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Top 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Research and Development Company

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

So, you have an idea for a medical device and you want to bring it into reality but you’re not sure what steps to take. Well, first thing’s first- you’ll need to choose the right research and development company for your project’s goals and needs. R&D companies can guide you through the process of bringing your concept to reality. But how do you choose which company is right for you? Where do you start?

Well, here are 10 questions we suggest inventors consider when evaluating R&D groups for their projects.

  • What are the specialties of the R&D group and do they align with the project goals?

  • What career disciplines are employed by the R&D group?

  • What are the predicted turnaround times for low-fidelity device prototypes?

  • What are the predicted turnaround times for device commercialization?

  • Does the R&D group offer financial funding assistance or shares of equity?

  • Does the R&D group provide regulatory guidance?

  • Does the R&D group maintain manufacturing connections internationally and domestically?

  • Does the R&D group outsource prototyping? Can they prototype real prototypes in color? Do they use over-mold prototyping?

  • Does the R&D group charge at cost or do they charge a margin for development work?

  • Do the engineers test the device hands-on, in dry-lab or wet-lab surgery environments?

  • How often do their engineers go to manufacturing?

  • Does the R&D group offer marketing, distribution, and/or sales solutions for product launch?

These are all important questions to contemplate before signing up with a research and development company to make sure your project is a priority and will be brought to the market in a timely manner.

Now that you’ve read up on some suggested questions for your R&D group, we’d like to highlight some of the key services Vita Group provides to our inventors. Here are 3 major services Vita Group offers that are crucial to the quick, affordable, and quality development of medical device products.

  • What career disciplines are employed by Vita Group?

We currently employ electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, industrial designers, graphic designers and writers. Our team works closely together and each member plays a role in the development of the project. Maintaining a small and united team allows each member to stay up to speed on the project’s goals and development. Typically, most R&D companies assign projects by engineer to engineer, leading to no incentive to keep the project moving along quickly. We utilize our own in-house employed engineers so the project isn’t bounced back and forth between companies, which can lead to miscommunication and slow down the development process.

We also have a great team of leaders at Vita Group. Our CEO, Jason Scherer, has 17-years medical device sales experience and has hired, trained, and mentored multiple top reps across the country. He founded both Vita Group and Vita Solutions, an international Plug & Play Sales team. Richard Thompson, our VP, has 23 years of experience in user-centered product development for all types of clients- from startups to fortune 500 companies. He has developed over 20 products in the electrosurgical, electrophysiology, structured heart, and capitol equipment categories. On top of all this, he is also a seasoned leader of multidisciplinary teams running medical, industrial, and consumer development programs. Together, Jason and Richard run all our meetings with inventors to brief them on our team's qualifications and specialties, as well as creating financial predictions for projects, and researching the cost of goods. I could go on, but that could take multiple more pages to describe all the work they do for Vita Group.

  • Does Vita Group outsource low-fidelity prototyping?

Our low-fidelity device prototypes are created in-house. We’ve found that staying in-house allows our team to provide quicker turnaround times for our inventors. It also allows us to work quicker with design revisions and tweaks. In most instances, we have the ability to make several revisions in one business day. We also have the ability, with our new Stratasys J750 3D printer, to introduce prototypes with components of color, varying materials, and textures. Using colored prototypes helps to verify the product’s design in real time which leads to quicker conceptualization of the product. Since there is no outsourcing for prototyping, the process is both cost-effective and developed at a faster rate.

  • Does Vita Group charge at cost or charge a margin for development work?

Our current pricing structure works on a 5-month contract that includes device developmental phases 0-1. Instead of requesting a full payment in one lump sum, we’ve found it more reasonable to ask our inventors for five monthly payments. This setup is great for both the inventors and Vita Group as it is a cheaper and time efficient route. Five months is an extremely fast time for creating semi-functional prototypes, and inventors are updated weekly with improvements. With this setup, inventors are not required to make a commitment with us. If they decide to change RD companies when moving forward with their project after the 5 months, they are free to take what we have given them and do so. Upon the term’s completion, we present our inventor with up to 5 prototypes, which together we review and evaluate based on the project’s initial goals. This brings us to what we call our “Go or No-Go Phase.” During this phase, we review the partnership to decide if we want to move forward with development through phases 5. We also renegotiate the terms to be appropriate with the services needed to bring the device to commercialization. This helps us stay on the same page with the inventor so we can create the best possible product for the market.

It can be extremely overwhelming to take into account all your different options when it comes to choosing a research and development group. There is a lot to consider and we hope that you’ve found some valuable suggestions in this article.

Are you ready to learn more about developing your innovative medical device ideas?


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