By R.J. DeLuke
AngioDynamics, the medical device manufacturer with facilities in Glens Falls, has stood true to its promise to change—not to become bigger, but better, its CEO said in his remarks at EDC Warren County’s Economic Outlook breakfast in February at the Queensbury Hotel.
“We’re going to change because we have to,” said Jim Clemmer. “So that we have a future and not just a past.”
AngioDynamics has some 480 employees based in Warren County, including production sites, offices and a distribution center in Glens Falls and Queensbury. According to Clemmer, the company is undergoing a major transition because the delivery of health care services has changed.
He said the company needs to have the right products that the health care industry needs. To accomplish that, innovation has to proceed at a faster pace. AngioDynamics is investing millions of dollars into research and is also hiring talent that can bring about its goals, and retraining and training current staff.
“We are going to use science, not size, to deliver to our customers,” he said.
After spending two years selling its largest businesses and acquiring four others, AngioDynamics is determined to become a more innovative company focused on higher-margin products.
“We are not going to be the biggest or largest medical device company. We are not even the largest one in this region,” Clemmer said. “We want to be the best.”
The company has developed a treatment for stage 3 pancreatic cancer. Usually patients diagnosed with that cancer have a one-year life expectancy. With the NanoKnife, patients have lived for twice as long and some were cured, though that is rare, he said.
The company makes the NanoKnife at its Queensbury facility.
But getting through the FDA for officials approval for the device as a tool against cancer encountered problems. Finally, FDA allowed a study in which anyone who wanted to be treated with the NanoKnife could be treated, and their long-term health results would be compared to the life expectancy of those who do not get that treatment.
“They don’t usually bend on these things. To their credit, they did,” Clemmer said. It will take about two and a half years to get results, and the company is confident it will make a major difference in the health care field.
That’s the kind of product innovation driving the company, he said.
Also speaking at the event was Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State. She outlined issues they are addressing with the state Legislature to help small business across the state.
She said Warren County was “one of the really vibrant communities in Upstate New York, but in terms of job growth, Upstate New York is lagging behind much of the state and the U.S.
“New York State is outperforming most of the country, but that is entirely due to New York City,” she said. “The growth is uneven across the state. Basically, it’s the story of different economies across the state.”
Among her organization’s significant issues of concern in 2020 are the single-payer health care system on the state level.
“It’s highly expensive. It would be paid for by taxes and lose 60,000 jobs,” she said. The possibility of paying more in taxes is not the solution.
“It doesn’t make sense to do it at the state level. We think there’s a better way,” she said.
Regarding all the issues facing small businesses, she urged business leaders at the gathering to speak to state representatives about their problems.
“Get engaged. You guys are the best lobbyists in the world. You are much more convincing than I am,” she said.
On government in general, Briccetti said “we need moderates in office. Stop thinking about partisan; start thinking about what they’re saying.
“It’s going to be impossible to elect moderates if we have a knee-jerk reaction of, ‘Oh, they’re in the other party,’” she said. “We need to stop doing that … We’re all responsible for this division. Is there a middle path to get through some of the policy decisions?”
Overall, Briccetti said the Business Council “has a number of people working on every issue that affects business.”
By R.J. DeLuke