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How Novel Technology Becomes a Commercial Product

How Novel Technology Becomes a Commercial Product

Nectar and ALine share industry lessons and tips on their journey in developing life-changing medical devices and products from ideation to commercial release.

Creating a product within the life science or diagnostic markets is a powerful aspiration for many organizations. After all, this segment of the market is constantly looking for innovation. However, taking a novel technology from the lab and turning it into a viable product that you can make available on the market isn’t easy. From communicating the vision, addressing the technological hurdles, and even building out the best user interface — there are many key components at stake!

From the Lab to the Marketplace

As you’ve likely already experienced, there is a huge difference between doing research and creating a product. When you do research, you’re discovering new things, and likely pursuing the publication of scientific results. Creating a product, on the other hand, is about turning those results into a low risk, reliable, easy to manufacture product.

That’s a tall order!

Moving from a focus on lab-related processes to a focus on commercial production is a major shift. However, the implications of the change you can effect in this world by doing so are also high; the potential impact makes the risk compelling.

You may have questions like:

  • What does it actually take to make a product?
  • How do I affordably source and create a product that will actually work outside the lab?
  • Who is your customer? Are you developing the right product?
  • Will the product be required to meet regulatory standards?
  • How do I create a product my customers will enjoy using?
  • What do I not know now that’s going to create issues for me once I get started?

In addition, you need to consider how your novel technology will be differentiated from what is currently available in the marketplace, and consider what future generations of your product will be once you gain traction. Another major factor to consider is whether the product is going to require regulatory approval. Design requirements, user requirements, and potential failure modes and risks must all be engineered out of the product as you move towards the development, production, and eventual marketing of your product..

Sourcing, manufacturing, developing, producing, and certifying novel products from a concept is extremely difficult on your own. It is a multi-disciplinary effort that would require assembling a large number of different experts.That’s why powerful partnerships with industry experts are such an asset in the move from research to commercialization. This is an opportunity to think about how to translate science into engineered products that meet your business objectives.

Risk Control & Roadmaps Lead to Viable Products

You’ve been in the lab. You’ve done the work. You understand why your product is capable of changing lives and making a difference.

Now, you’re ready to turn your vision into a reality.

One of the most thrilling elements of developing a novel product is the sensation of seeing it move from living within a research environment, to being a commercially viable product that is able to perform as intended.

Knowing that you’ve enabled someone at home, or in the real world, to be able to actually use and implement your novel technology is empowering and motivating — which is why we often have repeat clients who continue to develop new, commercial products! If you’ve never taken a product from a lab setting to the real world, you’re going to be amazed at what it means to know that your work is now capable of making a global, tangible difference.

One major area of concern that many of our clients worry about is the ability of their product to stand up to normal, human use. Within a lab environment, there are natural protocols and ways of testing and measuring that allow for a controlled outcome. Within the real world, however, people will try to use your product in ways you never considered, and in locations and conditions that don’t reflect a lab environment.

As a researcher, you’ve worked hard to figure out how this product will work. Now that you’re ready to productize it, however, you have to think from a non-technical perspective and consider every possible way that it will not work as intended. Then, a good design team will help you proactively design out all the issues that would create problems in the marketplace, while keeping and enhancing all the elements that are delivering on the end goal.

Eliminating technical risks that lead to failures or incorrect or inaccurate results is at the heart of the regulatory function in product development. Making sure your product meets or exceeds regulatory requirements, even if you don’t need regulatory compliance, is one way to ensure long-term success of your product in the marketplace. A key part of the planning for a product development effort is to create a risk-control table. This provides a framework for creating a detailed development roadmap that will systematically eliminate risks and build quality into the product.

Using this roadmap, you’ll understand what needs to be tested, what needs to be verified, and what needs to be eliminated to create the best possible product, which is what allows you to move into the marketplace with the utmost confidence in what you’re offering.

Producing something that is user-friendly is often harder than imagined, and more rewarding than expected.

If you’re currently holding a vision for what could be, while also feeling overwhelmed about how to get there, we’d love to share some of our best tips from turning your novel technology into a commercial product.

Read on for some of the most valuable tips from Nectar and ALine in creating a product for the Life Science or Diagnostic markets.

1 – Get people excited about your vision.

Before sharing with your investors what your product does, and how you envision it being made, you need to be able to explain the ‘why’ behind your product.

  • What has compelled you to embark on this journey to create this product?
  • Why are you willing to sacrifice your own time and energy for this product?

To help tell the story of your vision, we recommend having a design or prototype mockup that will engage potential investors and enable them to ‘see’ your vision. This could involve some early discovery of the human factors for the product that could set you apart from otherwise equivalent products.

2 – Keep regulatory compliance in mind from day one.

