Sheila O’Loughlin, a Senior Market Advisor at Enterprise Ireland, describes how Ireland has emerged as one of the world’s leading Medtech hubs.
Over the last twenty years, Ireland’s Medtech industry has seen major success, attracting the interest of international investors and start-ups alike. Home to a closely-knit cluster of Medtech companies, supported by industry, academic, clinical and government agencies, Ireland has a deep pool of experience and highly trained talent.
While maintaining leadership in manufacturing excellence, Ireland has quickly become the second largest exporter of medical technology in Europe. In fact, medical device exports approach a phenomenal $16bn US per year.
The global mindset of Irish companies has been a key driver of rapid growth to date. Recognized internationally as one of the world’s top five emerging Medtech hubs, Ireland’s ecosystem of innovative companies presents various areas of expertise, ranging from orthopedics, cardiovascular and diagnostics, to Medtech services, contract research and manufacturing.
Current drivers of the sector include an aptitude for innovation, a supportive environment for R&D, world-class talent and product development expertise. 13 of the top 15 global Medtech companies are headquartered in Ireland, including Boston Scientific, Medtronic and Stryker. Indigenous leaders have emerged, including Aerogen, Vitalograph and IMS Maxims.
At the same time, global leaders are increasingly turning to Ireland for a number of reasons. One of the top advantages of collaboration with Irish companies is their partnership approach, reliability and strong B2B capability. Irish companies are also highly focused on using innovation to help customers to achieve their goals.
And given Ireland’s success in technology, supporting the likes of Google, Microsoft and Facebook, paired with its medical devices expertise, Ireland’s digital health expertise is growing rapidly.
In the face of emerging trends such as increasing regulation, technological advancements and rising health costs, developing conditions where innovation and entrepreneurship can thrive is crucial.
Some initiatives to encourage collaboration are already in place, for example BioInnovate, which enables participants to spend time with clinical teams to identify needs and develop solutions, driving high growth start-ups. Similarly, through a collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, Enterprise Ireland aims to create 10 spin-out companies in Ireland based on up to 20 successful US medical technologies.