May 10, 2022
INTRICON R&D VP DAVE LIEBL SHARES ADVICE ON HOW OEMs CAN LEVERAGE OUTSOURCED PARTNERS FOR COMPLEX PRODUCTS IN CHALLENGING TIMES
Medical Products Outsourcing, a leading media authority in the med device industry, recently called on Dave Liebl, vice president of research and development at Intricon, for insight for its latest article on how outsourced partners like Intricon can meet the demanding design challenges from OEMs.
He highlights how trends will lead to less-invasive approaches for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and non-invasive technologies to help visualize and/or transmit key health data for analysis, and how Intricon is overcoming supply chain challenges for its customers.
“Lead times for raw materials required to prototype new product concepts have definitely increased—often two- or three-fold—from pre-pandemic levels,” he notes in the article. “Thus, companies that can find a way to prototype faster in the current environment will rise to the top.”
Other trends Dave touches on in the article include:
- Product design trending toward smaller, smarter devices that combine multiple technologies
- Speeding up product design and development by outsourcing to trusted and experienced contract manufacturers
- Electronics that are used to protect the health of patients and physicians, such as electromagnetic field (EF) generators and sensor technologies as alternatives to fluoroscopy
- More frequent use of FEA as product designs become smaller and more complicated, especially for the evaluation of complex assemblies
The article, posted online and in the May issue of Medical Product Outsourcing, ends with Dave’s observation that “Joint development manufacturers (JDMs) like Intricon have systems that are nimble and are ‘external eyes’ with deep category expertise to foresee both opportunities and challenges—now and down the road—during the manufacturing stage. As more OEMs experience this, they embrace the practice of third-party development for its efficiency and are able to leverage the resources and the expertise of the joint development manufacturer, that then becomes a valued extension of their team.”
Article in MP&O May, 2022 issue: https://bit.ly/3Nnu04R
April 11, 2022
INTRICON ENGINEERS MENTOR ROBOTICS COMPETITION TEAM
Intricon medical products engineer Austin Barrett has been a mentor to the Holy Family Catholic High School Robotics Team for the past five years. Austin dedicates approximately 200 hours each year to the team during the robotics build and competition season, from January through April. Austin works with students, teaching robotics building and development, along with teamwork and communication skills. This year, Intricon senior process development engineer Julia Rusciano joined Austin as another mentor from Intricon for the team.
On April 8 and 9, 2022, the robotics team competed in the Minnesota 10,000 Lakes Regional Competition, presented by Medtronic. The team, called Pyrobotics, placed 15th out of 55 teams in the qualification rounds and went on to be the 7th seed in the quarter finals. While the team lost in the finals, its robot reached the highest level of traverse climbing in the competition.
Intricon supports Austin, Julia, and the members of the Holy Family robotics team as a team sponsor.
FIRST® Robotics Competition teams design, program, and build a robot, starting with a standard kit of parts and common set of rules, to play in themed, head-to-head challenges. Teams also build a brand, develop community partnerships for support, and work to promote STEM in their local community as part of their role in the program.
Under strict rules and limited time and resources, students are challenged to build industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game in alliance with other teams. Students at all skill levels participate — technical or non-technical. The robotics competition gives high school students and their adult mentors the opportunity to work and create together to solve a common problem.
April 20, 2022
INTRICON RANKS HIGH IN GENDER DIVERSITY
Intricon was recognized as an Honor Roll company in the 2021 Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership. The census is the results of an annual study, conducted by St. Catherine University, which tracks how public companies are diversifying their boards and executive leadership teams by adding more women.
Intricon was one of only 15 other companies in Minnesota to earn Honor Roll status, which requires adding or diversifying board members and executives to achieve a minimum of 20% of corporate directors and/or a minimum of 20% of executive officers who are women. Intricon was recognized for its pursuit of gender parity at the top levels of the company.
An Intricon team attended the presentation of the research results by the university and Twin Cities Business Monthly, which publishes the research. CEO Scott Longval accepted an honorarium at the event and was featured in the publication of the results, commenting “We knew we needed greater diversity and more women in management and leadership roles. We were more conscious about how we thought about that as we were filling roles within the organization.” In addition to filling its CHRO and interim CFO executive positions with women leaders, Scott and the board also welcomed director Heather Rider, a global human resources specialist with 30 years of experience at medical technology companies, and Kathleen Pepski, former CFO of Hawkins industrial company, as directors.
All leaders at Intricon plan to continue to cultivate a culture of diversity and inclusion as the company grows. According to Scott, “The best way to solve complex problems is to have diverse views and experiences at the table. Looking at issues from all perspectives provides greater outcomes for Intricon.”
November 14, 2022
Intricon’s Dr. David Akbari Receives Prestigious Hearing Industry Leadership Award
The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), a leading national audiology association, selected David Akbari, Au.D., senior medical science, clinical, and regulatory affairs liaison at Intricon, to receive its prestigious annual ADA Hearing Industry Leadership Award for 2022. The award recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding achievements that elevate or advance the hearing industry. Dr. Akbari was recognized at the 2022 ADA AuDacity Conference in Dallas in October.
