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From Local to Global: The 3 Secrets Behind Irelands MedTech Success

Ireland is fast becoming the place to be for all things MedTech. How have they done it and what makes them one of the worlds leading MedTech hubs?

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


6 minute read

Ever stuck a plaster on an open wound or taken your temperature with a digital thermometer? Or perhaps you wear glasses or know someone that does?

If so, then you’ll be familiar with medical technology, or MedTech as it’s otherwise known.

With a market valuation of US$447.63 billion, the MedTech industry is booming. And, with nine of the top ten MedTech companies based in Ireland, it’s clear that Ireland is fast becoming the place to be for all things MedTech.

But, with a population of just 4.9 million people, how exactly did the tiny little ‘Emerald Isle’ become such a huge global force within the pioneering world of medical technology?

Let’s find out...

What is MedTech?

Medical technologies are products, services or solutions used to save and improve people’s lives.” – MedTech Europe

Medical Technology (MedTech) is the development of innovative products, services or solutions that can be used to save and improve people’s lives. And it’s all around us: from high-tech diagnostic tools, MRI scans and gene mutation tests, to plasters, pregnancy tests and latex gloves. In fact, there are over 500,000 medical technologies available in hospitals, community care settings and at home.

MedTech can be categorized into:

  • Medical Devices (MD): Products, services or solutions that prevent, diagnose, monitor and treat health issues.
  • In Vitro Diagnostics (IVDs): Non-invasive tests to establish the status of people’s health
  • Digital health and care: Products, tools or services that use information and communication technologies to improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and management of health problems

Why is MedTech such an important industry?

The medical technology industry continues to be one of Europe’s most diverse and innovative sectors…to save lives, improve health and contribute to sustainable healthcare.” - MedTech Europe

The development of MedTech is not only essential for helping people live longer and better lives, but it also improves the efficiency and sustainability of existing healthcare products, services and systems. The MedTech industry is a huge driver for economic growth, and it creates thousands of jobs.

Some recent MedTech innovations

Medical technology is characterised by a constant flow of innovations, which are the results of a high level of research and development within the industry.” – MedTech Europe

You only have to open a newspaper or browse the web to see the constant stream of innovative and ground-breaking MedTech products and services that are being researched and developed and then launched into market.

For example, the R&D grants team at Myriad Associates helped ONK Therapeutics secure vital R&D grant funding to develop novel anti-cancer therapies using Natural Killer (NK) cells and build a technology platform that can be tailored to multiple cancers. They also won crucial R&D grant funding for AuriGen Medical to transform the management of longstanding persistent atrial fibrillation.

In fact, the Myriad Associates grant team recently won over €30m in funding for 5 breakthrough medical projects. Exciting times are ahead!

But, let’s get to the point…

Ireland is recognized as a global hub for MedTech: Why is that?

Ireland has created a rich and vibrant MedTech ecosystem that plays a substantial role in the global industry.” – MedTech News

They’re recognised internationally as having one of the world’s most innovative, integrated and globalised MedTech industries. But why are the Irish seen as the powerhouse of the MedTech world?

Well, when you consider that:

It starts to make sense.

But how did they get there? With 350 MedTech companies and five massive research centres which employ over 38,000 people, how did Ireland go from a small group of 50 MedTech companies in the early 90s to one of the world’s leading MedTech hubs?

The rise of the Irish MedTech industry

Ireland offers fertile ground for innovative MedTech and life sciences start-ups…all the fundamentals are in place.” – Irish Advantage

Ireland can largely attribute their global success in the MedTech industry to these three things:

1. Collaboration with others

Ireland as a whole has a dynamic ecosystem where academia, industry, clinicians and government work together closely, enabling Ireland to flourish on the global stage.” - Sheila O’Loughlin, Senior Market Adviser for Enterprise Ireland

One of the key driving forces behind the success of Ireland’s globally recognised MedTech industry has been the active collaboration between companies and countries.

They’ve carefully cultivated a highly connected ecosystem, comprising of the world’s leading multinational MedTech companies. The establishment of the IDA Ireland, a government body designed to stimulate export-led business throughout the country, has meant that countries outside of Ireland find the prospect of collaborating with Ireland extremely worthwhile. And, they also place huge value on building up connections with clinicians and companies within the healthcare sector. This means companies get the chance to carry out pilots and clinical studies, and the health service gets access to new, ground-breaking MedTech products, services and devices.

2. Commitment to healthcare innovation

Irish MedTech companies are very much committed to innovation. This is not just a case of continuous improvement...The market is continually evolving and only companies that can supply the new products, technologies and services to meet the changing needs of medical practice will succeed.” - Tom Kelly, Divisional Manager for Life Sciences at Enterprise Ireland

This commitment to innovation is rooted at University level. Ireland boasts several world-renowned universities each with a strong focus on healthcare. These universities deliver huge advancements to the MedTech sector and provide highly skilled talent and innovative thinking.

Ireland’s commitment to investing over €5 billion into medical technology research and development shows a country dedicated to the sector.

3. Innovative funding & R&D Grant opportunities

Without the support from funding, innovative MedTech products, services and devices would struggle to take off. The Irish government recognizes this and, according to research, Government grants are responsible for 70% of Irish MedTech companies engaging in research and development activities.

We also have funding available from major Irish-controlled venture capital funds… As well as that, there is a comprehensive range of State supports in place to assist the industry.” - Tom Kelly, Divisional Manager for Life Sciences at Enterprise Ireland

One of the biggest state-backed grant initiatives is the €500 million Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF). The DTIF offers small to medium-sized businesses collaborate with research centres to develop new products and technologies.

How Myriad Associates can help with DTIF grant applications

Having raised over €74m of DTIF round-three funding for 11 different projects, Myriad Associates are the ones to call if you need help with your DTIF grant application.

Our expert grant team will work with you to understand the key objectives and various complexities surrounding your healthcare project. Their comprehensive knowledge of what it takes to submit a successful grant application, coupled with over three years of experience working with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to submit DTIF grant applications, means you’ll stand the best possible chance of securing the funding you need to get your pioneering project off the ground.

Get in touch with us here or call us on +353 1 566 2001 for information, help or advice.