North American healthcare leaders look to Ireland to co-develop future healthcare solutions.

Enterprise Ireland hosted 15 leading and world-renowned healthcare providers from the USA and Canada at the inaugural North America Healthcare Forum this week in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, at which industry leaders met with over 100 Irish companies working across the healthcare solutions sector. The forum further positioned Ireland as a world-class source of innovative healthcare solutions.

At the forum, Kite Medical, Meditec Medical and RelateCare – three healthcare companies supported by Enterprise Ireland, the national export agency – announced major deals with Northwell Health (New York) and Lahey Hospital Medical Center (Massachusetts), with a cumulative value of over $580,000.

North American executives representing influential healthcare groups including Cleveland Clinic, Northwell Health, Adventist Health System Florida, Partners Healthcare and Lahey Hospital & Medical Centre, shared their insights on the key issues and critical success factors in the region. Irish healthcare companies used one-to-one access to clinicians and key decision makers in major health networks to gather valuable insights on the products and services that will be required in the North American market in the future.

Enterprise Ireland has over 200 exporting client companies within its life sciences cluster, with combined exports of over €1.7 billion.

Speaking at the forum, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD said: “The North America Healthcare Forum further confirms Ireland’s status as a global leader in healthcare. Ongoing collaboration and engagement with some of the world’s foremost healthcare providers gives Irish companies the opportunity to contribute to the health of patient populations around the world. The Government, through Enterprise Ireland, will continue to grow this collaboration for the benefit of all parties.”

Northwell Health and Enterprise Ireland partnership

Keynote speaker at the event Michael Dowling, President and CEO of Northwell Health, described the strategic partnership with Enterprise Ireland that supports Irish healthcare companies to develop and commercialise new medical technologies, secure joint ventures, and provide platforms that integrate with US healthcare companies.

Northwell Health is one of the leading healthcare providers on the east coast of the US, comprising 21 hospitals, 61,000 employees and nearly 14,000 affiliated physicians, providing healthcare to over 4 million people.

Dowling said, “Through our partnership with Enterprise Ireland, we have been able to pursue relationships with innovative Irish companies such as Salaso, Technopath, and i360, and we’re now exploring a relationship with Kite Medical and Meditec Medical.”

What makes these collaborations especially fruitful is that we’ll be able to commercialise these medical technologies to enhance the capabilities of other American healthcare providers. Ireland is a world-class source of innovative healthcare solutions and this event is of extreme importance to both stakeholders. It provides a platform to vocalise the challenges within the North American healthcare system with a view to working with Irish healthcare companies to identify future solutions.”

Collaborations between cutting-edge North American providers and Irish healthcare companies

Pat Breen TD, Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, who opened the conference, said:It is of huge significance that Enterprise Ireland has been able to secure the attendance of such a prestigious group of senior executives from North America. This is an endorsement not just of the work that Enterprise Ireland has done but also of the progressive measures the Irish Government has taken to support and encourage the life sciences sector. The partnerships already secured between cutting-edge healthcare providers and Irish healthcare solution companies have brought about significant mutual benefits and I would encourage all who have traveled here today to continue this process of relationship building.”

Deirdre Glenn, Director, Life sciences Sector, Enterprise Ireland said: “Through our expertise and overseas network, Enterprise Ireland is identifying opportunities for client companies in North America. Our focus is also to work with companies to drive their innovation and competitiveness and create companies of scale at an international level. Innovation is a key differentiator in achieving competitive advantage in North America. There are many great examples of Irish companies, such as those attending today who are competing and winning against global competition, through innovation and this fact is acknowledged in the caliber of the North American healthcare delegates attending the conference. Having world-class healthcare providers such as Northwell and the Lahey Hospital and Medical Centre enter into strategic partnerships with Irish companies is a great endorsement of what Ireland has to offer in healthcare provision and medical technology worldwide and we will continue to work to support our clients to further build on these relationships. Building on this, we have today announced that Enterprise Ireland has agreed on a strategic partnership with the Adventist Health System Florida.”

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D. led a two day Enterprise Ireland trade visit to Germany on 14th and 15th November 2017. Central to the itinerary were two world-renowned trade fairs: Medica, the leading global event for manufacturers of medical technologies, and Agritechnica the world’s largest exhibition for agricultural innovations.

As part of the trade mission to Germany, Minister Breen also officiated at the opening of Irish medtech company Aerogen’s new German commercial headquarters today. A world leader in aerosol drug delivery, the opening of Aerogen’s office in Germany, underpins Aerogen’s strengthening position in the German market, as it expands its international presence. The Galway headquartered company now has offices in the UK, France, Germany, China, the United States, and The Middle East.

Germany is a key export market for Ireland. Enterprise Ireland client exports from Ireland to Germany in 2016 were €960 million (up from €927 million in 2015), a growth rate of almost 4%, making Germany the 3rd most important export market for client companies.

Thirty-two medtech companies from Ireland will have a presence at Medica which expects over 120,000 attendees between 13th and 16th November. Minister Breen will meet Irish companies at their exhibits on the Enterprise Ireland pavilion, including; Aerogen, Croom Precision, CF Pharma, EireChrom (P4ML), Fleming Medical, Novaerus, PMD Solutions, and Synecco.

Eighteen Enterprise Ireland Agritech clients will showcase their innovative products, services and technologies to potential customers at Agritechnica in Hanover which anticipates audience numbers of 450,000 between 12th and 18th November.

Exhibiting at the Enterprise Ireland stand at Agritechnica are; Abbey Machinery, Athlone Extrusions Ltd, DeadDock Ltd., Doyle Engineering, Malone Farm Machinery Ltd., Mastek Ltd., and Toughline Manufacturing.

Speaking on his arrival in Germany Minister Breen said “Germany is a leading industrial nation in life sciences, agri-tech, automotive, software and engineering services. The trade mission is critical for providing a platform for Irish companies to present their innovative solutions and network with leading medtech and agritech professionals and Enterprise Ireland is supporting 50 Irish companies to showcase their Irish advantage to over half a million attendees at Medica in Dusseldorf and Agritechnica in Hanover.

The opening of Aerogen’s new German office is yet another milestone in the company’s successful export strategy, which is not only creating jobs in Ireland, but in Germany and around the world. Ireland is now globally recognised as a major centre of excellence in the medical technologies sector and Aerogen is a prime example of a hugely successful Irish medical technologies company, whose success has been built on innovation and having global ambition right from the start.”

Dr. Tom Kelly, Divisional Manager, Industrial, Lifesciences & Consumer at Enterprise Ireland said; “Ireland’s medtech sector now consists of over 250 Enterprise Ireland client companies, with over €2bn in sales, over €1.62bn in exports and employs 8,442 people. Enterprise Ireland currently has 123 clients in the agritech sector which exported goods and services valued at over €254m in 2016”.

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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