Define. Design. Develop.

Pyxera is a unique consulting and development corporation dedicated to creating innovative and valuable offerings for health care and the life sciences. Like Pyxera, our clients are dedicated to advancing human health. They span the entire industry: device, diagnostic, and pharmaceutical suppliers, health care providers, non-clinical services, and biotechnology.

Pyxera’s strength is defining great offerings by design, and translating the offerings into a viable strategy of execution. Our collaborative approach applies empathy, creativity, technical prowess, and deep experience to create strong definitions of WHAT to pursue, along with a solid understanding of WHY each option makes sense. We help organizations see what concepts to advance - and what to leave behind - supporting informed, confident decisions.

Pyxera exists to bring deep knowledge and human-centered design thinking to challenges in healthcare. Today, this also means creating new offerings that fit into the very complex and dynamic landscape of healthcare and human well-being. Pyxera [‘piks erə] captures this philosophy in its name, combining the Greek words pyxida (compass) and pera- (beyond).

The Principals

The principals of Pyxera have together five decades of experience developing products in health care and life sciences, and have collaborated on several hundred programs in design, product definition, development, and strategy. The principals work on projects directly, but they also maintain an active network of diverse, high-quality developers and partners.

Tad Simons

Tad Simons, PhD, co-founder of Pyxera and Managing Director, has designed healthcare products since 1982. Prior to co-founding Pyxera, Tad was co-leader in IDEO's global Health Practice for over 11 years, during which the global health effort grew over seven-fold, expanding work into all sectors of healthcare and life sciences (pharma, devices, diagnostics, biotechnology, consumer health, and hospital systems). Tad has deep and wide technical and business knowledge across health care and the life sciences, along with knowledge of the competitive business landscape and the regulatory process. With experience in program management and physiological measurements, he has worked as a technical designer and leader on many medical projects, including blood pressure systems, oxygen saturation, infusions systems, cardiology products, in vitro diagnostic measurements, and airway gas monitoring for anesthesia.

This work has resulted in nineteen US patents. Current work involves examining healthcare systems, helping companies build internal innovation capabilities, and supporting teams that bring together a wide range of human and technical disciplines. Prior to joining IDEO, Tad also applied his design, clinical, and business experience to research and strategic planning for healthcare and life sciences at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories. Tad has spoken at numerous health forums, and holds BS (with distinction) and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and an MS degree from the California Institute of Technology (Daniel & Florence Guggenheim Fellow).

Don Westwood

Don Westwood is a co-founder of Pyxera and Managing Director. Prior to founding Pyxera, Don was a senior leader at IDEO for 20 years, and was the co-director of IDEO’s global Health Practice (~25% of IDEO’s total business). Don has a keen knowledge of the realities of innovation and product development – from early conceptualization through implementation - and an exceptional record of leadership and mentorship of teams. An experienced designer and project manager, Don was responsible for design teams working in all domains of health (devices, pharma, diagnostics and services), and for providing design mentorship, portfolio leadership, and relationship management for major clients. Project work has included infusion systems, drug delivery systems, diabetes care, tools for cardiac care, and consumer electronics.

Don’s work has resulted in ten patents, ranging from disk drive servo-mechanisms to medical disposables. In the past, Don participated in two successful start-up ventures, Quantum Corporation and Plus Development Corporation, where he gained valuable experience in high-volume manufacturing. Don holds a BSME from the University of California at Davis.


Our Network

Beyond the founders, Pyxera is building an internal team of key employees, and maintaining a unique network of contracted designers and talent, who will act under the responsibility of Pyxera.


All of the individuals in the network have close connections to the leaders of Pyxera based on successful past collaborations. Because these team members share a common development process, and a strong human-centered approach to design, these Pyxera partners work exceptionally well together, unlike a random team of assembled experts from various disciplines. With the health care knowledge provided by the founders, this collaborative ability is a very important aspect of the Pyxera network. Each person in the network joins Pyxera by invitation from the founders, who select collaborators for their integrity, skill and demonstrated effectiveness.

This network provides significant advantages to clients.

  • Pyxera performs as if it were much larger in scale, extending our capacity and competency wisely, and with unique and specialized experts.
  • Hand-selected teams, organized specifically for the challenge at hand, provide key creative development skills, experienced program management, and an assurance of quality.
  • Teams respond flexibly and nimbly to new collaborations.
  • Pyxera partners have aligned their values and passions with our company missions of great patient care and accelerated life science research.

