revenue growth in 2022 and an impressive 82.82% increase in total assets, Ferrosan Medical Devices stands out as a paragon of excellence in the sector. As CEO, with this impressive growth rate, what are the crucial growth areas in 2024, and your medium-term strategic plans to sustain this momentum?

We should take an offset in our mission. We have a purpose of making seconds count in surgical care. Meaning that whatever we do needs to be centered and focused on improving surgical outcomes. We do that since it’s a hemostatic product that we produce. Bleeding does occur during surgery, and when you have these situations, it’s important to make seconds count. Whenever we innovate, whatever we manufacture, and whatever we do, is centered around making seconds count whether it is in the ease of preparation of the product, or the speed on which the onset of the products work once they have been applied by the surgeon into a bleeding site.  There’s a lot of clinical evidence, and a lot of outcome evidence that the faster you can control the bleeding, the faster the recovery of the patient, the quicker they are out of the hospital, and the fewer side effects they will have from the surgery. There are a lot of health and economic benefits of efficient hemostatic control. That is basically what we’re trying to achieve throughout.

We have a history that goes back to 1920 when the company was founded. Since 1947, hemostatic products have been manufactured. These products are still the backbone of what we do today, which is quite remarkable having products more than 70 years old, and yet functioning and treating millions of patients every year.  Every two seconds, a patient somewhere around the world will have a bleeding stopped with one of our products. The surgical situation is very different from what it was 70 years ago from what it is today, but the physiology is the same. How can we adapt our products to the surgical settings, whether it’s laparoscopic surgery or robotic surgery? These kinds of new technologies that are emerging and being used in surgical suites all over the world set new requirements for our product and our innovation, and that is what we are trying to do.


BF: Denmark boasts several world-leading medical device companies, each contributing to an annual output exceeding $9 billion. Impressively, over 95% of these products enter the international market through exports. Considering Denmark’s prominent position in the global medical devices market, could you share your outlook for the Danish medical devices industry, including the main flashpoints, policies, and critical factors currently affecting the sustained growth of this market segment?

The future growth of the life science industry in Denmark is fueled by many different factors. Many MedTech and pharma companies in Denmark enjoy the benefits of a well-educated labor force. We have a stable political environment and access to large amounts of renewable energy. We have a strong collaboration between hospitals, universities, and the life science industry and a growing start-up environment. All these factors support the growth of the life science industry. These sort of frameworks we can operate in, make it interesting for new companies to establish themselves or to further expand in Denmark.

The downside is fierce talent competition which is healthy. It’s a global trend, and it is particularly challenging for a country like Denmark which is small, with high tax pressure, to attract a foreign workforce. However, Denmark also comes with a lot of other assets in terms of a very secure and stable society in which you can thrive and prosper as a human being and get a nice career in the life science industry. I think Denmark has become an attractive country to move to in recent years. At least we can see that we can attract talent from all over the world to Denmark.


BF: Ferrosan Medical Devices’ unique value proposition is delivered through innovative technologies, such as Surgiflo, Surgifoam, and Spongostan – all strategically marketed in over 100 countries worldwide. Last year, global demand for the company’s devices surged, with one being used every two seconds to meet healthcare professionals’ needs. How has the widespread deployment of FMD’s unique technologies contributed to addressing the specific needs of healthcare professionals globally, and what strategic advantages do these innovations provide in the market?

A large key to our success comes from the fact that the products are very efficacious. That is the founding principle. However, we are partnering with Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company, which has a very large reach and is working diligently to promote and sell our products to more than 100 countries. Their strong commercial presence, their strong commercial ability, and collaboration that goes almost 30 years back with this company allow us to get a good reach and strong development. With Ethicon, we are working with joint collaboration, joint development, joint marketing, and a joint exploration of what the surgeons, the nurses, and the patient’s needs are. Through these insights, we can unfold the potential. That is the beauty of our collaboration.


BF: Can you elaborate on the company’s plans to expand its portfolio and further enhance its value proposition in the global market?

Many of our products have been around for quite some time because they are good products and efficacious products. If we are to address the future needs of surgery with our portfolio, it will be very much centered around how we can address a broader variety of bleedings in different types of settings, meaning that bleedings occur in all parts of the body, in all sorts of surgical settings, and our innovation is driven towards making it as easy and seamless for nurses, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals to utilize our products, so the patient experiences as fast hemostasis as possible.

Coming back to making seconds count in surgical care, once you are a patient lying on the operating table, it’s not a place where you would like to be. Once bleedings occur, for one reason or the other, it is something you need to control as quickly as possible. From a health economics perspective and a patient perspective, it is important. The faster you can address that need the better, and that is center of our innovation focus. And then we may be able to add increased functionality to our products, and that’s also something we’re heading towards.


BF: Is the product evolving, as technology changes?

Yes, we need to adapt to new surgical techniques and new technology that enters the operation room, whether it’s digital, whether it’s robotic. Whatever it might be, our products need to accommodate that.

