Cook Med­i­cal shines spot­light on op­por­tu­ni­ties for MedTech sec­tor

Irish Examiner - - Money & Jobs - with JOE DER­MODY joe.der­mody@ex­am­iner.ie

IRE­LAND’S MedTech sec­tor has grown to around 450 com­pa­nies di­rectly em­ploy­ing 30,000 peo­ple in top qual­ity, chal­leng­ing ca­reers within a sec­tor that is grow­ing 5-6% an­nu­ally in re­cent years.

Most im­pres­sively, around half of those com­pa­nies are Ir­ish SMEs, a home­grown up­lift that few other sec­tors have matched. Most of the multi­na­tional MedTech cor­po­ra­tions based here have added prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, re­search, in­no­va­tion and global sales di­vi­sions to what be­gan life here as man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions.

These are just some of the mes­sages the lead­ers in the sec­tor will high­light dur­ing MedTech Week, a week of EU-wide pro­mo­tions for the sec­tor start­ing on Mon­day next. One event of note is ‘Cel­e­brat­ing MedTech in the Mid-West’, a busi­ness break­fast at 8.30am next Wednes­day in the Savoy Ho­tel, Lim­er­ick, hosted by lead­ing Lim­er­ick MedTech com­pany Cook Med­i­cal.

The event brings to­gether busi­nesses, elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives and IDA to dis­cuss Mid-West busi­ness.

Speak­ers will in­clude Bill Do­herty, ex­ec­u­tive VP of Cook Med­i­cal EMEA; Enda McLough­lin, Mid-West man­ager, IDA; Darach Mc­Grath, di­rec­tor of global re­search and de­vel­op­ment, Vas­cu­lar Divi­sion, Cook Med­i­cal; and Orla Borth­wick, pro­gramme man­ager, Ac­tion Plan for Jobs Mid-West.

Topics for dis­cus­sion in­clude the MedTech in­dus­try in Europe and Lim­er­ick, the im­pact of the MedTech in­dus­try on the Ir­ish and lo­cal econ­omy and in­no­va­tion and devel­op­ments in the health­care space. More broadly, speak­ers will also dis­cuss the busi­ness eco-sys­tem in the Mid-West and the po­ten­tial in­vest­ment needed to at­tract more busi­nesses to the re­gion. The dis­cus­sion will be mod­er­ated by Laura Ryan, head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Lim­er­ick City and County Coun­cil.

“The MedTech sec­tor’s story in Ire­land is very im­pres­sive,” said Bill Do­herty, of Cook Med­i­cal. “The sec­tor started out in Ire­land 20 to 30 years ago mainly as a man­u­fac­turer. It At Cook Med­i­cal, we have added re­search and de­vel­op­ment to that and we now em­ploy over 880 peo­ple in Lim­er­ick.

“At Cook Med­i­cal, we work closely with clin­i­cians to en­hance the way that hos­pi­tals op­er­ate. Of course, this is also one of the rea­sons why it is such an ex­cit­ing sec­tor to work in. Peo­ple are very aware that their work is help­ing to im­prove the health of pa­tients, and to make their lives bet­ter.”

Op­er­at­ing in Ire­land since 1993, Cook Med­i­cal works very closely with physi­cians to de­velop tech­nolo­gies that elim­i­nate the need for open surgery. They work across 41 med­i­cal spe­cial­i­ties — from anes­the­si­ol­ogy and bariatrics to plas­tic and trans­plant surg­eries. The com­pany com­bines med­i­cal de­vices, bi­o­logic ma­te­ri­als, and cel­lu­lar ther­a­pies. Its goal is to help health­care sys­tems to de­liver op­ti­mum out­comes more ef­fi­ciently.

Cook Med­i­cal’s suc­cess story is matched by oth­ers through­out Ire­land, with the sec­tor par­tic­u­larly strong in Mun­ster. In tan­dem with life science com­pa­nies in Cork, Cook Med­i­cal has been push­ing for progress on the long­promised Cork-Lim­er­ick M20 mo­tor­way. For Lim­er­ick, this would nudge the city cen­tre a step closer com­plet­ing by­pass ac­cess, with plans on the hori­zon also for a north­ern ring road.

The sec­tor’s steady 5-6% an­nual growth is well sup­ported by state agen­cies and third level col­leges. Next Wednes­day’s Cook Med­i­cal break­fast brief­ing aims to high­light growth op­por­tu­ni­ties for the sec­tor across the Mid-West in par­tic­u­lar. “The eco sys­tem sup­port­ing the sec­tor is very strong,” said Bill Do­herty. “We have good part­ner­ships be­tween in­dus­try and the aca­demic side. The col­leges have re­sponded very well to our needs in terms of de­vel­op­ing courses, and pro­vid­ing the types of grad­u­ates we need, with the skills we need.

“The chal­lenge for the sec­tor is to cre­ate the right ecosys­tem for smaller Ir­ish com­pa­nies to de­velop. We want to en­sure peo­ple can de­velop their skills here, without hav­ing to go over­seas to gain ex­pe­ri­ence. One thing we’re see­ing is peo­ple can work in one area and learn things which are also ap­pli­ca­ble in other ar­eas.

“At Cook Med­i­cal, we find that the more we talk with physi­cians, the more we un­der­stand their needs and how they func­tion within the hos­pi­tal en­vi­ron­ment.

“It is im­por­tant to us to build these re­la­tion­ships with hos­pi­tals. Our ul­ti­mate goal is to help clin­i­cians to help their pa­tients.”

Cook Med­i­cal is one of the world’s largest pri­vately held med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies. Cook Med­i­cal has grown steadily in Ire­land over the past two decades. The com­pany sells its med­i­cal de­vices and so­lu­tions to 135 coun­tries, and it em­ploys 12,000 peo­ple world­wide.

Lim­er­ick is Cook’s EMEA head­quar­ters. It is a man­u­fac­tur­ing hub, with ad­vanced re­search ac­tiv­i­ties. It also houses a cus­tomer sup­port cen­tre, lead­ing 650 sales reps across the EU. Cook has 26 na­tion­al­i­ties among its Lim­er­ick staff, speak­ing 14 dif­fer­ent lan­guages.

Bill Do­herty, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent, EMEA, with Cook Med­i­cal, says MedTech can con­tinue on its steady 5-6% an­nual growth curve.

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