Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Tal Wenderow and I connected at Life Science Intelligence’s Emerging Medtech Summit in May 2021. I was very interested in what the founder of Corindus had next on his career journey. Turns out Tal has a keen interest in advancing accessible innovation globally with a focus on emerging markets. He recently joined Genesis Medtech Group as Venture Partner and works alongside Chairman and CEO, Warren Wang. I recently spoke with them to learn more about their unique approach to building MedTech innovation with emerging markets in mind at the onset.
Tell us about Genesis and its mission
WW: I founded Genesis with the mission of driving MedTech innovation for emerging markets first — China, Southeast Asia and, over time, to other markets around the world.
Genesis represents a new approach of providing medical devices and solutions to advance patient care by establishing an ecosystem, fueled by a stellar innovation platform and enabled by our commercial execution.
Why did you launch Genesis?
WW: I had been in the corporate life science world for many years; they invest in innovations, great people, and a global footprint; but when it comes to innovation for patients in emerging markets, I felt that this could be done better. And that is why I started Genesis.
We want to adopt an open platform approach. We bring the best R&D startups to the platform and provide access to capital and scale, and by that, enhance our product portfolio offering to our customers; in this way we can speed up the commercialization for these startups and bring innovative devices to emerging markets dramatically faster than today. I truly believe in the next 10-20 years one will have to think outside of one’s own terrain; it won’t be just about the catheter, it will also need to include software, energy source, system integration, etc.
What models are you deploying to build out innovation on your platform?
WW: We are a builder. We are building our product portfolio in a different way through flexible, multiprong approaches:
- Organic growth through our internal R&D and incubators
- Acquisitions — we will do tuck-ins after the first acquisitions
- Joint ventures
- VC investments
Are there key areas of focus?
WW: Key areas of focus today include:
- Surgical therapies
- Vascular intervention including neurovascular, cardiovascular, peripheral, and EP therapies
- Structural heart
We are always looking out for new indications and areas where we can leverage our ecosystem to drive growth, such as medical aesthetic, interventional oncology, and other fields.
Once you have built your portfolio, what is next?
WW: Firstly, we will drive integration, iteration of R&D and scale-up operations for commercialization. Right now, we have over 2,000 employees and five manufacturing facilities around the world. Secondly, we will expand our R&D capabilities. We have R&D centers in China, Singapore, and the U.S. We are expanding R&D capabilities in Japan, U.S., and Europe and are thinking about setting up an incubator in Israel. We are also expanding in the U.S. and we are excited to have Tal on board. We have 60+ employees in San Francisco through the acquisition of the global asset, Chocolate Touch Drug Coated Balloon. We have an R&D center in Minneapolis, Tal is based in Boston, and we are expanding R&D on the east coast. Thirdly we are working with leading physicians around the world to help us drive informed innovation.
Tal, what attracted you to Genesis?
TW: Innovation, growth, and the patient-centric platform. Genesis’ ability to drive innovation through an ecosystem (internal and external) drew my interest as it provides the foundation to disrupt the way we deliver healthcare in emerging markets first followed by the U.S. and EU. Furthermore, there were two other reasons that attracted me to Genesis. Firstly, it is all about trust. It didn’t take long to consider the opportunity with Warren and join Genesis because I trust Warren and his team. Secondly, I really liked the model of a flexible platform which makes it a win-win for all partners. If you want to do a joint venture, investing, or licensing etc., we are flexible on the type of partnership.
What competitive edge does Genesis provide in China?
TW: We are focused on advancing acceleration which allows us to commercialize faster in Asia first. When we first met, I was surprised to find out that Warren has already deployed 1,100 sales teams on the ground. So, when you think about reach, connectivity with physicians, and getting the market pulse in China, that is what Genesis brings you. At Genesis, what I see is flexibility, fast paced execution, and a startup culture; that is very compelling to me — we act, learn, and grow fast. We help innovative startup companies to accelerate quickly and bring new technologies to emerging markets. This is our mission and what keeps us motivated. Right now, I don’t think there is anyone else in MedTech who is approaching innovation with a China-emerging market first approach at this scale.
Tell us about the platforms you are building for China and emerging markets.
TW: Healthcare and MedTech innovation is changing all the time. Not only do you have to be bold and make some bets, but you also have to know how to connect the dots and create a digitally connected and integrated platform for the physicians and ultimately, the patients.
WW: At Genesis, one of our first platform innovations is in the neurovascular space, specifically in stroke. In China there are 4M patients annually that suffer from stroke, 80% of these patients have ischemic stroke. To me, this is mind-boggling. We have made two acquisitions, and through these acquisitions we have formed a strong partnership with California-based Penumbra, which is developing innovative therapies with a focus on stroke. We have also formed a partnership with RapidAI, which has an AI platform. RapidAI is a great diagnostic tool for doctors in the ICU which helps them quickly diagnose the type of stroke the patient has experienced. This allows us to provide a continuum of care for stroke patients from diagnostic through treatment.
And we are working with Tal to extend this care continuum to include post-op care, rehabilitation, and support for patients after they are discharged from hospitals. Additionally, we are looking at the demographics of stroke patients; we see a big unmet need with patients who live in rural settings and do not have the fast and easy access to stroke care. With stroke, the treatment window to receiving care is critical; many do not get diagnosed or treated in time. We plan on leveraging a digital platform for stroke patients in the countryside. This platform will help doctors who do not have the training or expertise to address the immediate needs of stroke patients in these rural settings. We are investing and building this platform for China right now; we are the largest shareholder of this newly formed company. We have already installed over 50 systems in Chinese hospitals; in this way we are connecting experienced, expert doctors with rural doctors for a shared network and more accessible stroke care.
