Middle Eastern promises for Co Kerry-based medtech company

Portable Medical Technology partners with pharma giant MSD for Lebanon partnership

Rita Saadeh, MSD’s business unit director, Lebanon; Mauricio Campos Suarez, MSD’s head of IT and digital innovation, EEMEA; Portable Medical Technology chief executive Eoin O’Carroll; and Janine Shahwan, MSD’s digital and innovation lead, Levant.

Rita Saadeh, MSD’s business unit director, Lebanon; Mauricio Campos Suarez, MSD’s head of IT and digital innovation, EEMEA; Portable Medical Technology chief executive Eoin O’Carroll; and Janine Shahwan, MSD’s digital and innovation lead, Levant.

 

A Kerry-based medtech company is eyeing opportunities in the Middle East after partnering with pharma giant MSD on a one-year project to develop and launch its cancer care app for use in Lebanon.

The move comes after Portable Medical Technology, which was founded by Eoin O’Carroll and brothers Kevin and Richard Bambury in 2012, won the MSD Innovation Factory competition in Beirut earlier this year.

In addition to a $20,000 (€17,770) cash prize, the company was invited to work with MSD to tweak its OncoAssist app for use by health professionals in the local market.

OncoAssist is a CE-approved app that includes a suite of decision support tools for oncology specialists that developed out of a research project undertaken by the company founders at University College Cork. It is believed to be the only oncology app publicly available that has regulatory approval for use in hospital settings.

Once the year-long project is completed, both MSD and the Killarney-based medtech company are hoping to expand their partnership across the Middle East and Africa.

“There are opportunities after this to work with MSD and other companies in the region that we’re keen to take advantage of,” said Mr O’Carroll, the company’s chief executive.

Referrals

The company has 12,000 active users worldwide, including at least half of all oncology specialists in the Republic of Ireland. More than 50 per cent of referrals are colleague to colleague with the start-up also working with all the leading pharma companies in the State.

“We’ve taken our time trying to build the right business model as we didn’t want oncology professionals to have to pay for the platform. We have been working with pharmaceutical companies to encourage them to provide clinical information that specialists can’t easily find onto the app, along with the rest of the tools and content we provide in OncoAssist,” said Mr O’Carroll.

The company has largely bootstrapped itself to date, outside of receiving grant aid from Enterprise Ireland and participating in various accelerator programmes.

It is also a member of the €4.9 million Horizon 2020 Deis project along with the likes of GM, Siemens, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Fraunhofer and University of Hull.

Mr O’Carroll said the company was revenue-generating with the team also doing sideline contract work to boost turnover. He said there were no immediate plans to seek external investment.

“We are growing at a rate that is sufficient and so we’re not actively looking for outside investment. Over time, if there was a chance to grow a lot faster then we would consider it; but it would have to be the right fit for us,” he said.

MSD said the new partnership would allow it to offer healthcare professionals “a best-in-class, unbiased oncology platform to help patient get the benefits of the latest scientific news”.

“Partnering with OncoAssist under a co-creation spirit has allowed us to move at the speed of a nascent and fully digitalised company at the scale of MSD,” said Juan Rodriguez, EMEAC oncology lead.