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DSM Biomedical's Material Contribution to the Wound Care Market - SmartTRAK Interviews Raoul Verheggen

Posted by Susan Paquette on 5/8/19 6:30 PM

Raoul Verheggen Interview WHITE BACK V2-1SmartTRAK talks with Raoul Verheggen, Global Product Director for DSM Biomedical, regarding the Company’s recent foray into the wound care space and how its addressing unmet needs for patients and businesses

Novel materials and components are key to innovative wound care products that provide superior patient outcomes. DSM Biomedical is a B2B supplier whose business it is to provide these unique components to the medical device industry. SmartTRAK talks with Raoul Verheggen of DSM Biomedical, Global Product Director for Wound, about the company, their capabilities and plans moving forward in support of wound care. A transcript of the interview is below. To listen to the interview recorded via Uberconference, click on the following video. 


SmartTRAK:  This is Susan Paquette from SmartTRAK. Today I'm talking with Raoul Verheggen of DSM Biomedical, the Global Product Director for Wound. Raoul, thank you for taking the time to meet today. When I think about DSM, the first thing that comes to mind for me is it's a huge company. Can you provide some background on DSM and why the interest in wound care?

Raoul Verheggen:  Susan, thank you. Much appreciated. Indeed, DSM is a very large and diversified company with over $10 billion of revenues. We were founded in the Netherlands all the way back to 1902. Today, DSM is a purpose-led global science-based company, and we focus on nutrition, health, and sustainable living. We're also proud to be recognized for both profitable growth while leading with a great social purpose.

As you say, we're a very large company. And so DSM serves many different industries, as you could imagine in those three sectors of nutrition, health, and sustainable living and materials. We're a business-to-business company. You may have heard of the name but not realized that we're actually inside some of the vitamins that you might take, some of the foods and beverages that you eat or drink. But we're also in your smartphone, in your car, in sustainable energy products, and of course as either part of or complete medical devices. Essentially, we're all around you and you never even knew it, including now in the wound space as well.

Is wound care a new interest? Or has DSM supported this market segment for a period of time?

Raoul Verheggen: We have a specific new concentration for wound healing and for the space. But arguably, we have a long experience around the principles of wound healing. For example, some of your subscribers might know that DSM acquired Kensey Nash in the last 10 years. Kensey Nash, amongst its many accomplishments as a medical device company, were also the inventors of Angio-Seal. Angio-Seal is a vascular closure device. And its indications are for closing and reducing time to hemostasis, specifically in the femoral artery, puncture sites in patients undergoing diagnostic angiography procedures or interventional procedures. So we are very close to the principles of wound healing, making it a natural extension for us to move into that space.

Looking back in the last 30 years, we've become active in orthopedics, in sports medicine, general and plastic and reconstructive surgery, cardiovascular, diabetes management, neurology, and even dental. In fact, it's intriguing to note that every second today a patient receives a device that contains one of our biomaterials or in fact might be made by us. Looking at those broad competencies for us, it's a natural point of focus to then better understand and serve the needs of wound healing patients from a business-to-business entity.

What do you see as the opportunities in wound care? Are they related to biomaterials, as you just mentioned? Or is it beyond that?

Raoul Verheggen: Looking at it from a patient's perspective, there's still quite a few unmet needs. We need faster healing. We need more consistent healing. And there's always an opportunity for more cost-effective approaches to healing.

From our perspective, looking at our core competencies, we're in the regenerative space, we have tissue scaffolds, we have collagens for tissue repair. Then we also bring expertise in some of the core materials that are used in advanced wound care dressings and composite dressings, negative-pressure wound therapy. Finally, we have expertise in antimicrobial elements, and we have expertise in adhesives as well. And so it's really about an opportunity to bring all of those together to better serve the needs of the existing device manufacturers. That's certainly the vision for the short term.

How does DSM operate? Do you provide final product as a B2B? Or do you provide components for the manufacturer of products? Or both?

Raoul Verheggen: We are strictly B2B and do work with many of the largest medical device companies. It really depends a little bit on the needs that we need to fulfill with them and partner on. And so we supply some companies at the material level, some at the component level where we integrate those materials. We also then have a group of medical devices. We really try to tailor those needs to the needs of our partners to better serve the needs of the patient. In so doing we really try to help them all the way from product concept all the way through commercialization.

What are the key components that DSM provides to the market? I think you may have touched on this a bit already. It sounds like you do components for dressings, also regenerative medicine, adhesives. It appears to be a very broad portfolio of products that you can offer.

Raoul Verheggen: So this is both the opportunity and a little bit of the challenge in the sense that we really try to be very scientifically driven to bring forward all of these concepts. Certainly we have a strong history in extracellular matrices, scaffolds for wounds. We have three-decades' worth of experience in manipulating collagens in various consistencies. But we also have thermal polyurethane technologies, which can be adapted for films and foams, broadly used in wound care. And all of those materials can of course be used in applications for composite dressings, and as well for negative-pressure wound therapy. We also have some mechanical device capabilities. We are also active in the hemostat space, also based on that history with Angio-Seal. From that perspective, we like to try to understand the needs of the companies to see where the best match is for those technologies

What are DSM's short and long-term plans in wound care?