Regulatory requirements are ultimately about demonstrating that your product does what you said it will do, and doesn’t harm anyone inadvertently. We have to identify not just user requirements, but also the human factors that describe how someone will interface with the product.

We need to eliminate un-intended use while making the product attractive so that people want to use it. In addition, the product must perform technically by meeting required performance goals so that it provides meaningful and reliable results.

3 – Work with a development team that can guide you from your concept, to a design, through to manufacturing.

This is the power of collaboration. IVD and Life Science products are complex, and require interdisciplinary teams and trusted partners who are seasoned experts in product development. There is no reason to solve problems that experienced experts have already solved. As a scientist, founder or a product engineer, your goal is to only have to solve any new problems that are associated with your specific product.

4 – Build a roadmap for the product and its commercialization.

Experienced developers guide you in creating the roadmap for successful commercialization.

An experienced development partner will ensure the required design inputs and outputs are created, risk associated with them identified, and the process of eliminating those risks demonstrated in a structured, milestone driven approach.

Key milestones also must mesh with key business deliverables on cost and timelines to achieve market viability.

5 – Have programmatic milestones address key technical hurdles.

Make sure the milestones forward your vision and keep investors engaged. Every step of the way has to be thoughtfully laid out in a plan.

Thoughtful planning is often neglected in product development and can lead to costly delays and re-work that could lead to disengagement by the team, your champions or your investors. Milestones are significant achievements, or way points in climbing the mountain to product success. Planning is like creating your training plan to achieve successive fitness goals that will allow you to climb a challenging mountain and not become a casualty to poor preparation. Brainstorm all the ways things could not go as you expect, and have contingencies to solve for the unexpected.

6 – Consider the user interface (UI) and the user experience (UX): Your customer wants to feel good and have confidence when using your product.

Create a product that engages the user to feel good about having seemingly easy access to the complex science embedded in your product. This is one of the most important elements in product development, as UI/UX determines if people will buy your product over another product that provides nearly equivalent results.

You don’t want a product that your customers differentiate from the competition based only on cost. You can achieve that with a powerful, easy-to-use user interface.

Impact Awaits: The Marketplace Needs Your Product

Moving from the lab to the marketplace is both stressful and exciting. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when entering into a sector you’re unfamiliar with, but the rewards of turning your research into a tangible product that creates a positive impact in the world is well worth your effort.

ALine and Nectar believe that the marketplace needs more Life Science or Diagnostic products to emerge from the research lab and become viable products capable of impacting lives, and improving health, ushering in a better future. That’s why we’re committed to working with scientists and researchers to bring powerful, innovative concepts to the marketplace.

We would love nothing more than to be part of taking your innovative technology and turning it into user-centered products that make our world better. If you’re ready to see your technology usefully applied by real people outside the lab, then we’re ready to work with you.

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Nectar is an award-winning design & engineering consultancy with a specialization in medical device development. We are proudly 13485 certified, we adhere to the highest industry standards. Nectar has been an industry leader in Southern California for over 25 years. Our proven user-centered design process has facilitated the successful launch of hundreds of products in the market.
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We are an ISO 13485-certified design and engineering firm based in Southern California, specializing in the development of cutting-edge medical devices.

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Darren Saravis


Darren is an accomplished, dynamic leader who founded Nectar, X-Naut, and BreathDirect. He is committed to improving the world through the synthesis of technology, science, and art. Under Darren’s leadership, Nectar is leveraging the latest advances in cutting-edge technology to transform medical device development and design. As part of his

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Steven Wells Ph.D.

Director of Operations

Dr. Steve Wells holds a critical role in steering Nectar’s operations and defining its strategic direction. His impactful leadership has established a clear course for the company’s success. He has revitalized the company with a passion for maximizing impact through expert resource utilization since taking the helm in 2020. Steve has boosted Nectar’s portfolio, streamlined processes, and reinvigorated its innovation agenda, all with the goal of developing life-saving and impactful products. His background in senior leadership roles at Georg Fischer and his people-focused, results-driven leadership style make him an invaluable asset to our team. Steve’s extensive knowledge in chemistry, biocompatibility, and biology only adds to his value as a team member.

