Galway, Ireland firm Aerogen is the world leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance aerosol drug delivery technology for hospitals and clinics. Their products are used in emergency departments and intensive care units in over 75 countries.
Aerogen’s products are all based on a unique piece of technology called the AerogenVibronic; a palladium vibrating mesh just 5mm in diameter and perforated with 1,000 holes that vibrate at 128,000 times per second. The vibrating mesh creates a mini-pump effect, and the tiny holes produce a fine spray of medicinal particles that penetrate deeper into the patients’ lungs.
Aerogen’s technology can effectively aerosolize a vast range of proteins, peptides, suspensions and solutions, and this has paved the way for targeted drug delivery to the lungs for millions of patients worldwide.
A Visionary Exuberant behind Aerogen
John Power, CEO of Aerogen, holds an MBA degree from Oxford Brookes University. As a Chartered Engineer, John is accredited with many commercialized International patents in areas ranging from robotics to life support ventilation. As an adjunct lecturer at the National University of Ireland, Galway, John gives guest lectures on his core business interests of Innovation Strategies and Technology Entrepreneurship. In 2016, in recognition of his contribution to the development of the Irish Medical Device sector John was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by the National University of Ireland, Galway. Also, John is a salient member of the Board of the Irish Medical Device Association.
John’s vision to transform the technology
John following his career focused on technology development in aerospace, robotics, automation, and medical devices, founded Aerogen (originally Cerus Medical) in 1997. “I left school at 16 and trained originally as a draughtsman, gaining my Design, Engineering qualification and later an MBA from night school. So, my passion for new product development and innovation developed from the ground floor up,” says John.
While working on the development of life-support ventilators for a global medical device company, John realized that existing methods of delivering drugs to critically ill patients on life support were destitute. While a vast amount of technology had gone into the design of ventilators, methods of drug delivery had not changed much since the 1960s.
The vision for the technology was to transform Aerosol Drug Delivery for the most vulnerable patients in an acute care setting.
Roughly, one in three people in Intensive Care Units (ICU) anywhere in the world is there because of respiratory-related conditions. Air is pumped into their lungs through a ventilator, and the challenge was how to get drugs into that airflow. Aerogen looked at all the technologies available and licensed an early stage technology out of Silicon Valley.
Eventually, Aerogen perfected an optimum way of turning liquid drugs into aerosols, and Aerogen became the first company in the world to develop an Aerosol System that could deliver drugs effectively to respirators and neonates and pre-terms.
John’s Contribution towards Awards and Achievements
John has been a founder of several technology start-ups and has held executive level positions in R&D, Operations, Sales and General Management in both SME’s and MNC’s. In recognition of his career in developing successful technology–based businesses, the European Business Awards declared John the European Entrepreneur of The Year 2015/16.
Aerogen has been recognized as the global leader in Aerosol Drug Delivery in the Acute Care setting, recording over 30% CAGR 2008-16. Its products have been pivotal in treating more than 4million critically ill patients in over 70 countries around the world. This year for the third time in the last four years, Aerogen again received the prestigious Zenith Award from the American Association of Respiratory Care. In prior years the company has been awarded both the Irish Exporter of The Year and the Irish Medical Device Technology Company of The Year.
Aerogen’s classic way to handle successful customers and businesses
The classic way to build a market for a new technology-based business such as Aerogen is to find Key Opinion Leaders and early adopters within a sector of our market where you truly offer the superior competitive advantage. Once you secure this market base, you can adapt your marketing message and product offering to engage with ever larger sectors within your market always ensuring that you continue to delight your customer regarding performance quality and service.
Aerogen continues to allocate resources to R&D and Marketing well above industry norms, and this is the key to it’s continued success. Within marketing strong brand management is crucial, and John sees Aerogen product users as their best marketers. “The day you see your customer enthusiastically recommending your products to their peers is the day you know you have got this right. It is then essential that you continuously innovate and delight these customers while always protecting and reinforcing your brand equity,” assures John.
Flourishing Future of Aerogen
The company created a Blue Ocean market in high-performance aerosol delivery within the acute care market and intended to drive that advantage broadly and profoundly to the hospital so that anywhere an aerosol drug is required Aerogen can reach be there.
John says that this drive for market dominance extends past medical devices alone as the Aerogen has been working on the development of its own proprietary specialty pharmaceutics platforms. Power stated that by 2021Aerogen will have two of its own drugs on the market, one of which will be the first nebulisation of life-saving surfactant to the lungs of premature babies. “I really believe we have the people and technologies that can offer a huge clinical advancement and in doing so make Aerogen a truly great Irish company,” John assured.