A Capable Community

Published on: 
BioPharm International, BioPharm International-12-02-2006, Volume 2006, Issue 7

Individually, each of these strengths is significant. Together, they constitute a compelling proposition.

There is a high level of creative and innovative activity in the medical technology sector in Scotland —all based around the breadth of commercial, academic, and clinical capabilities. Today, Scotland is home to one of the most sizeable life sciences clusters in Europe and hosts a significant multinational medical technology presence in research and development as well as manufacturing.

These companies are supported by globally recognized research, innovative industrial technology, and clinical excellence—all connected through a well networked community.

Professor Trish Connolly, director of the University of Strathclyde's Institute of Medical Devices and Doctoral Training Center in Medical Devices. Photo courtesy of Nexxus (www.nexxusscotland.com)

The global medical technology market is clearly attractive—it's large, fast growing, and offers earlier returns than other parts of life sciences. What is less well documented is Scotland's equally attractive proposition to businesses operating in this sector. Scotland is ideally positioned as a gateway to European and global markets.


Key Strengths

Scotland has several key strengths in medical technologies, which include:

  • Established, vibrant company base. Scotland is home to more than 130 medical technology companies, employing some 8,500 people, with particular strengths in diagnostics, wound care, implants, disposables, instrumentation, opthalmics, and imaging.

These organizations range in size from smaller indigenous companies such as Axis-Shield (www.axisshield.com) and Optos (www.optos.com) to major multinationals including J&J Medical (www.jnj.com), LifeScan Scotland (www.lifescaneurope.com/sco) a J&J company, Bausch & Lomb (www.bausch.com), Haemonetics (UK) (www.haemonetics.com), and Vascutek (www.vascutek.com), part of Terumo (www.terumomedical.com).

  • Diverse and supportive supplier community. Scotland is home to over 150 support and supply companies—crucial to the effective operation of the sector.

  • Easy access to clinical skills and excellence. The clinical research base and clinical trials capabilities in Scotland are substantial. They include clinical trial support services offered by Charles River Laboratories, part of Inveresk Research (www.inveresk.com), Pleiad Devices (www.pleiad.com), and PPD (www.ppdi.com), and the world's biggest healthcare delivery organization—the National Health Service (www.show.scot.nhs.uk).

  • Ground breaking, world-renowned research. All of Scotland's 13 universities are involved in groundbreaking medical technology research. Hot spots are in imaging, ophthalmic, ortho-paedics, cardiovascular instrumentation, and implants. The diversity of research ranges from radiography and bioengineering, to biomaterials and biophotonics.

  • Highly skilled, adaptable workforce. The Medical Devices Doctoral Training Centre (www.strath.ac.uk/dtc) at the University of Strathclyde produces a dedicated pool of highly skilled employees, in addition to approximately 60,000 students who graduate each year with qualifications applicable to this sector.

  • World-class, tailored facilities. Scotland has a unique property portfolio—including dedicated life sciences parks such as the Centre for Biomedical Research, the Lanarkshire, and Dundee MediParks and more general technology parks—all offering world-class facilities.

  • Depth of experience in related and convergent technologies. A developed history in related technology sectors such as micro- and opto-electronics, imaging, microsystems, precision engineering, software, pharmaceuticals, and biotech.

  • Dynamic, industry-led support network. Scotland has a host of industry associations and innovative organizations keen to develop the sector. These include Medical Devices in Scotland (www.mdis.org), Scottish Health Innovations (www.shil.co.uk), and the Scottish Intermediary Technology Institutes (www.itiscotland.com).

Individually, each of these strengths is significant. Together, they constitute a compelling proposition. With the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh more than 500 years old, Scotland's proven medical history and bright future make it the ideal place for medical device design, manufacture, and commercialization.

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