How much have you raised and who are your investing partners?
WW: We just started two years ago. We have had two rounds of financing; we have raised significant funding thus far to enable our growth. Our leading investors are top tier players including GIC, Boyu Capital, WuXi AppTec, General Atlantic, and Sequoia.
TW: We don’t have a fund, rather we can invest directly with our investors or with an affiliated fund.
WW: We do plan to IPO in the future. Before IPOing we have plans for crossover rounds and bringing in new investors to accelerate growth.
Is there a bias for in-house development or acquisitions? Does your model allow for both? How do you see your business model evolving?
WW: There is no bias. We deploy both models as we see founders who need help in taking the technology to the next stage. If the founders sell his/her company to us, we will spend a lot of time and invest in internal R&D to expand that portfolio. It is a clear strategy for us to buy startups, anchor assets, and expand the portfolio.
The next step will be to go beyond the current portfolio. For example, take our surgical business. We made multiple acquisitions (staplers, suture tools, ultrasound devices, etc.) in the space and we want to create the future digital surgery platform for China. We are looking at incorporating AI, visualization, consumables, and more features beyond our current portfolio. We will start with the big cities and expand to rural China. We are in this for the long term; we aren’t thinking about exits now, rather, we are looking at how to develop the business in China and globally over the next 10-15 years.
TW: Genesis is combining traditional R&D processes and facilities with small, innovative “startup” like teams within the company. We are driving internal innovation in addition to the regular product development cycle, which is bundled with external companies that we partner/invest in. We believe fostering this culture and innovative mindset along with traditional R&D will allow us to launch better, innovative, and complete products to the market.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
WW: Integration. While it is cool to hear about all the companies we have acquired, they need to be integrated. Making them all work as one team under one roof is my number one challenge. We haven’t created a Genesis culture yet and we will need to do this in the next 3-4 years; that is my number one job and challenge.
TW: Time management is key; what things should I focus on that will really move the needle, especially when we are already working around the clock. Having the right team is always a priority; I like to hire smart people, ones that are smarter than I am, to push myself and the organization to new goals.
Despite the pandemic over the past two years, the number of deals you were able to execute is impressive. What is your investment cadence?
WW: We have no specific target number for deals. We did get a lot of deals that came into our network. During the pandemic we focused on Zoom calls and made the decisions. Deals with Penumbra and Shockwave were all done via Zoom calls.
TW: We are focused on execution and less about PR. We are looking for those gem startups, the ones that want to do something different and are looking for the right partner who can help them grow. Specifically, we are looking for innovative companies that have smart, connected devices and data where we can leverage our personal experience and Genesis’ ecosystem to provide a complete solution to our customers and patients. The ability to leverage the growth in Asia bundled with high-class commercial execution and an open platform can really move the needle for many companies.
What does success look like for Genesis five years from now?
WW: We are going to have two sets of businesses with Genesis: 1) Genesis China will have a strong, leading MedTech business with over 2,000 sales representatives and multiple manufacturing facilities and 2) Genesis will also have a global footprint which is bringing together robotics and digital platforms outside of China too — Southeast Asia, Japan, U.S., EU, and Israel.
TW: Importantly, I think success is making the patient’s lives better and easier; it is looking at the entire patient journey. We want to build a comprehensive platform that brings connectivity of patients, data, and physicians for better personalized care.
Warren Wang Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
A champion for meaningful innovations that improve patient life, Warren spearheads all group movement and business activities, oversees the board, and leads strategy.
Warren’s leadership draws on a wealth of experience from more than two decades in the MedTech industry. Prior to Genesis Medtech International, Warren was Senior Vice President and President, Asia Pacific, for Boston Scientific, and a member of its Executive Committee. Throughout his eight years in Boston Scientific, Warren laid a strong foundation for sustainable business expansion and built a strong, diversified, and high-performing team that achieved strong growth in the Asia Pacific region. Prior to Boston Scientific, he was with Johnson & Johnson for 11 years where he held successively senior roles based in the U.S., culminating in his appointment as vice president of the medical device business in China. Warren started his career with British Petroleum.
Warren is passionate about championing meaningful innovations that can have a measurable impact on patients’ lives. Throughout his career, Warren has focused on driving change in the MedTech industry, whilst providing business partners with opportunities to make an impact and develop new business collaborations. Warren believes in the power of strong ties with regional academic leaders, opportunities for further education for medical professionals, and driving the development of new products.
Warren received his Bachelor of Arts in economics from University of International Business and Economics in China and his MBA in marketing and finance from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Tal Wenderow, Venture Partner
A healthtech executive with a proven track record in building and scaling innovative and disruptive companies that change the way we deliver healthcare.
Tal will focus on expanding Genesis’ portfolio through M&As and investments, impacting the way we deliver healthcare by enabling predictive, proactive, and personalized healthcare — anywhere, everywhere.
Tal was the President & CEO of Vocalis Health, a global technology leader in vocal biomarkers developing voice-enabled AI solutions. Prior to Vocalis Health, he co-founded Corindus Vascular Robotics, which was acquired by Siemens Healthineers in 2019 for $1.1B. He served as the Executive Vice President of International & Business Development responsible for global sales and business partnerships. Tal is also a member of the Board of Directors of Microbot Medical Inc. [NASDAQ: MBOT].
Tal holds a Bachelor of Science, Summa Cum Laude, in Mechanical Engineering from Technion in Israel and completed the Executive Program for Life Sciences at the Merage Foundation, Merage Business School, University of California, Irvine, United States, and has numerous issued patents based on his inventions.