Change is what the American public was promised (or some might say threatened with) during the 2008 presidential election and for better or worse, the healthcare industry worldwide has been served an extra large helping of that change over the past six years. While the medical device industry’s palate has reacted to most of that change the way a five-year-old reacts to Brussels sprouts, this year’s menu does appear to be more appetizing. In March, two competing companies filed IPO papers on the same day. TriVascular Technologies and Lombard Medical Technologies both sell devices to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms. TriVascular initially expected to raise up to $100 million in its IPO but instead the company raised $78 million in its debut on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Lombard priced its IPO of 5 million shares at $11 a share. One expert in the medical device space and a regular contributor to Medical Device Daily, Larry Haimovitch, called this recent up-tick of device IPOs “very encouraging” and said he expects the industry to see more companies filing IPOs this year. “Finally the IPO window has opened up,” Haimovitch said. To put it into perspective, last year 30 device startups were acquired by larger companies while only four went public, according to industry tracker VentureSource. One company that nixed its IPO plans last November, citing poor market conditions, has regained its appetite for the public market. CardioDx is revisiting its plans for an IPO. The diagnostic company previously intended to offer 5 million shares at a range of $14 to $16 a piece. The industry has also been treated to a number of flavorful mergers this year. In April, Zimmer and Biomet cooked up a rather spicy deal in orthopedics. Zimmer has agreed to pay $13.35 billion in cash and stock for Biomet. The combined company stands to gain a much larger slice of the orthopedic pie. Zimmer-Biomet has been the largest M&A entrée in the orthopedic sector this year, but certainly not the first. Smith & Nephew said in February it would buy ArthroCare for $1.7 billion and there could easily be more multi-billion dollar transactions in the orthopedic space this year. Paul Teitelbaum, managing director and medical device/healthcare IT M&A expert at Mesirow Financial’s Investment Banking Group, said it would not be a surprise if Zimmer continued to add a few more acquisitions to its plate. “This isn’t the beginning of hot M&A activity in medical devices but it’s certainly not the end of it,” Teitelbaum said in reference to the Zimmer-Biomet deal. Before the year is over, the healthcare industry will likely have to choke down more change that we’ll all want to turn our nose up at. But if these recent M&As and IPOs are any indication, the sweetest dish for med-tech is yet to come. Bring on the dessert!