When we say making seconds count, there’s also another element, which also speaks to the national mindset, which is around sustainability. The way we push forward, and innovate our products, we try to embed and incorporate a sustainability mindset into our innovation:  How can we establish our products with the least use of materials? How can we make it as condensed as possible, while still meeting the functionality requirements that the healthcare professionals have? How can we sustainably manufacture them? How can we sustainably distribute them? How can we sustainably source our energy? How can we set forward these requirements to our suppliers? Trying to think of sustainability in all aspects. The beauty of it is that it serves a sustainability purpose, which usually goes hand in hand with a financial purpose, because the fewer resources you use, the more cost-effective your product also becomes. We try to say: how can we incorporate sustainability into everyday business, so it becomes a mindset in itself.


BF: The global medical devices market is on a significant upward trajectory, anticipated to grow from $536 billion in 2023 to $799 billion by 2030. Considering Ferrosan Medical Devices’ international targets in the EU, where you’ve seen 20% growth, and further expansion potential alongside distributors in the US market, what are the current and upcoming research and development focus areas for the company, and how do these areas present opportunities for international research partnerships?

We try to partner with academia, in Denmark and Europe, but also the US recently, having interns from MIT and a Ph.D. program with Stanford. We have tried to reach out globally to drive our innovation. We can only be successful as an industry if we can provide value for healthcare systems. The healthcare systems around the world are under significant pressure from a growing and aging population and increasing healthcare costs. The medical device industry needs to be the solution rather than the problem. Through innovation, we need to come up with solutions that will make the healthcare system more effective, so that we can prove that there’s a good health economic business case in applying these technologies to our healthcare systems. That will drive growth going forward so we will be able to treat more people and treat them with better outcomes.


BF: Ferrosan Medical Devices’ international thought leadership is distinctly reflected in its approach to product development, demonstrating comprehensive competencies that span from identifying and investigating user needs to developing concepts and products grounded in clinical insights. In light of this, how does Ferrosan Medical Devices’ prominent position as a thought leader in the medical devices industry influence its engagement with global peers and contribute to identifying opportunities for growth and development in the field?

This is to a high degree done in collaboration with Ethicon which has facilities to train healthcare professionals from around the world. It is a long journey once you need to change and improve technologies. It’s a daunting effort, particularly for Ethicon, to continue to educate and train healthcare professionals. But it’s also needed, and it is the way forward to apply the newest technologies and to improve techniques at hospitals and surgical suites.

A high degree of influence on healthcare systems and thought leaders is more for our partner in Ethicon who drives that agenda. Where we’re engaging is on the science level, where we listen, we adapt, and we’re trying to understand the needs of the surgeons, physicians, and healthcare professionals, and try to convert those insights into new products that can help them with their issue at hand.


BF: You are heading a company that plays an indispensable role in the medical device industry, making substantial contributions to Denmark’s economy and global healthcare. Drawing upon your extensive leadership experience in renowned Danish companies like Novo Nordisk, what are the most significant accomplishments you and your team will reflect on during the company’s upcoming growth phase?

There are still a lot of unmet needs when it comes to hemostasis.  Bleedings do occur during surgery, and there’s still a lot to be done in that field of improving product and product features to address that. That will be a key focus, and that is our core business, that is our know-how, and that is our purpose, making seconds count in surgical care. That is first and foremost.

But the way we establish and manufacture our products, the sustainability agenda will be driven even harder in the future. We need to be much more innovative, not only in meeting medical needs but also in meeting the expectations of society, in terms of manufacturing and sustainably distributing our products. That will be both our shareholders’ expectations as well as societal expectations.

The knowledge built in the organization is also important to understand the new technologies that are emerging in healthcare systems, whether it’s AI or digital. Many technologies are changing the way healthcare practitioners work today. For us to understand and drive that as a leadership team is important.

And then of course, whether to broaden our platform, to move above and beyond the current area, is something that we also need to consider. Now, we are focusing on hemostasis. We are a company that has a variety of product portfolios centered around that, and we are trying to figure out what are the areas, the needs, and the fields in the MedTech space, where we can contribute above and beyond what we have today. Those are some considerations we are taking.


BF: Is there anything that you feel that you’d like to add as a last message to the readers of USA Today?

For an audience who may not be familiar with what Denmark is and is not, it’s an interesting society to conduct business in, in the sense that you can get a lot done due to the tight relations and the collaboration between universities, governmental bodies, as well as private industry.

For example, at the university hospital in Copenhagen, they have a nice robotic playground, the CAMES Simulation Center, where they apply the newest robotics within surgical care and surgical procedures. Together with the universities, and at that center, we can work with the crews and the surgeons, on models to test our products, do a quick learning circle, make new types of prototypes, 3D print those, and then test them again, at a very short timeline.

The collaboration between universities, hospitals, private industry, and local municipalities or legislative bodies is working very nicely. That closeness of collaboration combined with competencies where the life science industry is heavily represented throughout the region, whether it’s manufacturing, science, early development, clinical development, or whatever it might be. That enables companies that are establishing themselves in this area to get access to all parts of the equation.





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