The MedTech sector is thriving around the world and Newcastle’s established strengths in healthy ageing and longevity are key to the city’s future growth. These were just two of the key takeaways from this year’s MEDICA trade fair in Düsseldorf, which was attended by Invest Newcastle’s Health and Life Sciences Sector Lead, Becky Crow. In this blog, Becky talks about what she learned at the global medical technology conference.
With 80,000 delegates from hundreds of countries all descending on the German city of Dusseldorf for three days of networking and promotion, MEDICA is one of the world’s largest trade fairs.
It provides unrivalled access to a range of MedTech and life science companies from across the globe and I was delighted to attend this year with my colleague Molly Lymn, representing Newcastle and the North East England as part of a Medilink delegation that included some of the UK’s brightest businesses such as LightOx, CPI, Rapid Fluidics, Viveca Biomed and Mistura Informatics.
Connecting with professionals in the healthcare and medical sector from across the globe at MEDICA revealed key priorities, challenges and opportunities that businesses face when looking to expand into the UK.
My discussions with representatives from the Department for Business & Trade (DBT) in Germany, Finland and Poland showed that there is a strong appetite for collaboration with the UK, particularly with the NHS, and I was thrilled to be able to share information on how our supportive ecosystem in Newcastle can provide a convenient entry point to the UK market for evaluating new products and services.
In Newcastle, we are part of the UK’s largest NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB) covering 14 local authorities across the North East and North Cumbria and we have a global reputation for demonstrating and commercialising new medical technologies.
At MEDICA, we were able to share knowledge with our industry colleagues as well as making connections with other cities and regions with shared sector interests and expertise.
This included South Carolina in the US, which had many synergies with Newcastle – a strong industrial heritage and an emerging life science cluster growing at pace and also Lille in France, which is experiencing growth around the healthy ageing and longevity economy.
We know how beneficial creating international relationships is for the growth of this industry. Invest Newcastle is regularly involved in welcoming delegations of companies to the region, with the next visit being from a group of Nordic and Baltic companies. Moving forward, I look forward to building ties and inviting more of the foreign companies we met at MEDICA to come and find out why our city is such a great place to do business.
On the Medilink Pavilion, we were joined by some of the other UK regional inward investment agencies, and it was interesting to see how different regions articulate their sector strengths and propositions. In the North East, we have longstanding strengths in diagnostics and rare diseases, with fantastic work coming from Diagnostics North East and the Newcastle Centre for Rare Disease. But the view of our UK colleagues at MEDICA was that our unique selling point in Newcastle is our work in healthy ageing and longevity.
This was one of the main areas of interest with those we spoke to on our stand throughout the week and also at Smart City Expo in Barcelona earlier in the month. At that event, we worked with our colleagues at UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA), a unique research asset for the region, to promote the City of Longevity – global framework, which is being utilised by an increasing number of cities across the globe to promote healthier lifestyles among urban residents.
Invest Newcastle continues to work with NICA and Newcastle University to maximise the impact of the City of Longevity and to develop the ecosystem of businesses that can develop products and services to look after people as they age.
Welcoming new businesses to the region is our area of expertise at Invest Newcastle. We are able to provide a full concierge service to ensure businesses have all of the tools and support they need to grow and thrive in the city. This was something specifically highlighted as a priority by contacts at DBT as well as Lord Harrington in his report for the UK Chancellor.
Whether it is intelligence and insights, facilitating access to grants, or introductions to key decision makers, our team is dedicated to developing the health and life sciences sector and ensuring the businesses that wish to be a part of it can expand here seamlessly.
Want to find out more about Newcastle’s health and life science sector and how your business can be a part of it? Visit: https://investnewcastle.com/sectors/health-and-life-science/