Innovation Consultant

Martin Sklar

Martin Sklar
Technical Case study:
• Challenge: Medical and Laboratory Products Company was planning to increase market share and production of Gel Cassettes for Genetic Analysis. At the time they were producing glass gel cassettes that required a messy and manual process with severe process capacity limitations. In addition they were selling the cassettes at a breakeven price.
• Approach: Consultant (I) designed fixturing which would allow a chromatography system to fill cassettes in a more precise, flexible and potentially automated higher throughput process. Consultant also designed various automated process configurations that would maximize production capacity
• Results: Consultant demonstrated the filling fixture would work quite well as it cycled continuously for a week, yielding 15,000 cycles of the fixture engaging the cassette in position to fill without one problem. Filling also was deemed a success after numerous constant and gradient gels.

Technical Case study:
• Challenge: Laser Imaging and Processing Equipment Company needed to have an electromechancial and optomechanical system developed for a laser ablation system to process various materials for client high technology applications. Company had purchased an optical homogenizer system for a different application which did not work because motors were not properly sized.
• Approach: Consultant designed an optical high precision stepper motor driven optical homogenizer system, and a dual channel stepper motor driven video system.
• Results: System worked well from startup. Client bought the first two systems for integrated circuit chip processing.

Technical Case study:
• Challenge: A funded start-up pain management instrument company needed a disposable electrode developed which would allow electrical current pass through the skin well into the stratum corneum layer to reduce electrical resistance, improve performance, reduce future power supply or battery requirements.
• Approach: Consultant, with advice from client, designed a microelectrode spike array, found and worked with a quality vendor to produce this key disposable, helped in developing additional versions after initial testing
• Results: System and device are being sold. System was included in a story of CBS Evening News.

Technical Case study:
• Challenge: A funded start-up drug delivery company needed help in developing a glucose monitoring system, micro-pump design and early development of a microneedle array pump
• Solution: Consultant designed layout for the glucose sensor breadboard system, designed key passive components, including a spring pump for the micro-pump. Also helped in early stage concept development of microneedle pump
• Result: Only the passive pump has been developed and further until now and is in clinical trials.

Technical Case Study:
An early stage image guided surgery company had decided to reconfigure its surgical navigation system in order to improve the surgeons’ field of view and provide direct access to menu selections on the computer via the display. To accomplish this, the company decided to move the display from across the room at a distance from the operating room (O.R.) table into the surgical field above the patient. In addition, the display would be changed from CRT to LCD technology to reduce the display size and a touch screen would be added for direct control of the display by the surgeon.

By moving the new LCD display into the sterile field above the patient, a secure, safe and maneuverable mounting would be required. It was necessary for the display to be inside a sterile covering. The unique requirement of this sheath was that the display area must be 100% transparent with no visual distortion, to optimize visibility for the clinical staff.

Martin led the project to satisfactorily mount the display and develop a sterile transparent covering. The mounting selected was from a manufacturer of a standard wheel based vertical, mounting post. It was customized with a cantilevered multi-degree-of-freedom LCD mounting.
A standard sterile bag was selected from a supplier. A fully transparent, sterilizable material was selected for the display area. A design was developed to cut out the display area in the bag, replace it with a slightly larger section of the transparent material, and then combine the two materials using ultrasonic welding. Once the assembly was complete and sealed, it was packaged and sent to a processor for sterilization using Gamma-Ray Sterilization.
For this work, Martin received a patent. The Sterile Barrier has been commercialized.

Business Case study:
Our client is a service provider of coatings for various applications, including surgical devices. Although knowledgeable about their markets, the coating of metal substrate components used in interventional cardiology has been growing. They determined that they needed outside help to achieve their goals of gaining market share in this industry. They requested that we investigate and implement processes, to approach their clients and potential clients. The Team was to determine their clients’ interests in outsourcing coating services, as well as determining if any of them were considering selling facility assets.

The Team prepared a template to document information, helped select specific target companies and developed an approach very acceptable to our client. The TEAM Team then completed the template, began to identify potential contacts in each company, and other contacts, who might have connections to key individuals within the target companies. In addition, THE TEAM collected critical data and performed analyses to determine target companies’ status within the industry and estimated production capacities to determine the each company’s market share and ultimate priority in our client’s attempt to work with each company.

The Team proceeded to make the critical connections in all the target companies. The Team identified and presented the client with key management contacts, facilities and statistics about each client. The Team consultants and the client gained valuable insights about the capacity and related information about each target company. Opportunities were identified, connections made and discussions started in numerous potential collaborative opportunities. Numerous discussions are ongoing.

Business Case study:
Novel Point-of-Care Technology: Voice of Customer Analysis

A Physician and CEO of an international company was planned commercialization of a novel point-of-care technology in the U.S. He met with the Team to discuss the technology and potential collaboration. The CEO informed the Team of consultants that he hadn’t discussed his technology with U.S. physicians. Although he had talked to physicians in his own country, he was concerned about interest and adoption in the U.S.
The Team recommended a “Voice of the Customer” project to learn about how U.S. physicians would view as well as potentially use and purchase the technology. The CEO agreed.

The Team developed a questionnaire to capture the key concepts regarding clinical value of the product as well as adoption strategies for the future launch. In addition, the Team constructed questions regarding business options for purchase and training. The team arranged for meetings with physicians across several specialties,
including internal medicine, cardiology, anesthesia, veterinary medicine and fetal medicine to name a few. Prior to the physician meetings, the Team met with the client to review the questionnaire and plan for physician visits.

The client, who attended several meetings, was extremely pleased with the knowledge he gained from the physician visits. The Team of consultants also met with several physicians on their own once the client returned to his country. At the conclusion of the project, the Team prepared an extensive report with physician feedback, analysis and recommendations for the client. This project is presently marketing the device in Australia and the U.S. and preparing for introduction into Europe.
 Solicited the “voice of the customer” aimed at understanding customer needs, level of interest and market segmentation.
 Allowed the client to meet with clinicians from leading Boston area teaching hospitals and other institutions.
 Validated product specifications and assessed critical price point sensitivity.
 Helped establish the Unique Selling Proposition.

Martin Sklar's consultancy:

Development of a Percutaneous Electrode Array