Evaluating the investment projects of spinal medical device firms using the real option and DANP-mV based MCDM methods

Chi Yo Huang, Hong Ling Hsieh, Hueiling Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In an era of global aging, spinal and other joint degeneration issues have become a major problem for many elders. Bone-related operations have become the largest percentage of surgeries, accounting for 40% of the top 10 operations in the United States. Further, these spine-related operations are now ranked second among all bone-related operations. Due to this enormous and daily increasing market demand, more and more firms have started to pay closer attention to related medical devices and products. The global venture capitalists (VCs) have also started to follow the mega trend and will continue to invest heavily in this industry. Although most VCs recognize that investing in firms that produce innovative spinal products or devices is a must, very few practical managers or research scholars have defined the appropriate evaluation methods for these firms to use. The traditional net present value (NPV) method, which does not consider operation flexibility and changes in strategy, is far from the reality. The real option method can reveal the vagueness and flexibilities of the values being embedded in the investment projects at spinal medical device firms. However, the real option method is strictly quantitative. Usually, the evaluation aspects contain qualitative factors or local criteria which are hard to quantify in monetary terms. Thus, the adoption of multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) methods that can manipulate both quantitative and qualitative factors will be very helpful in evaluating and selecting investment cases like the spinal medical device firms, where both quantitative and qualitative factors should be considered. An analytical framework that consists of hybrid MCDM methods and the real option method will thus be very useful to evaluate the newly established firms producing spinal medical devices. Therefore, the authors propose a real option valuation as well as the Decision-Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) based analytic network process (DANP) and the modified VIšekriterijumsko KOmpromisno Rangiranje (VIKOR) method (DANP-mV) based MCDM framework for evaluating the investment projects offered by these firms of spinal medical devices. An empirical study based on three newly established spinal medical device companies specializing in vertebral compression fracture (VCF) surgical devices was used to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed analytical framework. Sensitivity analysis is performed to determine the influence of modeling parameters on ranking results of alternatives. This analytical framework can thus serve as a tool for VCs to use to determine the value of a potential candidate for investment. The proposed method can also serve as an effective and efficient tool for investment projects in other fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3335
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 1


  • Biotechnology
  • Multiple criteria decision making (MCDM)
  • Real option analysis
  • Spinal device
  • Venture capitalists (VCs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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