Cook Medical shines spotlight on opportunities for MedTech sector
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.