Abbott is bringing life-changing innovations to market.

From Start-up to Success Story

Sep 25 2017

Medical device venture investments are drying up – sort of.

Around the world, venture capitalists have invested 50 percent less in early-stage medical device startups over the last six years, with a decline from 11 percent of total venture capital dollars in 2010 to 5 percent in 2016, according to the Silicon Valley Bank. Instead, they're funneling their dollars to startups that provide services like ride-sharing and couch-surfing.1

While some of these investments have improved the efficiency of grocery shopping and task-doing, investments in medical innovations over the last few decades have increased life expectancy (by an average of five years) and prevented people dying from heart disease, stroke and breast cancer2.

With the possibility of transforming healthcare and improving lives greater than it's ever been – why would every investor not jump at the opportunity?

Part of the reason is medical devices often have a longer path from ideation to market. Developing a medical device requires clinical trials and regulatory approvals before it can be brought to market as a solution to improve the lives of patients. But it takes more than patience – it takes insight, capabilities and resources. That's why venture arms at healthcare companies like Abbott are so critical to continued innovation.

For nearly a decade, Abbott's venture arm has served as a crucial source of capital for dozens of innovative med-tech startup companies. Unlike a traditional venture capital firm, Abbott Ventures invests where it sees the biggest impact to the company's medical devices businesses and to create value for shareholders, while at the same time improving peoples' lives. 

"I spent a portion of my youth on a farm and if you do not plant seeds to create opportunities for a successful yield during the next harvest, you only have yourself to blame," said Evan Norton, Divisional Vice President at Abbott’s venture division. "The parallel in the medical device space is making sure my team identifies investment opportunities that in the future allow Abbott access to innovations that have the potential to positively change the landscape of some of the world's most devastating diseases."


1. San Francisco Business Times, "100 Biggest VC Recipients of 2016" (March 10, 2017)

2. AdvaMed, "A Future At Risk: Economic Performance, Entrepreneurship, and Venture Capital in the U.S. Medical Technology Sector" (October 2016)

Abbott has built the world’s leading business for the minimally invasive treatment of mitral regurgitation, or “leaky” mitral heart valves, a dangerous condition that typically requires invasive, open-heart surgery to correct. It’s estimated that the minimally invasive treatment of mitral regurgitation will become a several-billion-dollar market opportunity over time. Two products that started out as Abbott venture investments and turned into full acquisitions that aim to address this devastating and expensive heart disease:-       


  • Used to repair a leaky mitral heart valve
  • Acquired in 2009, obtained FDA approval in 2013
  • First commercially available minimally-invasive treatment for mitral valve repair (via a catheter)
  • Has touched more than 50,000 people’s lives worldwide
  • Is one of Abbott’s fastest-growing products, with double-digit sales growth in 2016 and 2017, with additional potential indications on the horizon

For important safety information on MitraClip, visit


  • Currently being studied to support approval in Europe as a minimally-invasive treatment option to replace a leaky mitral heart valve
  • Could negate the need for open heart surgery for high-risk cases

* CAUTION: Investigational device.  Limited by Federal (U.S.) law to investigational use only.


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