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Nellie Roque

Director of Finance and Accounting

Nellie Roque is a seasoned professional with over 17 years of experience in the fields of accounting, human resources, and payroll. She has a wide range of experience, having worked in industries such as manufacturing, software, and non-profit organizations. Nellie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Accounting, demonstrating her strong foundation in financial management and human resource practices. Throughout her career, Nellie has gained extensive knowledge and expertise in these areas, making her a valuable asset to any organization.
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John Duval

Principal Engineer

John is a true asset to Nectar, having been a founding member and instrumental in shaping the company’s portfolio and establishing its reputation for engineering excellence. With over 30 patents and numerous design awards to his name, John is a master of product architecture and subsystem integration, as well as design for manufacture, mechanisms, and root cause analysis. His passion for creating simple and holistic solutions that take into account a wide range of variables is evident in his work and has made him a valuable member of the Nectar team.
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Aaron Gifford

Principal Engineer

With a wealth of experience as a medical device developer, Aaron is a valuable addition to the Nectar team. His expertise in transferring medical devices and IVD instruments to production is unmatched, and his 25 years of professional engineering experience speaks to his expertise. At Nectar, Aaron plays a crucial role in ensuring regulatory compliance throughout product development and manages projects with skill and precision. His recent leadership in the development of the critical care Covid EUA BDR-19™ ventilator is a testament to his abilities, and his 13 patents in the medical device space further highlight his contributions to the field.
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Larry Larson

Director of Hardware and Firmware Engineering 

Larry Larson is a highly experienced engineering professional who has served as Nectar’s Director of Engineering for several years. He has extensive experience in leading, overseeing, and managing the design and development of innovative products, and has been involved in 70 unique product design cycles to date. With a deep understanding of highly regulated industries such as medical and aerospace devices, Larry has been instrumental in bringing cutting-edge technologies to market and delivering solutions that meet the needs of his clients. He has a passion for engineering and is dedicated to advancing the field by delivering products that are safe, effective, and of the highest quality.
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Adam Marten

Senior Mechanical Engineer

Adam Marten has worked in the aerospace and consumer products industries since 2006 with lead engineering experience in conceptual design, product development, analysis and performance qualification testing. Adam has experience leading a range of technical projects, including multiple structural analyses for military and aerospace applications. He has also worked directly with engineering teams to develop medical devices and laboratory instrumentation.

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James Wilkin

Industrial Design Manager

James is a seasoned professional with over seven years of experience at Nectar, where he brings his expertise in industrial design, user interface, and user experience to the table. With a background in the highly competitive automotive industry, working for heavyweights like Daimler and Tesla, James is a true asset to the Nectar team. He is responsible for ensuring that the company adheres to user-centered design best practices, and he works closely with clients and partners on crucial human factors strategies for FDA submissions and the overall usability engineering process. James’ achievements in this field speak to his exceptional skills and dedication to the work he does.
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Rejsa Kuci

Business Development Coordinator

Rejsa is a dynamic force in driving sales and acquiring new projects at Nectar, where she excels in seamlessly aligning the Sales and Operations teams. Holding a prestigious double degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Management and Multimedia, Rejsa brings a wealth of experience to her role as a Project Manager, Digital Marketing Strategist, and Creative Lead. With over four years of expertise in the digital world, Rejsa is not only highly skilled but also enthusiastic about following the ISO 13485 path to ensure successful project completion. Her ability to effectively bridge the gap between Sales and Operations, combined with her passion for driving projects forward, makes her an invaluable asset to the Nectar team.
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Belen Quintero

Associate Project Manager

Belen is a project manager at Nectar who brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role. With a strong background in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of California, Riverside, she has honed her skills in a variety of industries including healthcare ,education, food manufacturing, and engineering. Belen’ success as a project manager is due in large part to her ability to align projects with business goals, clearly define project needs, lead cross-functional teams, and effectively communicate results to stakeholders. With her proven track record of success, Belen is a valuable asset to the Nectar team and a key player in driving the company’s projects forward.
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Erjon Ameti

Mechatronics Engineer

Erjon Ameti is a highly knowledgeable Mechatronics Engineer with a wealth of experience in both academic settings and startup environments. With a strong background in electronics, robotics, and 3D modeling, he possesses a unique combination of skills that allow him to excel in the fields of automation systems and mechatronics. Over the past five years, Erjon has honed his expertise in product development and industrial automation, emerging as a leading authority in his field. Currently, Erjon works at Nectar as a hardware engineer, where he is responsible for documentation, CAD design, and electronics in general. He has been involved in the entire process of Nectar engineering, bringing his expertise and experience to the forefront of the company’s success.
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Redon Berisha

Electronics Engineer

Redon is a highly skilled engineer with a passion for technology and innovation. He has a background in mechatronics, which has given him a strong foundation in electronics, including electronic design, PCB design, and cable design. Redon excels in the critical components of the design process, including documentation for assemblies, testing, debugging, and ensuring each project is completed to the highest standard. At Nectar, he plays a crucial role in the creation of cutting-edge technology, bringing his unique vision to life and making him a valuable member of the team. With his technical expertise and creative vision, Redon is a leader in the field of electronic design.
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Kerry Eiss

Clinical Expert - RN, BSN, CLNC

With over two decades of experience in healthcare innovation, Kerry has been instrumental in transforming patient care and improving patient outcomes across the globe. Her extensive knowledge and expertise in the cardiovascular and cardiothoracic operating room, as well as her experience in emergency medicine, geriatrics, pediatric psychiatry, and main OR, make her a versatile and valuable member of the team. From small hospitals to large teaching institutions, Kerry’s 20 years of experience with patient documentation, including the use of EPIC, Cerner, and Meditech electronic charting systems, have positioned her as a leader in her field. Her recent involvement in helping transition the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center’s Cardiac Surgery program from paper charting to electronic documentation further underscores her commitment to advancing the healthcare industry.