Raoul Verheggen: One of the biggest challenges for the wound space right now is that many of the wound healing players are not necessarily aware of us. And so awareness is one of the key opportunities for us in terms of companies understanding who we are and what we do. Once we have created that awareness, it really is about listening. So it's understanding of course, and we monitor the space closely. We understand it well. And by the way, BioMedGPS and SmartTRAK have been instrumental over the years in providing us that insight and intelligence, and we're very grateful for that.

With that foundation and understanding those unmet needs and pain points of our customers, we begin to see where our core competencies might be a fit. And then we partner to try to bring forward either enhancements in existing products, we might be able to fill portfolio gaps for customers. Or we may be able to put together and co-develop a brand new device. So it depends a little bit on those needs. That's sort of the short-term vision.

Regarding our vision for the longer term, it's really all about smarter, more efficacious and cost-effective solutions for the patients and the healthcare system. It's really trying to understand how we can best support those trends. And we think that we have some interesting insights to share. Finally, we also have a vision for combining nutrition with wound healing. Physicians, and patients for that matter, continue to have a much greater understanding about how the world of nutrition is so fundamental to the overall health of the patient and of course as it relates to the ability for the body to heal itself. DSM has a very long history in nutrition. And so I'm particularly excited to explore how nutrition and wound healing can meet and serve the needs of patients.

Now Raoul, could you give us some examples of how you work with other medical device and/or wound companies?

Raoul Verheggen: We're fairly new to the wound space, but not to the others. For example, if you look at the 10 largest orthopedics companies today, probably eight of the 10 are already on our list of customers. We might supply them with a ceramic collagen plug for certain procedures. We might be co-developing a next-generation device for them, so on, so forth.

So for the wound space, it really comes down to what is a, I don't know, not to pick any one name, so I'll throw out several, but what is an Acelity, an Integra, a Smith & Nephew, a Mölnlycke, a ConvaTec, what is it that they're struggling with right now from a pains point perspective? It could be as simple as saying like, "We need higher-grade collagen for our collagen wound dressings," or "We need a certain configuration of it to achieve a certain type of wound healing. DSM, do you have that material or how can you work with us to configure it in a way that it does what we need it to do in our device?" Or they might say, "We're trying to design a new moist wound healing dressing, but we have certain requirements for oxygen permeability through that device for optimal healing. Do you have a polyurethane technology that does that? These are the goals that we're trying to meet. These are the specifications. Can you supply that to us? Or how can we collaborate?"

Or on the scaffold extracellular ADM side of things, companies might come to us and say, "We're trying to combine certain growth factors or make them available within a certain setting of a dermal scaffold. But we need the properties of that scaffold to be such that it optimally does A, B, C, D. How can we achieve that?"

So those are the things that we engage people on, or that they engage us on. We're less so all about "Geez, we're making a million simple wound devices, and we're trying to take out two pennies, how can DSM help?"

Now if a wound care company, you said not many are aware of you, if one did want to contact you, how would they go about doing that? What would you suggest?

Raoul Verheggen: We are globally located. Our biomedical headquarters is in Exton, Pennsylvania, dsm.com is the global website, and if you click on the biomedical link, you'll see all of the activity that we support for the medical device industry. And specifically we have a section for wound. The fastest way to probably get a hold of us is through the website.

I assume they could also contact you directly. We'll put your contact information available.

Raoul Verheggen: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Very much so, welcome. You can always email me at raoul.verheggen@dsm.com, R-A-O-U-L.V-E-R-H-E-G-G-E-N@dsm.com. Or you can call me, 252-702-0451. Happy to speak with you.

Anything more to add?

Raoul Verheggen: Yes, grateful for being able to help serve the unmet needs of patients in this space. We are humbled to be part of the medical device space as a company. And really again, Susan, the opportunity to speak with you and BioMedGPS and SmartTRAK is so greatly appreciated. We truly value the resource that you bring for not only the wound space but for many other markets. And we're very excited to be part of that.

Thanks for, again, taking the time today. And we will see you at SAWC.

Raoul Verheggen: Yes, absolutely. Come see us at SAWC. We have a booth there this year and look forward to engaging everyone in understanding how we can better serve business-to-business needs and patient needs for wound. Thank you.

Thank you.


Click the button below to read Susan's fascinating and informative article posted following last fall's Advanced Wound Care meeting titled "What's New and What's Next in Advanced Wound Care" on advances in negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT), fiber dressings and human dermal tissue and the latest research and company news, in which she  identifies what’s new and what’s next in the  advanced wound care market.

What's New and What's Next in AWC


Topics: Advanced Wound Care

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