Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, T.D. opened the Enterprise Ireland Med in Ireland Conference 2013 last Wednesday 23 October in the Convention Centre Dublin.
The attendees included 340 buyers from medical technology companies, including the global top 10 who represent 50% of the world’s med tech purchasing power.
Speaking to the 800+ international guests attending the event, Julie Sinnamon, CEO Designate Enterprise Ireland pointed out that sales in the Irish life-sciences sector now exceed €1BN.
“As a small country, Ireland has been able to bring together highly innovative indigenous companies, large well-established FDI multinationals, a continually developing world-class research base and strong links with the clinical community to create this rich and convergent landscape with world-class expertise across key sectors such as biopharma, medtech and ICT”, she said.
“This ‘cohesiveness’ is now a key competitive strength internationally and Enterprise Ireland has organised Med in Ireland 2013 to capitalise on this and facilitate new strategic partnerships between Irish and international companies” said Sinnamon.
Minister Bruton also officially opened the technology exhibition where the majority of the business took place. 81 Irish companies showcased their products and services to international buyers and engaged in 1,200 one-to-one partnership meetings scheduled by Enterprise Ireland with a view to doing business.
These meetings built on progress made during 150 site visits to Irish med tech companies which took place in recent days.
During the conference Minister Bruton also announced the winner of the Clinical Innovation Award 2013, Julia O'Rourke, for her technology, REMPAD.
REMPAD is a software reminiscence therapy for sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. The Clinical Innovation Award 2013 is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and Cleveland Clinic. Julia O’Rourke, a senior speech and language therapist, was presented with the award by Minister Bruton.
Rempad is a new software tool which uses multi-media content to connect carers and residents with memories from the past to enhance the overall wellbeing of nursing home residents suffering from Alzheimer’s.
There are 35 million people living with dementia worldwide, and this will triple by 2050. Rempad’s reminiscence therapy software uses historical artifacts such as photos and broadcast footage to stimulate memories from the past and help individuals or groups to communicate.
O’Rourke collaborated with the Adelaide and Meath Hospital and researchers at CLARITY in Dublin City University to develop REMPAD.
O’Rourke will receive a grant of €15,000 to work with Enterprise Ireland and Cleveland Clinic to develop the commercial aspects of the software.
Julia and the team trialled the REMPAD prototype with 7 Irish nursing homes last year, all of which expressed a commitment to subscribe when REMPAD becomes commercially available. REMPAD was found to benefit the resident, the carer and the care home. Residents reported increased well-being and carers found the system easy to use and reported a greater knowledge about the lives of the people in their care after use.
Enterprise Ireland and Cleveland Clinic also recognised the other finalists. Mr. Sherif Sultan is a Consultant Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon in the Western Vascular Institute at University Hospital Galway, and the Galway Clinic. He was selected as a finalist for his work on stem cell treatment of peripheral vascular disease.
Dermot Kenny, Professor of Cardiovascular Biology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Beaumont Hospital, was selected as a finalist for his work to develop a diagnostic for Cardiovascular disease using platelet stickiness.
They will both receive Feasibility funding from Enterprise Ireland to investigate the commercial potential of their ideas.