Irish businesses are respected across many research and development areas, particularly in the medical technology and pharmaceutical industries. With 38,000 employees in the sector – including 6,500 in home-grown companies – Ireland has become a key international player, at the cutting edge of research and development.
In 2015, Irish companies specialising in Medtech invested 205 million euros in R&D. This major commitment allowed them to play a key role in the field and has driven many success stories. For example, in the same year, they exported €12.5 billion worth of medical products to more than 100 countries. 80% of stents used worldwide are made in Ireland and over 30 million people are treated using syringes made in there.
As pioneers in medical technology innovations, Irish companies have become key partners for French players. The potential value of these partnerships can be seen in the collaboration between Irish company Aerogen and Medtech giant Medtronic. When this multinational leader in medical technology launched its 840 ventilator system in 1998, it aimed to change the capacities of nebulisers.
“We explored our options and decided to join forces with another company to create something new,” explains Dave Hyde, Principal Clinical Affairs Specialist at Medtronic in California.
Medtronic chose Aerogen as their partner for this important project. Their teams optimised the EasyNib solution Aerogen had developed to make it compatible with the 840 ventilator system. While most of the project was delivered remotely, the Aerogen teams worked closely with Medtronic, visiting their company offices.
Aerogen’s patented technology turns liquid medications into a mist of fine particles that gently but effectively administers medication to the lungs of seriously ill patients. Using Aerogen products has been shown to reduce the amount of time patients spend on a ventilator, helping them to recover more quickly.
Their enduring collaboration with Aerogen has helped Medtronic to retain a strong competitive edge in the ventilator market.
“We take the time to evaluate past projects and anticipate future ones in order to understand how we can continue to improve,” explains Dave Hyde.
“This idea of taking a step back applies to all aspects of the product – improving human factors in the design of the unit, and also how it can be powered and connected to the ventilator. We are now looking to integrate Aerogen technology into our 980 ventilator system.
What makes the relationship with Aerogen so special is the company’s willingness to work in such close cooperation. Its team has always showed a lot of enthusiasm for implementing product improvements and finding new possibilities.”
For John Power, CEO and founder of Aerogen, close collaboration with customers is vital. “We have to be able to go into a company and work with its teams in order to provide a service that meets their expectations as closely as possible. That’s why we have experts on all of our markets working hand in hand with our customers, and a number of these experts are based in France.”
To date, almost five million patients in intensive care have been treated using Aerogen products in 75 countries worldwide.
“In the world of IT, when you think of a high quality product, straightaway you think of the Intel chip. We are the Intel chip of the aerosol drug delivery segment – the brand that people look for,” says John Power.
In the quickly changing medical technology and pharmaceutical industries, international buyers often partner with Irish suppliers because of this ability to apply their expertise across complete product development cycles.
Irish company Dunreidy Engineering Ltd, world leader in conduit systems for electrical cables in protected environments, is another example of the extremely high quality of services delivered to major pharmaceutical groups. The innovative and modular Hycon stainless steel containment system that Dunreidy design, patent and manufacture makes them attractive partners for groups like TEVA for environments in which hygiene and the absence of contamination are crucial. These products are recognised, both in France and around the world, as the most appropriate and effective solution for the installation of electrical cables in clean rooms.
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