It has been just over a year since Críons became the South American sales agent for all ViVitro Labs cardiovascular device testing products and Laboratory testing services. Rob Fraser (RF) recently interviewed Andreluiz de Sousa Cunha (AC), Development Manager of Críons, about his connection to cardiovascular device market, the Latin American cardiovascular industry and developments at Críons.
RF: Andre, please tell us about your background and what you do at Crions:
AC: My background is in Electronics and Instrumentation and my first job was in Avionics. In a way, my job now is still related to people’s well-being. In the cardiovascular industry I started as a 3D heart valve draftsman. Software was always one of my strengths. When I saw the need of special electronics in the cardiovascular field, it made the jump to my own company a natural step. Today I’m the development manager of Críons. We provide solutions for production control, electronic DHR, systems integration and quality control both in software and electronics.
RF: You have been involved with cardiovascular device test equipment for a number of years, what changes have you seen over the years?
AC: I’ve been working with cardiovascular testing for 23 years, from biological tissue to pyrolytic carbon valves. The test equipment is now more mature and has helped standards grow stronger like ISO-5840. It’s undeniable that ViVitro equipment has made a significant contribution to the Heart Valve industry. From my first contact with the 1984 model to the 2015 model, I can see the engineering efforts involved and a path that many other test equipment companies now follow.
RF: What’s unique about the South American market?
AC: South America has been a great market for OEM manufacturers for years. Edwards, Sorin and now Boston Scientific are some of the companies that have strategic partners here. The quality control and the investments in test equipment and certifications such as EC, EDQM, ISO and FDA confirms that we meet and exceed the high standards established by the best companies in the market, regulatory agencies and certification bodies.
RF: What are the opportunities and challenges for cardiovascular devices in South America?
AC: Opportunities exist in new device development, OEM and TAVI markets. We are prepared. We have the engineers, the personnel, the factories, the surgeons and the patients. The region’s willingness to participate in this health care evolution is clear when you see the number of clinical trial participants.
One of the major challenges in South America today is changing the policy of various governments regarding academic research budget approval. Great researchers suffer from bureaucratic processes in order to receive investment in their studies. Because of this, the whole health community is deprived of potential breakthroughs. Most of the investment today is from groups outside South America, another recognition of the strategic importance of South America.
RF: Is the market mainly about the domestic market or creating devices for other countries?
AC: The market is balanced in both sides. In the last 3 years there is increasing growth in OEM services, research and development, I must mention the biological tissue supply is trending too.
RF: Any advice for cardiovascular researchers or companies in South American?
AC: My advice to companies is to keep up the good work and invest in researchers. That’s scientific capital. To researchers I offer a quote: “Persistence in scientific research is what I call instinct for truth” – from Louis Pasteur. And to those who think that research is expensive, try disease.