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A conversation with Amit Kukreja of Second Sight

ValueConnected

We sat down with Amit Kukreja, Director of Market Access, Reimbursement & Health-Economics – EMEA at Second Sight to discuss how his company overcame the challenges faced when addressing new markets to identify relevant funding mechanisms as well as his experience in working with ValueConnected.


Could you please give us a short overview of your company?

Second Sight's mission is to develop, manufacture, and market innovative implantable visual prosthetics to enable blind individuals to achieve greater independence. Second Sight has developed and manufactured the Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System, which received CE mark in 2011 and FDA approval in 2013.

The Argus II System provides electrical stimulation that bypasses defunct retinal cells and stimulates the remaining viable cells, inducing visual perception in individuals with severe retinitis pigmentosa. The Argus II works by converting images, which are captured by a miniature video camera mounted on the patient's glasses, into a series of small electrical pulses, which are then transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes implanted on the surface of the retina. These pulses are intended to stimulate the retina's remaining cells, resulting in the perception of patterns of light in the brain. The patient then learns to interpret these visual patterns, thereby regaining some visual function. The Argus II is the first artificial retina to receive widespread approval, and is offered at approved centers in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


What is your background and what are your responsibilities at Second Sight?

I am a market access, reimbursement, and health economics professional specializing in innovative medical devices. I have about 10 years of global work experience. I am currently the EMEA director of market access (reimbursement & HEOR) at Second Sight responsible for planning and executing reimbursement & market access activities for current and new markets. I also hold a voluntary position as the market access program head for the RAPS Swiss chapter. In my previous roles, I have worked as a consultant for several large and small global medtech companies based out of the US and Europe. My core interest lies in accelerating the market access and uptake of new and innovative medical technologies across global territories. I have an MBA from WHU Business School (Germany) with international modules from the Kellogg School of Management (US), CEIBS (China), and IIM-Bangalore (India), as well as a BS in mechanical engineering (India).


What challenge were you facing when you contacted us?

I wanted to investigate local market access environments, reimbursement landscapes, and payer overviews in some of the northern European markets and identify the most relevant funding mechanisms available for highly specialized breakthrough treatments.


What were the reasons for choosing our company? How was your overall experience working with ValueConnected?

We knew of ValueConnected and had heard excellent reviews about its services from others. After our initial meeting, we felt very confident in their proposal, and by the time the project was completed, we were satisfied with their exceptional quality of service.


How much did ValueConnected help you with your original challenge?

During the early phases of market assessment, there are a lot of unknowns, and many companies tend to broaden their focus on key objectives, which runs the risk of evading important questions. ValueConnected was extremely thorough and methodically narrowed down and pinpointed salient issues that helped us generate key insights into making relevant decisions for the market.


If someone called and asked why they should do business with ValueConnected, what would you tell them?

Ernesto and his team at ValueConnected are trustworthy, provide first-rate services, and think outside of the box, which are all necessary skills to have when dealing with several markets and deadlines on a day-to-day basis. Without ValueConnected’s unique market insights and hands-on approach, it would have taken us much longer to understand the nuances of our target markets and make advantageous business decisions.


Lastly, what do you envision are the next steps after working with ValueConnected?

We would certainly consider working with ValueConnected in the future when we plan to further execute the in-depth market access and reimbursement strategies in selected markets and expand to new regions.


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