Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Executive Spotlight: Robert "Chip" Hance, President of Abbott Vascular

Robert “Chip” Hance is president of Abbott Vascular, a division of Abbott based in Santa Clara, Calif., and one of the world’s leading vascular care businesses. Previously, Hance served as president of Abbott’s diabetes care business from 2007 to 2008. He began in the interventional cardiology field in 2002 as head of Perclose and led Abbott’s Vascular Devices division until 2006, where he oversaw the development and launch of several key new cardiovascular technologies.

Hance joined Abbott in 1989 in sales for Abbott
's diagnostics division, and held a number of marketing and commercial management positions, including vice president for the Europe, Africa and the Middle East regions. Prior to joining Abbott, Hance was an associate fellow at Harvard Business School and a product development engineer at Proctor and Gamble. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master's degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.

He will be part of CHI's upcoming FDA 510(k) Process Under the Microscope: How Will Changes Impact You?, to be held July 29, in Newport Beach at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort.

Q: Many of us know the name Abbott, but tell me a little about Abbott Vascular.

Abbott Vascular is a global leader in cardiac and vascular care with market-leading products and an industry-leading pipeline. The division offers a comprehensive device portfolio, including products for carotid artery disease, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, structural heart disease and vessel closure.

Q: How has the company grown in recent times?

A: Abbott spends significant capital in R&D effort with total spending at $2.7 billion last year across research pipeline programs. Our vascular business has the most robust pipeline in the industry, and we have said we expect to bring more than 10 coronary technologies to market over the next five years.

The corporation continues to generate growth both organically and from targeted acquisitions. In Abbott's pharma business, the company completed its acquisition of Solvay Pharmaceuticals earlier this year, marking an important step for the company in expanding its presence in key emerging markets.

In addition, Abbott announced earlier this year the acquisition of Indian pharmaceutical company Piramal, which will make Abbott the No. 1 pharmaceutical company in India.

In its vascular business, in 2006, Abbott purchased the vascular device division of Guidant Corporation, which at the time was developing the Xience drug eluting stent, which has since become the market leading stent worldwide. Last year, we acquired Evalve Inc. of Menlo Park, which provided Abbott a presence in the growing area of non-surgical treatment for structural heart disease.

Q: What do you consider most important about your work?

A: Put simply, it is about helping patients get the best care. At Abbott Vascular, we are dedicated to transforming the treatment of vascular disease through better medical device innovations.

Q: What do you consider the most at risk in the current regulatory environment?

A: I’m most concerned that patient access to new, innovative devices will be challenged by the complexity of a changing regulatory environment. It is important that we continue to innovative, and continue to balance patient needs and access to new medical technologies with regulatory requirements. We do not want to lose sight of the patient.

We also want to ensure access to new medical technologies does not diminish in the
United States. Many of the products still considered “investigational” in the United States are receiving approvals in Europe and other countries.

Q: What are you hoping to take from the CHI event FDA 510(k) Process Under the Microscope: How Will Changes Impact You?

A: I hope to engage in robust discussions about the biomedical industry and its future. Through these discussions, I hope to come away with better ways of communicating the importance of medical technology for patients and the world they live in. It is only through innovation that we continue to thrive and improve on what we already know.

Hance will be speaking at CHI’s FDA 510(k) Process Under the Microscope: How Will Changes Impact You? on Thursday, July 29, in Newport Beach. To find out more, click here.

CHI-Advancing California biomedical research and innovation

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