Galway, a Global Hub for Medtech

Of the top 25 Medtech companies in the world, 18 are now based in Ireland. But what is it that attracts so many of the world’s top Medtech players to this small island in the Atlantic Ocean, and what draws the majority of those companies westward towards Galway?

Here are six of the main reasons why.

  1. Medtech in Galway since the 1970’s

Having received its first investment in medical technology in 1973, Galway now boasts a concentration of Medtech companies rivalled only by Minnesota. The City of Tribes has today become one of the top seven most important Medtech clusters in Europe and is by far the most important Medtech hub in Ireland. While the Medtech industry in Ireland overall employees 29,000 people, making it the second largest employer of Medtech professionals in Europe, one third of these employees are based in Galway.

The first companies to establish operations in Galway were subsidiaries of the big US firms, such as CR Bard, Abbott, Merit and Boston Scientific. These companies initially established their assembly operations in the city. However, many of these facilities expanded their expertise and are now undertaking strategic R&D and product development activities in Galway.

  1. A University city, with international focus

The city has today established itself as a major hub for the Medtech industry through university industry linkages, the emergence of Medtech incubation hubs supporting knowledge transfers, the establishment of start-ups, the emergence of a skilled labour pool and a strong international reputation derived from the success of multinationals based in Galway such as Medtronic, Merit Medical, Boston Scientific, Zimmer Biomet and Creganna.

The third level education institutions in Galway recognised the increasing importance of the Medtech sector in the region and the need for a greater pool of specialised labour. As such the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology have developed important links with medical device companies operating in the region, providing research collaboration and skilled graduates ready to specialise in the medical device industry.

  1. A Global hub for research

Galway is a global hub for research. The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials and the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) are both based in the in Galway. Along with CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices, the establishment of which, in 2016 at NUI Galway, bolstered Galway’s position as a global hub of research expertise in medical device technology. A key part of CÚRAM’s operation is to train the next generation of scientists, employees and entrepreneurs in this sector. It is already attracting new research talent into Ireland.

  1. A healthy start-up ecosystem

A diverse start-up ecosystem has developed in Galway in recent years and attracts serious talent and investment from all over the world. A key advantage that Galway offers Medtech start-ups is the opportunity to stay close to companies that may be suitors when it comes to acquisition or licensing. The establishment of the BioInnovate fellowship in NUI Galway, which is the only programme in the world directly affiliated to Biodesign in Stanford University in the US, is a key research hub in the region and reflects the innovative nature of Galway’s Medtech culture.

Notable companies that have flourished in the Galway start-up ecosystem include:

  • Capsos Medical targets chronic total occlusions and last year raised €2.2m in funding from the AIB Seed Capital Fund
  • NeoSurgical a growing medical device company that is developing products to make laparoscopic abdominal surgery safer and easier
  • Neuravi has raised €19m for its stroke therapy device and has established numerous partnerships throughout Europe as a result of its 2015 clinical trials
  1. Vision beyond the city limits

With its thriving start-up network, highly skilled labour force, hub of major multinational Medtech companies and proximity to both Dublin and Shannon, whose airports act as international gateways to Ireland, Galway offers indigenous and multinational Medtech companies a strong platform from which they may launch or maintain global operations.

Examples of Irish born successes that flourished in Galway and expanded internationally include that of Embo, a spinout from BioInnovate, raising €3M in cash, and others like Apica and Creganna being acquired for tens or hundreds of millions.

Galway is the Medtech capital of Ireland and Ireland is second only to Germany as the largest exporter of medical technology in the EU. Operating within an EU member state such as Ireland offers many advantages including the elimination of currency fluctuations when trading in the Eurozone, the CE mark certification which is valid across the European trading area and that European citizens can move freely within the EU to live and work, increasing and diversifying the talent pool.

  1. Friendly city with rich culture

To top it all off, Galway is internationally recognised as a city ready to welcome visitors and new arrivals alike and was recently named as the “Friendliest City in the World” by Travel and Leisure Magazine. It has also been awarded European City of Culture for 2020 which brings with it not only significant investment from Europe but an opportunity for Galway to showcase its cultural richness to both Europe and the world.

Land in Ireland and Head West!

In a nutshell, if you are thinking of starting a Medtech business or expanding existing operations globally, there’s really no better option than to land in Ireland and head west.

Brought to you by Synecco

About Synecco

Synecco founded in 2004 and located in Galway, is a global supplier of world-leading contract manufacture and design solutions for the medical device market. Synecco have proven to be the partner of choice for many medical device companies seeking design and engineering, component manufacture and assembly, as well as supply chain management solutions. Synecco is fully compliant to industry standard ISO 13485 focussed on developing and supplying innovative medical device solutions for our partners. Synecco has a diverse commercial client portfolio, from large MNC’s to well-funded start-ups.

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