Interview: Neil Anderson, CEO of Oventus Medical

(What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”?  )

“Focus on all aspects of a business, not just on a ‘technology push’. Understand what is in it for the end user – value propositions. Understanding pricing and how much a product has to be made to be viable. Be nimble – change when needed.”

Neil Anderson, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Oventus Medical
An experienced company executive and biomaterial scientist, Neil started working with Dr. Chris Hart five years ago, to develop and commercialize the Oventus innovative range of products for the treatment of OSA and bring them to market. Neil has been responsible for managing the collaboration process with the CSIRO to develop a remotely-managed computer-aided detection (CAD) imaging and 3D printing manufacturing platform, as well as the R&D of its products, manufacturing transfer, patent portfolio, quality systems and regulatory clearances for the products to date. Here also manages the CRC-P for Personalised treatment of Sleep Apnoea – a $3 million Federal government initiative, which is a collaboration between Oventus, Medical Monitoring Solutions, CSIRO, NeuRA and Western Sydney University.
Neil has 33  years’ experience in commercializing medical devices and managing the process from conception to market release including applied research, developing prototypes and testing, product development, manufacturing, regulatory submissions and clinical trials. Prior to taking on the role with Oventus, Neil founded and held the role of the chief executive officer of CathRx for 10 years. In this role, Neil managed the process from the invention of the company’s technology to commercializing a range of products leading to sales in Europe. Neil has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Hons) and a Diploma of Management and is a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Mr. Neil Anderson will be a speaker at our upcoming Melbourne event. 

Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like? What were you thinking at that moment?
Neil: It was about 15 years ago at a prototyping shop. Plastic printing. I was thinking that it is great for rapid prototyping of plastic rather than use soft injection molds. Time-saving in R&D only.
Jenny: What inspired you to start your career in 3D printing?
Neil: Basically a need to make a bespoke, complex shape in one piece for each individual patient. To make many of these at one time.
Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing ? 
Neil: Probably CSIRO – that was the first time I had seen metal 3D printing
Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work?
Neil: Delivering superior medical device solutions to patients to improve their lives.
Jenny: What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions?
Neil: Juggling all aspects of medical device translation. It is very complex and convoluted, focusing on what are the main priorities now and making sure every task is allocated as “high priority”, and getting the right people and processes in place to address this.
Jenny: What do you think is (are) the biggest challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?
Neil: Cost of high-end machines and many machines are “closed” which limits materials used and materials development.
Jenny: If you are granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be?  
Neil: More time in the day, ability to work longer hours productively, and more time/motivation to exercise/play sport
Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”?  
Neil: Focus on all aspects of a business not just on a “technology push”. Understand what is in it for the end user – value propositions. Understanding pricing and how much a product has to be made to be viable. Be nimble – change when needed.
Jenny: If you could have a giant billboard to promote a message to millions and even billions of people in our community (i.e. healthcare 3D printing and bio-fabrication), what message would that be?
Neil: The future is here. Beware traditional manufacturing processes.

O2VentTM T – by Oventus

Jenny: What were/was the best investment you made in 3D printing/bio-printing/bio-fabrication?
Neil: Working on medical grade nylon SLS.
Jenny: What were/was the worst investment you made in 3D printing/bio-printing/bio-fabrication?
Neil: No real regrets and some materials are just not robust enough for prototyping eg some flexible polymers.
Jenny: What was/is the biggest risk you took in your career?
Neil: Starting my first company.
Jenny: What do you enjoy in your spare time? What are you passionate about outside of your work/3d printing?
Neil: Family, house renovations, following certain sports eg rugby league, cricket and golf, and trying to get back into golf.
Jenny: What is your favorite quote? Why?
Neil: “Pay now or pay a lot more later.”
Basically get the job done properly now with no shortcuts. Otherwise, it will come back and bite you! Even if that means “fail early”
Jenny: What does the word “3DHEALS” mean to you?  =)
Neil: Use of 3D printing to create solutions to various “diseases” or compromised body parts.