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  • Writer's pictureVentureBlick

A Tale Of Two Startups: The Importance Of Medical Validation

Updated: Apr 24

Castomize medical validation Korea
Medical validation needn't be formal – we often arrange for informal meetings with VB advisors for the innovators we work with.

Here’s the question that every healthcare innovation needs to answer: does it deliver real medical value? This single factor is the key to any successful healthcare product or service, and supersedes everything else from funding pressures to shareholder management. Clarity here, in turn, comes from medical validation.

“Validation” means different things in different contexts. For a medical laboratory, it is the process of verifying that a new device performs as required in aspects such as test reliability. In pharmaceuticals, validation ensures that processes and products are consistent – and compliant with guidelines. At VentureBlick, medical validation is our assessment of a new medical innovation, which we do by crowdsourcing insights from our proprietary VB Advisory Network, which comprises over 2,500 clinicians and industry experts worldwide.

Medical Validation: A Deeper Look Into Things

Medical validation is multifaceted. For a start, there is demand verification, where feedback is collected from an innovation’s target end users to determine product-market fit, on topics such as a new technology’s potential to fit into existing workflows.

Medical validity is also assessed.  As cases like Theranos have proven, claims should never be taken at face value. An investigation of a new innovation’s medical validity often uncovers areas for improvement anyway.

As an adjacent to these, medical validation at VentureBlick also looks into subjects such as regulatory approval and reimbursement, which directly affect an innovation’s success.  

On the whole, medical validation offers a comprehensive look into an innovation’s potential, as well as its blindspots. This process has been invaluable in helping us – and our clients – make various decisions concerning investments, partnerships, and more.

Here are two contrasting case studies into how we have leveraged medical validation in decision-making.

VentureBlick medical validation service
Feedback needed? Why not get them directly from your intended end users via VentureBlick's medical validation?

Case Study 1: A Diamond In The Rough 

In 2023, Startup Q approached VentureBlick for fundraising support to finance further R&D work. Using off-the-shelf technology, the company had developed a medical device that significantly improves on the current industry standard, with key IP centred on its applications of the technology, as well as proprietary materials and production techniques.  

At VentureBlick, there was some initial doubt – alternatives to the industry standard had been introduced in the past but none have taken off, which made Startup Q a questionable investment. Still, there was potential here, so we proceed with medical validation, and sought input from over 20 VB advisors based in 6 countries worldwide. 

The results were illuminating: general feedback pointed to significant improvements for patient comfort and recovery, even when compared to modern offerings. Advisors also noted that the new medical device was both easier and faster to use, and expressed confidence that existing reimbursement codes would still apply, although the process could take some time.

Some concerns were raised though, including the need for adequate training in the device’s usage, as well as the importance of acquiring clinical data to further support Startup Q’s claims of medical efficacy and cost effectiveness. In addition, some advisors highlighted potential issues with patient compliance for the new medical device.

Overall feedback was positive, and this convinced us to support Startup Q’s fundraising activities and, later, to work more closely with the company to help accelerate its growth. This decision has, on hindsight, paid off handsomely, and the relationship between VentureBlick and Startup Q continues to deepen today. The concerns raised by our advisors uncovered some blind spots that guided further product development, such as how patients interfaced with the device.

Case Study 2: A Change Of Plans

Company G is an established business providing at-home STD testing services. This is its main revenue driver, which the firm supports with an app-based social platform to drive greater engagement with clients.

In early 2024, Company G began exploring an expansion from its home base in Europe to Southeast Asia. There were also plans to expand into a one-stop solution for all sexual health related matters – both in its existing and future markets. To ascertain the viability of its plans, Company G engaged VentureBlick to conduct medical validation for its services and platform in a few potential markets in Southeast Asia.

Unfortunately, the results weren’t promising, and highlighted several areas of concern. 

The main issues were centred on cultural norms. Specifically, VB advisors noted that while Company G differentiated itself with a uniquely irreverent brand voice, the same tone would be unlikely to resonate with audiences in Asia. In addition, VB advisors also highlighted how prevailing attitudes towards sex and sexual health would also affect reimbursement for Company G’s services and, consequently, take-up rates. Finally, there were data and privacy issues – as individual countries within Asia have their own laws governing patient data management, Company G would need to account for additional legal and technical complexities.

medical validation for social platform
Ultimately, medical validation for Company G showed less potential in Southeast Asia for its service and social platform than hoped, which led to a revision of its plans.

Based on the conclusions drawn from this medical validation exercise, Company G’s leadership team regrouped internally to reassess their expansion plans. In lieu of Southeast Asia, the indicative direction was to consider entering additional markets in Europe and, potentially, the United States. Of course, further medical validation work was to follow.

How And When To Carry Out Medical Validation 

As the case studies above have shown, medical validation can yield different results and conclusions. Regardless of whether they support or disprove a healthcare company’s hypotheses about its innovation, the insights are helpful for informed decision making. 

medical validation of product development
Medical professionals such as doctors aside, the VB Advisory Network also includes industry experts involved in every stage of healthcare innovation

One common question we are often asked is when medical validation should be performed. In our view, it depends on the specific circumstances for each innovation, but critical milestones within a development cycle should, ideally, be supported with medical validation. When determining the features of a product early in the conceptualisation phase, for instance, it serve as a guide to the market’s needs. In much the same way, a minimum viable product (MVP) benefits from medical validation to confirm its product-market fit. 

If you’ve reached a critical juncture in the development of your healthcare innovation, medical validation could be the key to consolidating the progress you’ve made so far, as well as the next steps to take. Speak to us to see how we can help. 

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