Helping medtech start-ups translate science into success

  • Posted on 01.04.2019

Helping medtech start-ups translate science into success


Rui Sousa

Program Manager at HealthTechTab


Rui Sousa will be a speaker at the MedTech Forum on 15/5. Find more about the programme here

Your start-up could benefit from a free advice session at the MedTech Forum

I meet a lot of entrepreneurs in the medical technology sector and I know that they bring a lot to the table: they are brimming with ideas, innovation and a burning desire to improve people’s lives. They often have engineering, academic, surgical or medical backgrounds and a deep understanding of their field.

However, many find it challenging to translate their ideas into marketable products. This should not surprise us. The skillset required to develop an innovative medtech solution is immense, as is the combination of talents and knowhow needed to launch a successful business venture. Those who possess all the required knowledge and skill to be the next medtech star are few and far between.

This is reflected in the numbers of researchers and entrepreneurs who struggle to translate their work into commercial success. The failure rate in Europe is staggering. Start-ups must have a product that meets a clear market need. But they must also know how to raise finance, how to protect their intellectual property, how to make their product or solution scalable, and how to present their work in a way that inspires support. It’s a tall order. I’m impressed that so many entrepreneurs are brave enough to try to do it all, and saddened when some of them fall short of reaching their goals.

One way to overcome some of these challenges is to engage with professional consultants and experts with various specialities: law, business development, market access, venture capital and so on. You don’t need me to tell you that this kind of expertise is expensive. For a start-up with limited funds, splashing out on professional advice is a luxury they may find unaffordable. That’s why many entrepreneurs never bridge the gap between concept and the market.

But all is not lost: I believe we can address this gap through initiatives such as HealthTechTAB which offers guidance and advice to fledgling medtech businesses, helping them navigate a path to success. This EU-funded initiative is designed to ensure Europe’s money is spent in smarter ways by helping young companies to avoid wasting time and money.

The service is free and has a strong track record. HealthtechTAB grew from the nanomedTAB initiative which ran from 2015 to 2017. The nanomedTAB supported 84 projects across 20 European countries, and achieved several concrete successes. These include securing five funding rounds for various projects, garnering more than €15 million; establishing three new start-ups; and formalising two licensing deals with industry.

The initiative also delivered significant value by redirecting 10 projects towards more sustainable paths. By adapting their focus and how they used available resources, entrepreneurs were guided away from projects with limited potential for translation to market. Instead, these individuals were pointed in more promising directions by industry experts.

At HealthtechTAB, we have assembled a team of medtech industry leaders that make their combined brain power available when it’s needed most. More than that, they stick with start-ups and help them overcome the many hurdles that lie ahead.

At the MedTech Forum in Paris, this expertise will be on hand to provide 30-minute triage sessions, followed by a written report with recommendations. For start-ups, this invaluable service could be the difference between success and failure. For patients, it could determine whether their needs are met by new solutions in the years ahead.


To apply for one of these closed-door consultations, click here

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