Dr. Akbari is the first and only individual to win the award. The 2022 award is significant in that the ADA has not given an award in the past 10 years, and it does not take nominations for the award.
The ADA chose Dr. Akbari because of his vision for and significant contributions to the hearing health industry throughout his career. One of those contributions included serving as a member of the ADA Over the Counter (OTC) Hearing Aid Working Group, through which Dr. Akbari provided invaluable technical and scientific expertise to help formulate the ADA’s recommendations to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to its Proposed Rule Establishing Over the Counter Hearing Aids, many of which were adopted by the agency.
The FDA ruling on OTC hearing aids was passed and, on October 17, 2022, for the first time, adults with mild to moderate hearing loss in the U.S. were able to buy hearing aids at retailers and online, without a prescription. The development will provide greater access to hearing aids for millions of people.
Dr. Akbari is a national authority on hearing health and leader at Intricon, which has a 45-year legacy of improving people’s lives with sensor-enabled micromedical devices.
October 6, 2022
This comprehensive podcast, produced by The Hearing Journal, the premier publication for hearing health professionals, features Intricon’s senior medical science, clinical, and regulatory affairs liaison, Dr. David Akbari. Dr. Akbari discusses his predictions on the impact of the recent FDA ruling that allows hearing aids to be sold over the counter, without the need for an audiologist.
The FDA decision ends five years of commentary and speculation on how OTC hearing aids will impact on people with mild to moderate hearing loss and hearing health practitioners.
The podcast is part of a four-part series examining the game-changing transformation of the industry. In this episode, Dr. Akbari and other guests review the FDA OTC rule and:
- Defining an OTC device – how it’s different than prescriptive hearing aids
- Quality control and standards, including performance criteria – higher threshold of performance rigor to be marketed and labeled as OTC hearing aids
- Holistic care model for OTC hearing aids
- Role of the audiologist
- Benefits of OTC to audiology model
- Distribution at the state level
- Fitting hearing aids
Dr. Akbari has been very active in hearing health industry professional associations involved in setting standards for objective measurement of quality and performance of OTC hearing aids.
The podcast is available at https://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/pages/podcastepisodes.aspx?podcastid=4 and on Stitcher, Apple podcasts, and Spotify.
December 5, 2022
David Liebl, Intricon’s chief technology and commercial officer, was a featured expert on Medical Design Briefs magazine webcast: Developing the Ultimate Medical Sensor Technology. Biosensor devices monitor and detect changes in biological processes and convert them into a physical signal. Biosensors can be close to the body, on the body, or in the body.
As companies develop such monitoring devices that incorporate sensors, it is important for them to understand how to partner to effectively and cost-efficiently bring their devices to the medical market. On the webcast, Dave provided guidance on:
- Integrating sensors in devices
- Understanding the growing need for point-of-care biosensor devices and biosensors in a waning COVID-19 pandemic
- Working with a knowledgeable, experienced partner on quality and regulatory requirements, development, assembly, manufacturing, and packaging of wearable biosensors as medical devices
Intricon is part of a growing wearable biosensor ecosystem, providing unsurpassed expertise in miniaturized electronics for biosensor innovation through prototyping, testing, validation, product launches, and fulfillment. Intricon uses technical capabilities and regulatory acumen as a contract development manufacturer in the wearable biosensor industry for manufacturers of biosensors used in pulmonology, remote patient monitoring, audiology, orthopedics, endocrinology, and gastroenterology.
Since 1977, Intricon has been bringing bioelectronic devices to life. Over 45 years, it has grown and evolved processes and capabilities to create biosensors that are smaller, lighter, and more comfortable for patients. As a contract manufacturer exclusive to medical technology, the company partners with industry leading medical device companies from around the globe to build world-class products that make the lives of patients better.
The webcast can be viewed by visiting https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1579008&tp_key=2a980ad4bb
July 7, 2022
This Week in Hearing Webcast features Dr. David Akbari, Intricon’s Senior Medical Science, Clinical, and Regulatory Affairs Liaison
Intricon’s resident audiologist, Dr. David Akrabi, was recently interviewed by Dr. Amyn Amlani of Hearing Health and Technology Matters media for a This Week in Hearing webcast. Dr. Akbari was asked to share more about a recent study that examined the performance of Intricon’s Sentibo self-fit hearing aid audio technology to professionally fit hearing aids. The study compared sound quality, fitting process, and overall benefits of the two hearing aids, each with different fitting approaches.
Intricon commissioned the study to measure a minimum of non-inferiority of the self-fit to the pro-fit, yet findings revealed that satisfaction and experience of the self-fitting technology ranked higher than the professionally fit model.
The webcast discussion also covers how the Sentibo self-fit method uses a proprietary psychoacoustic audibility model vs. the standard National Acoustic Laboratory (NAL-NL2) prescriptive fitting method.
