OCTANe is a large medical device consortium based in Orange County, CA . They hold more than 50 events a year to bring together people, capital, ideas and technology in southern California.  Their signature event, the Medical Device Investor Forum (MDIF, http://www.mdif2012.com/main.html), connects investors and many medtech companies together to form partnerships, raise funds, develop products and create jobs. I visited the recent OCTANe MDIF and caught up with Matthew Jenusaitis, president and CEO of OCTANe, to learn about the organization and his vision. The following is an interview by MEDS magazine.

Publisher: What is OCTANe’s vision?




The aging population wants to be able to live independently. This, along with consumer involvement of healthcare, will drive the demand for medical devices. OCTANe connects people and ideas with capital and resources to fuel technology growth in Orange County. Our members represent Orange County technology executive leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, academicians and strategic advisors, all working together to stimulate technology job growth and wealth creation in Orange County; help entrepreneurs turn ideas into successful businesses; connect companies with funding and growth resources; provide senior executives access to intelligence, new technologies and talents; develop the next-generation of technology business leaders; and create a forum for technology company leaders to have a lasting impact on the future of Orange County.

Formed in September 2002, OCTANe was created by cofounders Tom Moebus, former vice chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, and Dwight Decker, former CEO and chairman of Conexant Systems.

Decker and Moebus saw an opportunity to build Orange County’s regional innovation cluster based on our community’s collective strengths—an internationally recognized hub for global and midsize biomedical and information technology companies, a major University of California research institute, and a population of over 3 million highly educated and entrepreneurial residents. The only element missing was an organization capable of bringing it all together.

Publisher: What are the biggest challenges the healthcare industry is facing today? Additionally, what opportunities and challenges are developers facing today?




Perhaps at no other time in the history of the life science industry have we been immersed in such a tremendous period of change. These changes have created a climate of uncertainty and risk, and have in many ways been an obstacle in the development of the medical device ecosystem. But like all change, if we understand the direction that things are headed…we can anticipate future requirements, and change brings opportunity. U.S. Healthcare expenses are getting out of control. We spend more than $8,000 per person per year on healthcare in the United States. Norway spends nearly 40% less, and most developed countries spend less than half on healthcare compared to what we spend in the U.S. At the same time, there is very little difference in the quality of care. This just doesn’t make sense.


The medical device business is a Federally Regulated Industry. On the regulatory side with the FDA, it’s all about MDUFA III. And while it’s tough to swallow more than $600 million in user fees, the promise of improved staffing, better training, monitoring of total review days, and accountability of the 510(k) and PMA reviewers are things we have been wanting for some time. We really need to congratulate the collaborative effort put forth by MDMA and other trade organizations in concert with the manufacturers to drive a position that supports growth in the medical device industry. Collaboratively we all accomplish more than anyone can individually.


Publisher: How would you describe the demographics and characteristics of Southern CA in relation to the medical device industry?




Orange County is a clear leader in medical devices, specifically in the ophthalmology and cardiovascular fields. In fact, Orange County is home to more than 300 medical device companies, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 corporations.

Publisher: Can you describe some of OCTANe’s accomplishments?




Through LaunchPad—OCTANe’s hands-on, pro bono business accelerator—we have helped over 120 companies receive nearly $250 million in investment and equity exits. We’ve helped more than 500 companies to connect via LaunchPad, and we annually welcome more than 7,000 people to our programs and events. Nearly 2,000 business leaders throughout the Southern California region are OCTANe members.

Publisher: Can you describe the typical profile of your members?




OCTANe members represent Orange County technology executive leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, academicians and strategic advisors, all working together to fuel innovation in the OC. We focus on three main industry sectors: medical devices, high technology and clean tech.

 Publisher: How many members do you have and what do they expect to gain by being a member?




We have nearly 2,000 members involved with OCTANe. We offer several different ways to get involved, ranging from individual membership to large corporate sponsorship. Each of our stakeholders finds value in various aspects of membership, including CEOs and other senior executives who we provide resources to identify new technologies and talent as well as a platform for making a lasting impact on Orange County. We also develop and sponsor dozens of educational and mentoring programs to help entrepreneurs understand critical business success factors and connect with individuals and companies that can assist them. In addition, we connect investors with promising early- and mid-stage companies and entrepreneurs providing deal flow and exposure opportunities. Finally, we offer opportunities and connections to business, product development and career opportunities for researchers and scientists at the university level in Orange County.


Publisher: How does OCTANe cooperate with other medical electronic device consortia in North America and internationally?




OCTANe is pleased to support the efforts of several medtech organizations with similar missions across the U.S. While we have no formal partnerships with any particular group, we work closely with the California Healthcare Institute (CHI), AdvaMed and MDMA.

Publisher: What are your priorities in 2013?




In the coming year, we will remain focused on connecting people and ideas with capital and resources, and hope to expand our LaunchPad assistance to 150 companies. In 2011 we helped raised $20 million of capital investment. This year we raised $25 million. This translates into job creation for the region. It is our priority.


We plan to host more than 50 programs and at least two large Signature Events, which will help educate our constituents as well as promote our region’s strengths. What’s more, we will expand our digital media platform, allowing instant access to our program content, membership base and more.



About the author:


Matthew Jenusaitis, President & CEO


Matthew Jenusaitis joined as the president and CEO of OCTANe in June 2009. Prior to OCTANe, Matthew spent 15 years at Boston Scientific, where he served in numerous executive marketing and general management positions. Matthew was also an executive in residence for the private equity firm Warburg Pincus and President of ev3 Neurovascular, one of Warburg’s portfolio companies.

Matthew sits on the boards of Avantis Medical in Sunnyvale, California; Creagh Medical in Galway, Ireland; Precision Wire Components in Portland, Oregon; and Pulsar Vascular in San Jose, California. He also sits on the advisory boards of Cornell’s School of Biomedical Engineering, the Chapman University Schmid College of Science and Technology, and the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences. Matthew holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, cum laude, from Cornell University, an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Arizona State University, and an MBA from UC Irvine.