The Irish medtech Association hosted their annual Medtech Rising meeting in Galway over two days. Along with an awards ceremony to honour some of our best and brightest, international speakers addressed the audience bringing perspectives from the USA and EU.
Here's what we learned:
1) Ireland's medical devices cluster and employment is the 2nd largest in Europe, per capita.
2) Ireland hosts 14 of the top 15 medical device companies and along with our indigenous sector, some 800 companies make up the wider medical device and digital health cluster. Of special importance are the number of OEM's (original equipment manufacturers), who design and manufacture for major medtech.
3) Almost 40,000 people are employed directly and indirectly. Medtech exports have grown annually, even during our recent recession and reached €12.6Bn in 2018.
4) Increasingly, Irish medtech operations are embracing R&D as well as advanced manufacturing and design in their efforts.
5) Newly advancing medical device regulations will seriously stress smaller medtech in Europe and Ireland. As the FDA and USA becomes more accommodating to medtech development, the relative advantages EU has enjoyed in starting and scaling medical device companies are being lost.
We have a rich ecosystem of design, development and a nascent medtech start-up community which has been successively and successively building new medtech companies capable of scaling into global markets.
Impending regulation, digital health models, machine learning, advanced manufacture, artificial intelligence and price sensitivity of government to rising healthcare costs are significant challenges, as they have always been.
However, the connectedness and concentration of capability in medtech in Ireland is astonishing and we feel good about the opportunities we can exploit, once we work collaboratively, with government, academia, industry, healthcare and regulators to sustain and advance our Irish advantage.