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.”
Join Enterprise Ireland, the national export agency, for an exciting opportunity to connect with senior executives from leading North America healthcare groups and Ireland’s most innovative medical technology companies at the inaugural North America Healthcare Forum.
This two-day event connects Irish companies and senior executives in healthcare systems and hospitals throughout the United States & Canada, including:
- Adventist Health, Florida
- Hamilton Health Sciences, Ontario
- Lahey Health, Massachusetts
- Northwell Health, New York
- OSF Healthcare, Illinois
- Partners’ Health, Massachusetts
- Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto
- Southlake Regional Hospital, Ontario
- Network with more than 30 C-Level Executives from North American hospital groups, collectively responsible for more than 30 million patients
- Hear healthcare decision-makers discuss the major clinical, operational and regulatory challenges affecting hospitals in the United States and Canada, and the opportunities they are creating for innovation and technology
- Learn from subject matter experts in areas including healthcare investment, reimbursement and route-to-market strategy.
Over the past twenty years, Ireland has built a reputation in the medical technology industry as both an innovative partner and base for business. This rapid rise to becoming one of the world’s leading centres of Medtech development should not, however, lead you to think that the country has only recently become a location for medical invention. To the contrary, some of the most important and widely used tools in clinical practice had a crucial phase in their development occur in Ireland.
The modern stethoscope
Dr. Arthur Leared can be thought of as the James Watt of stethoscopes. While René Laennec of France is famous for having the original spark and inventing the stethoscope, his device was rudimentary and little different from the ear trumpets that were used as hearing aids at the time. In order to hear the nuances of the murmurs of the heart, the stethoscope had to be improved and it took a few decades before Dr. Leared made the device direct sound into both ears. This innovation isolated the physician’s ears from all surrounding sounds, while allowing both ears to focus on the same sound source, significantly improving the physician’s ability to auscultate and interpret what they heard. Only a few minor changes were made by scientists since to make the stethoscope what it is today.
Syringe injections are now ubiquitous but only originated in 1844 when Dr. Francis Rynd, working at the Meath Hospital in Dublin, administered “fifteen grains of acetate of morphia, dissolved in one drachm of creosote” to four nerves in the face of a woman, according to a report filed the following year in the Dublin Medical Press.
Dr. Rynd’s patient was suffering from severe pain on the left side of her face, which led her to become an opium addict, taking laudanum multiple times a day in a failed attempt to relieve the pain. After deciding to try delivering morphine directly to the nerves that caused the pain, Dr. Rynd designed a special trocar that could break the skin, and an accompanying cannula through which the drug would be administered. As the syringe had yet to be developed, the morphine solution was fed through the cannula, resulting in a pretty slow injection by today’s standards. But the effort worked well, with the patient reporting immediate relief that lasted long after the injections.
The work of later inventors improved on Dr. Rynd’s design, developing smaller needles, plunger-based syringes, and additional safety mechanisms. New medical needles and syringes continue to be developed today, with some of that work taking place in Ireland, not far from where the story of the syringe began.
Setting standards in radiotherapy
In the early 20th century, as radiotherapy was becoming a viable method of attacking tumors, another clinical injection challenge appeared: how to deliver radioisotopes to tumors. Radioactive materials had to be sourced, stored and used in ways that conventional materials never required. Those challenges led to the creation of special institutes that developed the necessary clinical and safety protocols to use nuclear materials in medicine. One of the first and most important was the Royal Dublin Society’s Radium Institute. The Institute was founded by John Joly, an Irish scientist who worked in the fields of geology and minerology, colour photography, invented the steam calorimeter, and showed that the Earth is older than was thought at the time. Working with Dr Walter Stevenson, Joly developed the “Dublin method” for delivering radium into deep-seated tumors, a technique that became standard around the world. While many new technologies and radiation sources have been developed since then, including cyclotrons and technetium-99m, the work of John Joly and Dr. Walter Stevenson was an important evolutionary step in the field of radiotherapy.
