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Medtech industry in Ireland: Bolstering UK-Irish Medtech collaboration

As the second largest exporter of Medtech in Europe, Ireland is uniquely positioned to support the UK Medtech industry through innovative solutions and through the flexibility and adaptability of its workforce.


Irish life science exports to the UK exceeded over €200m in 2016 in response to growing demand for cutting-edge medical technology and this phenomenal growth looks set to continue as Irish companies catch the new wave of innovation and exploration.

To put Ireland’s success into context, the European medical technology market is worth roughly €100 billion and accounts for 31% of the world market. As the second largest exporter of Medtech products in Europe[1] and the number one destination of choice for Medtech investment in Europe (Souce IDA), Ireland is undoubtedly a major contributor.

With the sector growing from a total of 50 to over 300 major Irish Medtech players over the past 25 years and 13 out of the top 15 Medtech players now with a base in the country, Ireland is uniquely positioned to become a leader in both connected health and drug delivery systems.

Innovation Agenda

Strong collaboration between industry, academia and clinicians and continued investment by Enterprise Ireland in developing entrepreneurship and supporting innovation, has led to a vibrant indigenous sector that is achieving success internationally. Companies across the Medtech spectrum, from digital health and medical devices to diagnostics and Medtech services, are working closely with UK customers who value the level of innovation they bring.

Ireland is a global leader in digital health, with half of Medtech companies having connected health products, solutions and services as part of their offering. Companies such as SilverCloud, IMS Maxims and SwiftQueue are key suppliers to the NHS and UK private health sector.

With a strong reputation, both in terms of reliability – and a partnership approach – the client companies we support work with UK clients to tailor-make solutions to suit their needs.

Acorn Regulatory grows UK business by 105%

One such Irish example is Acorn Regulatory, an ISO-certified medical device and pharmaceutical consulting firm, specialising in assisting companies with global regulatory approvals. Mainly focusing on pharmaceutical, medical devices and pharmacovigilance, Acorn Regulatory has over 15 years’ experience and is now considered one of the largest pharmaceutical and Medtech regulatory firms in Europe. There has been a recent growth in UK/Irish industry collaboration and Acorn Regulatory has seen increased UK companies requiring additional support and guidance since Brexit on how to navigate the uncertainty that the referendum result has brought about.

The UK side of the business has since grown rapidly, with the UK now the fastest growing market for Acorn Regulatory – growing over 105% in the last 12 months.  Enterprise Ireland is supporting with these UK collaborations and Acorn Regulatory now has over 25 UK projects live and is currently working with a number of medium and large UK based pharma and Medtech companies.  Acorn Regulatory’s projects in the UK include working on a series of clinical trials with an emerging Medtech firm based in the south west as well as acting as the outsourced regulatory and pharmacovigilance department for a UK pharmaceutical manufacturer.

With 16 full-time employees and plans to almost double in headcount in the next 24 months , Acorn Regulatory is now active in over 76 markets and is looking to ensure its strong Irish heritage and presence is replicated in the UK.  As a result it has also opened a new office in Chiswick, London to aid with its UK expansion plan.

The advantage of working with Irish medtech partners

As a small country, Ireland has been able to bring together a combination of highly innovative indigenous companies, large FDI multinationals, a continually developing world-class research base and strong links with the clinical community.

This cohesiveness stands out as a key competitive advantage and we are determined to uphold collaboration between the UK and Ireland moving forward.

The future of medtech is extremely exciting, and we are confident UK-Irish collaboration will deepen even further as we enter a new era in human health, innovation and development.


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