Irish start-ups lead the way in MedTech Innovator Dublin eventVish Gainon April 26, 2022 at 11:58 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic


More than two dozen international medtech start-ups, including five from Ireland, are pitching their innovations to a host of investors and industry leaders at a MedTech Innovator event in Dublin this week.

The MedTech Innovation Summit 2022 is being held in partnership with Trinity College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

MedTech Innovator, based in California, is one of the world’s most recognisable competitions and accelerators for start-ups creating new technologies in the medtech and digital health space.

Starting yesterday (25 April), the non-profit kicked off its international pitching event at Trinity Business School with 27 medical device, digital health and diagnostic companies from across Europe. Five of them are Irish start-ups: VertiGenius, InjurySense, Phyxiom, Pumpinheart and Head Diagnostics.

Of the 27 companies that pitched yesterday, five will be selected to pitch on stage today at the Shelbourne Hotel, after which the judges will select a winner. The event will also serve as a steppingstone for some of the companies to join the prestigious MedTech Innovator 2022 programme.

Last year, four Irish start-ups based in Galway – Atrian Medical, Lifelet Medical, Neurent Medical and Tympany Medical – were selected for the MedTech Innovator 2021 programme to show off their innovation to global investors.

Ireland’s ‘amazing’ medtech ecosystem

Paul Grand, a venture capitalist who founded MedTech Innovator in 2013, told that Ireland has the highest number of start-ups of any European country taking part in this year’s event, followed by Israel and France.

“The Irish medtech ecosystem, particularly in Galway and Dublin, is amazing. Many MedTech Innovator companies that made it to the finals over the years have been from Ireland,” he said. “Almost every time, we have somebody up on the finals stage from Ireland.”

Trinity spin-out VertiGenius is one such Irish company that is hoping to make it to the finals and secure funding for its technology platform that lets users design, prescribe and deploy custom exercises in a clinician portal to help patients who suffer from vertigo, dizziness or imbalance.

“Vertigo and dizziness affect one in four people globally, but there are real problems with delivering the treatment,” Roisin Scallan, co-founder of VertiGenius. “People don’t know if they’re doing the right thing and clinicians don’t have the information that they need.”

Only last month, the start-up was recognised at the Trinity Innovation Awards 2021 for its novel technology, which includes a wearable sensor placed behind the ear and connected to a smartphone app that tracks head movement and collects data for clinicians to then assess.

“To date, with the support of Enterprise Ireland, we have got a product that is CE-marked and we’re doing a software launch to the market this quarter,” said Scallan, who co-founded the company with her colleague Dr Dara Meldrum.

“We’re now looking for a seed round to help us expand our team, bring the sensors to the market, and prepare for FDA approval to launch in the US market by 2024.”

Emerging tech

Not all start-ups at the event yesterday, however, are ready to pitch – but are watching the other companies and feedback closely to soon pitch their own emerging technologies, now in their early stages.

Cristina Purtill, a researcher and entrepreneur who leads Trinity-based medtech start-up Plio Surgical, told of her plans to take the Enterprise Ireland-funded technology to a seed funding round as early as the first quarter of next year.

Plio Surgical is developing a minimally invasive implant for successful colorectal surgeries that heal fast and avoid any post-surgical complications such as leakage.

“We’re looking to launch in the US market first. In Europe, Germany is one of our target markets because they have one of the highest incidences of colon cancer, followed by the UK and France,” she said. “Of course, we’re working with Irish surgeons, so we’ll launch in Ireland too”.

Grand, who is a “huge fan” of the Irish medtech ecosystem, said that its success can be attributed to Government supports and infrastructure that helps companies thrive. “And then what we bring is off-island expertise on the US market to help Irish-based companies succeed abroad.”

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