Drs. Akrabi and Amlani discuss the state of the hearing aid industry and the impending OTC market, which will provide more accessible and affordable quality hearing aids to millions of people with mild to moderate hearing loss. They predict that products and service delivery models will be enhanced when hearing aids become available over the counter.
Sentibo, which is already used in Germany and is currently awaiting regulatory clearance, was designed by Intricon with human factors in mind — to make complex technology as simple to use as possible.
“Meeting patients where they are and empowering them is the future of hearing health,” said Dr. Amlani.
March 30, 2022
Intricon CHRO Recognized Nationally for Leading HR Transformation and Growth
HRO Today Magazine names Sara Hill Finalist
Chief Human Resources Officer Sara Hill was recently named a finalist for the annual Chief Human Resource Officer of the Year Award, presented by HRO Today magazine, in recognition of her accomplishments at Intricon. Sara will travel to Philadelphia for the CHRO of the Year Awards gala at the HRO Today Forum North America, where final winners will be announced on May 3, 2022. Sara is one of 33 finalists from a wide variety of industries who will be honored at the event.
The CHRO of the Year Awards was started in 2014 and honors CHROs with the capabilities to adapt to competitive business environments and deliver insights needed for HR transformation. The program recognizes CHROs who help drive workforce initiatives through innovation and achieve measurable excellence in employee engagement and retention. Honored CHROs are responsible for providing leadership for talent acquisition and retention, business growth, and workforce culture.
Sara is an experienced, proven HR leader who plays a leadership role in Intricon achieving its aggressive growth goals, primarily through strategic organizational development plans and talent management initiatives. Since joining Intricon in April 2020, Sara has initiated several major HR initiatives at the company, from how Intricon approaches employee engagement, to internal communications, organizational and leadership development, and work structures. At Intricon, Sara also leads compliance; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives; and the company’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)/sustainability program.
Competition for the 2022 CHRO of the Year Award is high. This year, judges received numerous nominations for a variety of categories, including non-profit, middle-market, enterprise, sustainable workforce, and for its Lifetime Achievement Award.
February 28, 2022
Intricon Enters into Agreement to be Acquired by an Affiliate of Altaris Capital Partners for $241 Million
On February 28, Intricon Corporation announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Altaris Capital Partners, an investment firm focused exclusively on the healthcare industry. Altaris proposes to acquire all outstanding shares of Intricon stock at a price of $24.25 per share, a 39% premium to Intricon’s closing price on February 25, 2022, which equates to a compelling equity valuation of approximately $241 million. The transaction will enable the company to accelerate its advancement plans as a joint development manufacturer (JDM) with deep capabilities in micromedical technology across a broad range of high-growth markets. The acquisition received unanimous approval by the Intricon Board of Directors.
Scott Longval, Intricon CEO, credits the Intricon team for establishing the company as a premier partner of choice for medical device companies that incorporate advanced technology from Intricon into their products. He adds that the transaction ushers in the next chapter of the company and that Altaris will help further Intricon’s mission: To work side-by-side with customers as their JDM in micromedical technology, supporting customer teams from the earliest stages of ideas through final production of medical devices.
The merger agreement is also subject to a “go shop” period whereby Intricon may solicit superior proposals from third parties for a period of 35 days continuing through April 3, 2022, and in certain cases for a period of 45 days continuing through April 13, 2022. Subject to shareholder approval, the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022, following customary regulatory approval. Upon completion of the acquisition by Altaris, Intricon will become a private company.
February 15, 2022
Intricon Expands Its Batam Operations
Intricon recently relocated and expanded its operations in Batam, Indonesia, where its teams conduct PCA assembly, including ultrasonic welding, soldering and visual inspection, for micromedical technology and components. More than 150 employees at Intricon Batam focus on Class I and II FDA manufacturing assembly work. According to Winson Chan, General Manager of Intricon Asia Operations, the workforce is highly skilled and very experienced: more than 80 percent of the team’s members have been with Intricon for three or more years.
Intricon has had a facility in Batam since 2011. The new production space is over 30,000 square feet and is ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 compliant. It features state-of-the-art equipment and a streamlined layout that optimizes workflow. Its design integrates Lean principles to enhance productivity and efficiency while reducing waste in production. The new space effectively manages the work environment for employees, with an energy efficient, highly responsive air conditioning system that regulates room temperature and humidity as well as a noise management system that isolates louder noises in order to take care of worker wellness and minimize disruptions.
Intricon attracts its skilled assembly team from the Batam adjacent area, which is one of the largest in the province and a core urban industrial zone. The new Intricon facility is located in a key free-trade zone that is part of the Indonesia-Singapore-Malaysia Growth Triangle, a global economic and transportation hub.
“Creating a thoughtful, modern environment for our employees to do their best work has always been key to the new facility,” said Winson. “We look forward to continuing to grow our presence in Batam and add more opportunities for fulfilling careers to more people in the community.”