A network to help Scottish companies tap into the £170bn global medical technologies market has been launched at the University.
Strathclyde MedTech will see businesses and academics working together to bring the next generation of healthcare technologies to market - from new imaging and diagnostic equipment, to devices to help older patients manage health problems at home.
The medical technology market is estimated to be worth £150-£170bn worldwide, growing to around £300bn by 2015. But technology firms have stressed that if they are to take advantage of the sector's potential and create the complex products sought by cost conscious clinicians and patients, specialist advice and support is required.
Professor Trish Connolly, Director of the Strathclyde Institute of Medical Devices, where the new initiative is based, said: "Scottish companies have a long history of success in engineering new technologies, and they are ideally placed to pioneer the next generation of healthcare devices needed by patients around the globe. But the medical technologies of the future can only be created through a fusion of engineering, science and medicine.
"Strathclyde MedTech will lower the barrier to innovation in the medical technology sector, by providing companies with the support and advice needed to navigate complex regulatory and technical issues. We will be looking to work with both companies already involved in medical device development, and those in other sectors, including electronics, textiles, healthcare and even automotive component companies.
"With an ageing population and increasing demands on the NHS for new and better treatments, there is an urgent need for innovative medical devices to improve patient care.”
Strathclyde MedTech will provide companies with advice and support, as well as encouraging Scottish companies to collaborate with the University and other firms. Funding will be available to help firms work with the University through consultancy or research projects, including feasibility studies and testing for technologies in areas including diagnostics, cardiovascular devices, rehabilitation and assisted living, drug delivery, biomaterials and cell / tissue engineering.
The venture has received £376,000 from the Scottish Government’s SEEKIT fund, and nearly £308,000 from the European Regional Development Fund.
Alan Lindsay, Industrial Interface Manager at the Strathclyde Institute of Medical Devices, said: "Today’s announcement reflects the University’s commitment to working with industry to challenge traditional academic boundaries and find solutions to global problems.
"In the past four years, the Strathclyde Institute of Medical Devices has successfully drawn in many international companies in the medical field. Strathclyde MedTech will focus additional resource on stimulating Scottish technology SMEs to expand their portfolios and ultimately, have a positive impact on patient health and the wider economy."
The University has a strong track record in the development of medical devices, with more than 80 scientists and engineers collaborating with as many as 50 clinicians. The approach has produced a wide range of technologies, including a portable life support system for babies and adults, and an award-winning wound monitoring device with the potential to save health services millions of pounds.
About Medical Technology:
- The medical technology market is estimated to be worth £150-£170bn worldwide with growth rates forecast at 10% per annum over the next 5-6 years and the market size will approach £300bn by 2015, according to the report The Medical Device Market: United Kingdom, March 31 2009, Espicom Business Intelligence.
- The field of medical devices is a key area for future developments in medicine covering essential healthcare needs in: biomaterials, tissue engineering, implantable devices, artificial organs, drug delivery and diagnostics. Research opportunities include improved joint replacements, non-invasive and invasive diagnostics for rapid patient monitoring, targeted cancer therapies, artificial organs, localized drug delivery, cardiac materials and therapies, scaffolds for tissue engineering / repair, and gene therapy devices.
- Read more about the Strathclyde Institute of Medical Devices at: www.strath.ac.uk/simd/
5 January 2011