In emergency medicine, Dr. Frank Pantridge of Belfast revolutionised care with the invention of the portable defibrillator that finally allowed ambulances to treat cardiac arrhythmias. Although external defibrillators already existed and few hospitals established cardiac care units in the 1960’s, Dr. Pantridge realised that, with so much time needed to transport patients to the hospital, on-site treatment was essential. Working with others at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Belfast, Dr. Pantridge built a car battery-powered defibrillator that fit inside an ambulance. The defibrillator was giant and heavy but it worked and saved lives. Inspired by his own success, Dr. Pantridge managed to scale down the device significantly, relying on a capacitor instead of batteries to hold the electric charge. In only three years he reduced the portable defibrillator from 70 kg to only 3 kg. The result is that now almost every ambulance around the world has a defibrillator and automatic external defibrillators can be found in airports, sports venues, and other facilities, protecting large crowds of people.
From the stethoscope to the portable defibrillator, Irish scientists and physicians have been developing medical devices without which modern clinical practice would be impossible. While Ireland’s innovative Medtech industry may seem relatively new, it continues the country’s well-established tradition of medical device invention.
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Leading provider of respiratory monitoring technology, PMD Solutions, has been selected to join the prestigious NHS Innovation Accelerator Programme in the UK.
The NHS also confirmed rapid adoption of PMD’s RespiraSense product to transform the standard of respiratory care in the UK. Hospitals in the areas of Portsmouth, Bradford and London are piloting the device as part of the UK Health Service’s innovation accelerator programme.
Currently awaiting FDA clearance, RespiraSense is expected to be ready for sale within the US by mid 2018. It is anticipated that hospitals and urgent care clinics will follow the lead of the NHS, improving the standard of care and creating cost savings through the introduction of a new standard of respiratory monitoring care.
Founded in 2011, PMD Solutions is focused on developing innovative and patient-friendly technologies to support healthcare provider’s early prevention model of patient care. Inspired by the clinical need to measure patients breathing rates, which when amiss are a significant indicator of deterioration, PMD develops innovative medical devices for the monitoring and diagnosis of respiratory conditions.
Irish Government Minister for Trade, Employment, and Business, Pat Breen TD said, “I was extremely impressed by the high levels of innovation I saw when I visited PMD Solutions at Medica 2017. It is great to see an Irish company at the forefront of medical technology advances.”
PMD Solutions operates from Cork, Ireland, a region recognised as one of the largest exporters of medical products in Europe and one of the five global emerging medical device hubs.
Myles Murray, CEO, PMD Solutions sommented, “We have created an innovation that is set to change the face of in-hospital monitoring at a global scale, improve patient outcomes and generate substantial cost savings for healthcare providers. We are a young company with big ambition. The recent NHS programme has allowed us to engage with global leaders and positioned PMD as an international clinical differentiator in the patient monitoring market.”
The product is helping to fulfil the high-growth early-stage medical device company’s vision of creating a new standard of care regarding in-hospital continuous respiratory rate monitoring. Among several clinical applications, the primary focus of the technology addresses the global technological deficit of accurate and continuous respiratory rate monitoring.
Clinical evaluations of RespiraSense throughout Europe and Australia have seen significant results regarding improving patient care and long-term healthcare economic savings. The device has proven to detect patient deterioration up to 12 hours in advance of an adverse patient event, allowing for early intervention and reducing escalations of care and the associated hospital cost.
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Find your new partner at Medica
Growing from a small, open economy like Ireland’s has encouraged its Medtech companies to be global in outlook. That global perspective is a key driver of the growth that allowed Ireland to become recognised as the best location in the world to design, develop and manufacture medical technologies. Ireland is now the second largest exporter of medical devices in the EU, with exports valued at €12.5bn annually.
Visit us at Medica (Hall 16 Stand B61) to see how Irish Medtech companies use innovation to help customers achieve goals in the face of global challenges such as maximising cost efficiency and remaining compliant across international markets.
Get help to source the right Medtech partner
Enterprise Ireland matches European customers with Irish exporters that solve Medtech challenges. Our local sectoral specialists will connect you with the ideal Irish partner and help you to source medical devices and precision engineered components, engage with healthcare providers, clinicians and research and development professionals, and much more. A range of supports to facilitate international business access are available through Enterprise Ireland to companies interested in developing links and securing strategic relationships with our clients.
Irish companies exhibiting at Medica 2018
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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