CEO Britt Meelby Jensen doesn’t consider competition from other single-use endoscope makers such a bad thing for a market leader like Ambu.
After all, Ambu’s first-mover advantage has enabled the Danish med-tech company to scale successfully, stay close to its customers and expand its reach into a variety of specialties, Jensen said in a recent DeviceTalks podcast, in which she covered a range of topics.
“It’s good for us to have more companies with single-use endoscopes that can help bring attention to the benefits for our customers,” she added. “It’s great to see that other companies are seeing the potential here.”
Boston Scientific Corp., Olympus and Karl Storz are among the companies that have followed Ambu into the single-use endoscope market.
Founded in 1937, Ambu is probably best known for its Ambu Bag resuscitator, the world’s first self-inflating ventilation bag. The company debuted its first single-use flexible bronchoscope in 2009 and continues to lead the single-use endoscopy market with a portfolio that now includes urology, ENT and GI. It also is firmly planted in the anesthesiology, training product and patient monitoring areas.
Jensen’s job at Ambu is her fourth CEO role in a healthcare career that has spanned more than 20 years.
“I found the healthcare industry interesting, because this is where you are able to make a very visible difference for people,” she said in the podcast.
Jensen served on Ambu’s board of directors for about 2 ½ years before taking the helm, during a time she described as both exciting because of the company’s fast-paced research and development but also challenging. Intrigued with the opportunity to lead at such a pivotal time, Jensen took over as CEO on May 20, 2022.
“I could use my learnings from many years in the healthcare industry and many years as a leader in a bigger organization to really set the agenda and also the way of working,” she said.
More than a year later, the company is in a stronger position and recently upgraded its full year 2022-2023 earnings expectations based on preliminary Q3 results.
There are an estimated 200 million endoscopy procedures annually around the world, and Ambu’s products focus on about half of those, Jensen said. Of that 100 million, about 2.5 million procedures are being done with a single-use scope, showing the vast room for growth, she noted.
Ambu last month received 510(k) regulatory clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for two smaller sizes of its fifth-generation bronchoscope and is now marketing its entire Broncho 5 portfolio to customers in the U.S. The company obtained its CE mark earlier this year and already has been marketing the new bronchoscopes, which include the first single-use ultrathin bronchoscope with a working channel, elsewhere in the world. These smaller sizes enable doctors in the intensive care unit, bronchoscopy suite and operating room to intubate difficult airways of smaller anatomies.
Central to Ambu’s success has been its ability to reinvent the way endoscopy is done, providing sterile endoscopes immediately, without the need to wait for reprocessing or repairs, which avoids the environmental toll of chemicals and large amounts of water required in reprocessing.
“One of the key parameters in our strategy is sustainability,” Jensen said.
In recent years, Ambu has invested significantly in sustainability initiatives, Jensen added, to ensure the best use of materials, packaging and transportation — in recognition of its responsibility as a single-use company. The company ranks high in several sustainability indices.
Click here for much more from the DeviceTalks episode.