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Flaka Brahimi

Marketing Manager

Flaka, a highly skilled professional with a background in Architecture and Spatial Planning from the University of Business and Technology in Pristina, holds a dual role at Nectar as both the Marketing Project Manager and a valuable member of the Business Development team. In her role as Marketing Project Manager, she is responsible for overseeing the development and execution of marketing strategies and as a member of the Business Development team, she actively contributes to the growth of the company by assisting in the creation of impactful marketing tactics. With her diverse background and expertise, Flaka plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of Nectar’s projects.
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Brayton Hammerli

User Experience Designer

Brayton is a multi-disciplinary designer with a A.A in Studio Arts and a B.S in Industrial Design from California State University Long Beach. As a user experience designer, Brayton specializes in usability evaluations, user research, feedback studies, GUI design, mobile app design, human factors evaluations, and formative studies. In his free time, Brayton enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking as well as other creative pursuits. He approaches problems with a solution-focused mindset and enjoys exploring ideas. 
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Stephanie Rodriguez

Accounting Coordinator

Stephanie Rodriguez is a highly experienced administrative professional with over 10 years of expertise across a diverse range of industries, including contract manufacturing, financial and wealth management, and the medical field. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities from Northern Arizona University. As a valued member of the Nectar team, Stephanie plays an integral role in supporting the engineering teams by acquiring materials and parts for the prototype phase of our clients’ projects. She also assists the Director of Accounting by issuing purchase orders and provides project managers with accurate data to effectively manage and track budgets for each stage of the statement of work. Stephanie’s knowledge and skills, combined with her dedication and drive, make her an asset to Nectar and a key player in ensuring the successful completion of our projects.
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Toska Ukaj

Scientific Content Writer

Toska Ukaj is a gifted writer who brings a wealth of expertise and passion to Nectar. With a background in medical science and years of experience producing high-quality scientific and medical publications, Toska’s writing skills are unparalleled. She boasts an excellent educational record, advanced interpersonal skills, and a deep passion for healthcare. As Nectar’s writer, Toska consistently produces clear, concise pieces that can be easily understood by the public and truly captures the essence of Nectar’s mission. With her exceptional writing abilities and commitment to healthcare, Toska is an invaluable asset to the Nectar team.
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Sean Wells

Mechanical R&D Technician

Sean plays a critical role at Nectar. He has a wide range of skills that help keep the company and equipment running. His background in machine and building maintenance means he has skilled hands ready for anything. Sean runs our lab equipment including 3D printers and a laser cutter. He also helps with complex project builds, assemblies, and testing.
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Jonathan Cantera

Quality Manager

Jonathan at his core is a Human Factors Engineer with his M.S. in Human Factors and Minor in Sociology from California State University of Long Beach. At Nectar, Jonathan is responsible for managing and maintaining the company’s ISO 13485 Quality Management System keeping in compliance with US and international regulations for product development. Jonathan’s role ensures each department is in compliance every step of the design process, making him a critical Nectar team member. Jonathan’s Human Factors background also allows him to aid in user research, feedback sessions, usability evaluations, and formative studies such as risks assessments. When he’s not in the office, Jonathan enjoys film photography, and reading.
Vessa Hyseni Purchasing Manager

Vesa Hyseni

Purchasing Manager

Vesa is a skilled Purchasing Manager with a strong focus on procurement strategies and vendor management. With a track record of successfully leading procurement teams, Vesa excels in optimizing procurement processes, consistently striking a balance between quality assurance and cost-effectiveness. Her ability to identify cost-saving opportunities and manage supplier relationships effectively makes her an indispensable asset to Nectar.
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Uran Çabra

Software Engineer

Uran Çabra, with a background in Mechatronic Systems Engineering, has been working on Embedded Systems, specifically on IoT product development. His responsibilities include firmware development and electronics design and testing. He holds a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a focus on Autonomous Mobile Robotics.
Sarah Clark UX UI Designer

Sarah Clark

Industrial Designer

Sarah has a background in fine art & graphic design with a B.S in Industrial Design from California State University Long Beach. As a user experience designer her specialties include: keen aesthetics, creative problem solving, a detail oriented approach to research, and improving user journeys within complex experiences.