Medilink WM’s membership manager, Joanne Mewis, explains how her organisation helped bring an innovative Italian healthcare business to the West Midlands.
“We lead member companies to commercial opportunities in the medical market, through market intelligence, business introductions and networking, and always base our support on a full understanding of each member’s specific challenges and goals,” says Joanne Mewis, Medilink WM’s membership manager. “We pride ourselves on our up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge of both our industry and its networks, across health technologies and the life sciences sector.
“Our membership service provides a gateway for essential connectivity to the business, clinical, academic, regulatory, and finance communities, helping individuals and businesses to form new collaborative partnerships and navigate the increasingly complex health innovation landscape.”
The latest example of how Medilink WM membership works in practice came after the Department for International Trade (DIT) introduced the organisation to an Italian company looking to establish a presence in the UK to promote its products to the fast-growing med-tech market.
Bimar Ortho S.P.A. was founded in 1986, and has acquired a world-class reputation in the field of orthopaedic and ortho-biological solutions, initially for its innovative expertise in foot surgery, and subsequently in upper limb surgery including ligament, tendon reconstruction and provision of orthopaedic prostheses.
In its domestic market, the company operates through a network of distributors and agents, supported by product managers, and having recognised the UK’s med-tech sector as a thriving ecosystem of researchers, scientists, engineers, designers, and NHS clinicians, it approached the DIT for guidance.
“We wanted to be in the West Midlands as it provides a wealth of opportunities for companies like ours looking to expand into the UK’s life sciences sector,” says Bimar’s UK general manager, Kevin Edwards. “It was crucial that we established ourselves in an area giving us access to a highly skilled workforce, accelerated clinical programmes and which had an established and well-connected life sciences community.
“My colleagues and I found Medilink to be very professional, approachable and courteous at all times. Their experience, combined with their professionalism and key contacts in the sector, mean that we now confidently expect Bimar Ortho to make a noticeable impression on the NHS in 2018.”
The innovative product that the Italian company expects to be the catalyst for its success in the UK’s healthcare economy is software-based, and designed to treat major fractures to the head and upper torso. The products currently available can create complex complications after surgery, but the Bimar Ortho approach is to assist orthopaedic surgeons via a digital web-platform, which suggests patient-specific operation techniques allowing them to use the required cage, plate and screws with greater precision.
“We’ve teamed up with a specialist digital company to provide a portal for pre-op planning through virtual and tangible three dimensional (3D) models,” says Edwards. “Our software will save considerable time in the operating theatre, and because surgeons can study precise information about each patient, the procedures will be far more accurate than previously.
“We are in the final trial stages, and when our system is fully tested, we plan to launch it in the UK, most likely through a partnership with a major hospital NHS Trust.”
“The key to this region’s life sciences growth is its research and development (R&D) facilities and renowned clinical trial capabilities, coupled with its unique demographic advantages,” says Mewis. “With local, regional and national support networks to help with accessing investment and funding, we are poised to capitalise on our ecosystem of assets to create a globally significant resource for the life sciences industry.
“Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do, and I’m delighted to welcome Bimar Ortho, an innovative international business, to Medilink membership and to the West Midlands.”