Why Pyxera?

With Pyxera’s deep experience, teams apply both wisdom and creativity to every project. We leverage proven people, keen business judgment, holistic design thinking, and implementation experience. We collaborate to create new offerings that serve the users and fit into their systems of care.


The tools of strategy, design, and development are abundantly available in the marketplace, often combined with different user-centered and market-centered approaches to research and discovery. In healthcare design, Pyxera believes it matters a great deal how one uses these tools. Pyxera’s founders use their wisdom to assess ideas with multiple lenses: through technology, through a business and clinical perspective, and importantly, through the heart and mind of human users.

New offerings today often result from combining many elements into an integrated experience of care – devices, medications, consumables, services, and regulatory requirements. Pyxera’s experience helps companies understand the relationships between these elements, and the impact of tradeoffs.

Even before applying teams to define new innovations and offerings, Pyxera leaders create the right strategy for success.


Framing the right challenge

Insightfully identifying the essential issues to solve by digging deeply with stakeholders, applying knowledge of science and technology, good practice and protocols, and the business landscape


Identifying the real risks

Carefully identifying the most important uncertainties by integrating lengthy experience with users, technologies, partnerships, business relationships, and the development process


Creating an inspired plan

Thoughtfully prioritizing risks and research needs, identifying the most fruitful opportunity areas, selecting the resources needed to accomplish the strategy, and proposing appropriate partnerships and experiments

How We Address Challenges

For our clients, Pyxera teams create, design, evaluate, and help launch new offerings. We can collaborate at different points in the development process.

  • Align the stakeholders
  • Articulate value in a system of care
  • Experiment to Learn

On the front end, Pyxera teams provide confidence and evidence for new ideas by:

  • Presenting a spectrum of creative opportunities (strategies, designs, approaches, etc.) that consider users, stakeholders, the business landscape, and technology.
  • Explaining the rationale for these choices in terms of impact on the business organization and the appropriate stakeholders (e.g., patients, clinicians, researchers, suppliers, etc.).
  • Capturing and preserving the design intentions for downstream production teams.

With a specific opportunity selected, Pyxera teams (as needed) work collaboratively by:

  • Embodying ideas in creative and tangible forms that will delight users (designs, databases, various prototypes, etc.), and leveraging both new and existing intellectual property.
  • Organizing the chain of production and shepherding ideas forward.
  • Remaining engaged in the development process to represent users and design intentions.

Pyxera consulting teams can help answer client
questions like these:

What (and where) is the opportunity?

How can we identify what is ‘next’ – not simply what is new or near?
What is the next offering that will grow our business and engage our customers?

What range of concepts will address this opportunity?

Which choices – of many - will serve users best? Why?
What is the impact of different trade-offs we could make?
What capabilities do we need to establish in order to pursue this opportunity?

How will we design the details of the best concept?

What are the detailed specifications of the concept?
What is the best way to engage users with the new value imbedded in the offering?
How will we capture the design process and details in our quality system?

How will we prepare this concept for production
and identify production partners?

What databases and details are needed for the manufacturing partners?
Which vendors and contract manufacturers will be the right partners?

How will we enable and support production?

What is needed to coordinate the production process in the vendor network?
What capabilities are needed to support efficient production and our quality system?

Pyxera offers design and strategic consulting services. Pyxera will NOT manufacture products, or become the manufacturer of record for products. However, Pyxera collaborates with teams and vendors to advance products to market through the quality systems of the manufacturers.

Typical Collaborations

Pyxera collaborates with clients in many ways.


Defining a strong offering

Choosing wisely among potential options and understanding the rationale behind tradeoffs, with an understanding of how the offering creates value and integrates into comprehensive patient care and outcomes.


Creating innovative, tangible products and services

Delivering designs that delight users and excite markets, with a viable strategy for production and support.


Shepherding products into production

Coordinating processes and manufacturing partners to produce high quality results.


Leading and coaching client teams

Leveraging decades of management experience as mentors and leaders, especially with product development programs and innovation teams.


Establishing strong in-house design and innovation services

Sharing Pyxera's experience in order to establish and improve internal capabilities.


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