You’ve heard me proclaim the importance of MedTech SMEs before on this platform and I reckon you’ll hear me again. You’ve heard me tell you that SMEs are the backbone of this industry – that as 80 plus percent of a 95 billion euro industry they are what makes the sector tick, launching innovative technology on a rolling basis and driving European healthcare forward onto a sustainable path. Well it appears I’m not the only one keen to sing the praises of our brilliant community of big thinkers. MedTech SMEs are gaining new ground in Europe as more people realise the promise they represent.
You may have read the recent Financial Times FDI Magazine in which a leading London-based medtech venture capitalist called Europe “a huge and productive innovation engine that keeps generating a continuous stream of clinical insights and new technologies”. “The continent’s attractive regulatory environment,” according to the FT, “is increasingly causing venture capitalists from the US to steer their investments across the Atlantic”. While I’ve known for some time about the SME-driven gem that is European medtech, I am glad to see this pointed out again and again in the press. Indeed, it seems we are on the right track.
But, as with any fledgling success, we need to do more to maintain this forward momentum. For Eucomed’s part, we’re driving home crucial points with EU healthcare stakeholders with the goal of improving legislation and support for our valuable SMEs. The European Commission, for example, has responded positively to the idea of a medtech SME survey (proposed by Eucomed’s SME Taskforce) aimed at creating an accurate picture of the sector – its size, struggles and needs for the future. The Commission has stated on numerous occasions its Europe 2020 commitment to focus on strengthening and further developing EU policies that support innovation particularly for SMEs. We’re keen to take this initiative forward on the path to clearing out any market access and regulatory barriers that stand in the way of progress.
I am also proud to be presenting next week at the MedTech Investing Europe Conference in London where I will have the opportunity to meet a new class of medtech entrepreneurs and other integral members of the European medtech innovation ecosystem. Connecting sources of capital to Europe’s best medtech brains is key to delivering our populations the latest iterations of devices they desperately need.
Colleagues in Scandinavia will seize this opportunity as well when they hold their MedTech Investment Day Nordic this week in Stockholm. 30 carefully selected Nordic medtech companies will get the opportunity to present themselves to investors and potential partners with the aim of stimulating investments, collaborations, mergers and acquisitions in Nordic medtech.
SMEs are right to enjoy their time in the spotlight and we’re working hard to keep that spotlight shining by keeping SME issues high on the policy agenda. There is no denying the enormous impact these small but brilliant players are making on European healthcare. It is essential that we maintain this innovation advantage and keep the European “innovation engine” running by perpetuating the regulatory conditions that drive venture funds to Europe. We must continue to break down barriers to innovation, allowing medtech SMEs and startups to do what they do best – produce life-saving, innovative medical devices in response to pressing healthcare needs.
– Sharon Higgins, Chair, Eucomed SME Task Force