The Health Innovation Hub in Cork, which the Government wants to develop into an “IFSC for medical technology companies”, has selected 16 firms to take part in its final pilot phase, before the Government decides later this year whether to develop it into a permanent facility.
The hub, part of the Coalition's action plan for jobs, is a centre for med-tech companies, providing them with access to State hospitals to test new products. It is a grand collaboration between the departments of health and enterprise, the Health Service Executive, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and a number of academic institutes.
Mirroring how the IFSC in Dublin has become a magnet for global financial corporations, the Government hopes to eventually attract medtech companies from across the world to locate in Ireland in the hub, where they could easily test their latest products within the Irish health system.
Dr Colman Casey, a director of the hub, said from companies sought to take part in the final pilot phase. It choose four companies to work on developing new products to address infection control and hygiene management, and Dr Casey said the hub has secured the agreement of two hospitals to host those projects.
The hub selected a further 12 companies from an “open call” for projects on a range of issues, including a large number of technology projects.
"There will be a national team meeting on Thursday to assess the projects, and we would envisage that they would all kick off shortly after Easter," said Dr Casey.
The companies and projects selected include Innerstrength, a Dublin start-up that has developed a web app called Tickerfit, a tool for GPs to monitor the physical activity of patients via a smartphone or wearable devices.
Sláinte Healthcare, backed by tech entrepreneur David Nash, has proposed trialling the HSE's national early warning score system on Sláinte's Vitro paperless system.