Primer: Meet Dublin’s MedTech Contenders

Eureka moments in MedTech are not trivial.

When you are surrounded by more than 27,000 fellow MedTech inventors, creators, manufacturers, researchers and providers, however, those moments have a better chance to land.

That is what happened in 2007 to Dublin-based Dr. Brian Thornes, an orthopaedic surgeon from the Royal Surgical Academy. He had left the operation room two years earlier, to search for better ways to treat orthopaedic conditions by the means of technology. As he was mounting a plasma TV in his living room, an idea struck. Shortly after, he founded his company X-Bolt. Since then X-Bolt Orthopedics has raised over €4m in equity funding, has been granted both European and US patents, and their tech is used in over 250 clinics in Ireland and UK.

Dublin (and the country in general) has been a hotbed for medical technology innovation and production for decades. In that time, the supply chains, the manufacturing, the design and – most crucially – the connection to multinationals has grown steadily.

Fostering an environment for those eureka moments has, too.

Bioinnovate offer a one-year program that teaches teams how to create medical devices. They pair biomedical engineers and medics with marketing, legal, PR and/or IT people to form small teams. Those teams immerse themselves in hospitals for 4 to 6 weeks, looking for problems waiting to be solved. The rest of the year is focused on making their ideas both investor and commercialization-ready. Embo Medical, founded in December 2012 by Wayne Allen, Colin Forde and Liam Mullins, is a successful Bioinnovate alumni who recently raised €3M in an investment syndicate.

IMDA Skillnet, a program run by the Irish Medical Device Association, is a similar avenue for learning the nitty-gritty of MedTech making. i360Medical, a spin-out company from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, where it was formerly known as The Centre for Innovation in Surgical Technology (RCSI-CIST), is another.

But beyond fostering innovation, a crucial component of any successful MedTech company is raising the necessary funding. Even before there is a solid proof of concept, the zeroes necessary are significant and do not come easily. The likes of HBAN (Halo Business Angel Network) are trying to change that, being well-educated angel investors who understand MedTech. In addition, VC firms such as Seroba Life Sciences, Fountain Healthcare Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Lightstone Ventures and Atlantic Bridge, with assistance from the likes of Enterprise Ireland, all play an important role in an at-times difficult and expensive industry.

Alongside all that, the willingness of Irish medical professionals to experiment with new technologies makes MedTech a much more viable and faster avenue for entrepreneurs – that, along with their innate ability to have a chat. “Ireland has a culture that is open to discussion and is accessible,” says Jim Joyce, founder of HealthBeacon.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the Dublin-based MedTech companies you need to know about. These companies make medical devices and technologies that medical professionals use around the world (NB: We have followed this with a seperate list of digital and connected health startups, a spinoff of MedTech and HealthTech)

Meet Dublin’s MedTech Contenders:

Allogen Biotech
Ben Teeling and Derek Graydon founded Allogen Biotech in 2011. Allogen Biotech is developing a portable food contamination and allergen-testing device that will enable food manufacturers and food processors to bypass time-consuming and expensive centralised laboratory testing. @AllogenBiotech

Arann Technologies
Founded by Paul Maguire, Felipe Soberon, Shane Glynn and Stephen Daniels, Arann Technologies design and develop innovative patented environmental cleaning and disinfection technology systems. The systems tackle harmful bacteria and mould contamination in healthcare and food production facilities. @ArannHealthcare

AltaScience was founded to develop a novel implantable medical device to be used as an innovative method for female sterilisation. Company’s founders James Coleman, Christopher Cummins and Robert Perryman have extensive experience in the medical device industry and have been involved with several startup ventures.

Ardoo Caresafe Ltd
Ardoo design, develop and manufacture specialist medical devices and disability aids. Their Ardoo Caresafe 140 is the most compact, portable hoist available worldwide.

Arravasc, formerly Cappella Medical Devices Ltd, was founded in 2007 by Philip Watson and Aschen Shmulewitz. They manufacture new catheter and balloon devices, and last year signed a deal worth $3.5 million in business with Shanghai Micro Medical.

Developing minimally invasive medical devices for surgery to the esophagus and stomach, Crospon specialises in tools for gastrodiagnostics and bariatric surgery. Crospon was founded by John O’Dea in 2006.

Founded in 2012 and led by CEO Sinead Kenny, DiaNia Technologies is an R&D company focusing on intellectual property of extrusion technology from advanced materials for catheter-based medical devices.

Gabriel Scientific
Gabriel Scientific is a life sciences company dedicated to the design and manufacture of barrier property bedding for the hospital. Founded in 2009, their products are used by Infection Control and Tissue Viability Departments to combat medical bedding contamination. Their products are marketed under the SleepAngel umbrella.

Incereb is an Irish Medical Device company in the emerging neonatal intensive care unit. Founded in May 2011, Incereb has developed an easy to use, disposable Electroencephalography (EEG) and Cerebral Function Monitoring (CFM) products for term and preterm infants (neonates).

A spinout from the Physics Department of Trinity College Dublin, co-founded by department head, Igor Shvets, Miravex specialises in image technology for skin analysis. Its product Antera 3D® is the only camera that can accurately measure wrinkles, texture, scars, skin colour, redness and pigmentation.

SelfSense Technologies
SelfSense Technologies was founded by a team of researchers from the Dublin Dental School and AMBER research centre in Trinity College Dublin. The SmartSplint, a dental device for the diagnosis and monitoring of tooth grinding, is the outcome of four years of collaborative research.

SureWash is an advanced hand hygiene solution for one of the world’s most pressing problems – the spread of disease in hospitals. It was founded in 2010 by Gerry Lacey. @SureWash

Founded by Pat Forristal and Dr. John Gleeson, SurgaColl Technologies is an innovative medical device company supplying novel tissue regeneration products for the surgical treatment of disease of the bone, cartilage and other human tissue, based on technologies developed by the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, headed by Professor Fergal O’Brien.

Founded in 2009 by Gerard Brett and Mary Brett, Vivasure is a medical device company specialising in fissure closure. Its academic partners include the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, the National University of Ireland, Galway, and Queen’s University, Belfast.

This medical devices company creates biodegradable polymer and collagen products based on in-house R&D. Vornia was founded in 2010 by by James Martin, Eamon Brady and Eamon Hynes.

Another brainchild of James Coleman, Christopher Cummins and Robert Perryman, Vasorum is developing medical devices for the interventional cardiology and radiology markets. Its first product is the Celt ACD®, used to close arterial puncture holes.

Founded in 2007 by Brian Thornes, X-Bolt Orthopedics, has developed strong, safe and reliable devices for hip fractures that commonly occur in frail elderly patients, using the patented X-Bolt expanding bolt. @HipFixationCo

NB: Beyond Dublin, a big cluster of companies are situated in Galway, Cork and further afield, comprising of more than a hundred other multinationals and indigenous companies.

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