May 14, 2020

WE-REACH Welcomes Teddy Johnson

We are pleased to welcome Teddy Johnson, P.E., MBA, to the WE-REACH team!

Teddy brings 25+ years of medical product development and commercialization experience to his role as Associate Director, Technology Development which is a split role with the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS). Teddy will work closely with investigators who are taking their early stage medical device, therapeutic, biotechnology, and diagnostic technologies through the development steps toward high impact commercial products. He will be deeply involved in mentoring, connecting, and guiding teams as they move their products from bench to bedside.

Teddy recently shared stories and insights on our WE-REACH Podcast. He talks about his experience starting out as a medical product engineer at Hewlett Packard then later joining a startup called HeartPort that had big ideas for changing the way cardio-thoracic surgery was done. That’s where he found out you really need your end user deeply involved in your development from the start because, in spite of the cool technology and great patent portfolio they developed at the company, the surgeons weren’t about to change the way they did surgery just to incorporate the technology.

Over the years Teddy has observed more than 1000 surgeries and worked with many wonderful people in medicine. For up-and-coming inventors, he notes that many fields have not seen innovation in a very long time and thus are full of opportunities. One example from his own experience he describes on the podcast is about bringing a new product to sinus surgery in the Ear Nose and Throat specialty where the physicians were especially gracious to work with and where they had not seen anything new for several years.  He says, if you really dig in, you will see in many ways we are still in the stone ages.

Teddy notes some areas that might be ripe for more innovation include dentistry, which seems to be seeing a lot of activity lately, and devices and therapeutics for the nervous system, which is very exciting these days. One largely neglected area is women’s health. As an example, in one company he worked at he wondered why they weren’t using their technology to ablate uterine fibroids. It turns out 35% of women get them, they are incredibly painful, and he says we can get rid of them, so he wondered why aren’t we doing that?

Teddy’s commercialization consulting work in more recent years drew him into therapeutics areas as well as device products. He has developed deep expertise in  market sizing, pricing, reimbursement, and other strategies aimed at helping companies fundraise and launch their products.

Reach out to Teddy to get to know him! He loves meeting innovators and hearing about new ideas. His email is wereachteddy@uw.edu.