A focus on the positives? – Med-Tech Innovation

by Ian Bolland
19 May 2023
Ian Bolland offers a couple of thoughts on the recent unveiling of The MedTech Strategy and HSBC’s takeover of Silicon Valley Bank (UK). 
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It’s that time of year again where we all gather in Birmingham for the leading event for medical device manufacturing in the UK & Ireland – so for all of those reading this at Med-Tech Innovation Expo, welcome!
I could spend the entirety of this column focused on how great the show is, but you probably already know that by now if you’re reading this in Birmingham – and if you’re not, hopefully these opening couple of paragraphs and the show coverage in this issue will provide a timely reminder for you to attend Hall 2 at the NEC on 7-8 June.
But the focus of this column is going to be on two things. Shortly after the first issue of the year went to press was the UK Government’s release of the Medical Technology Strategy – the first of its kind which may demonstrate that our industry has been a little overlooked by successive governments, but it’s welcome it is being highlighted as an area that could help turbocharge the economy in the UK.
The second is the welcome move from the UK government to facilitate the acquisition of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) UK by HSBC under regulations that followed the financial crisis of the late 2000s.
Given the number of ventures that SVB was prepared to back that aided the emergence of promising medtech start-ups that may not have made it otherwise, it’s good to know that an institution that has shown willingness to support the smaller companies across technology has had its future secured. However, I believe there are question marks that remain in terms of the approach that will be taken towards start-ups in the sector, and any risk attached to them.
Nevertheless, that vehicle remaining for the growth of companies bringing new innovations to market is something that should be celebrated, and we are sure to keep a close eye on any changes it might bring about.
Coming back to the Medical Technology Strategy, I think if you are reading it and are expecting solutions at this stage, you are going to be a little disappointed.
I had the pleasure of attending an event in Westminster recently, organised by the Urology Trade Association, where I had a couple of discussions with those attending about the strategy. They seemed to broadly welcome it, but I asked what the solution is.
The aims are very difficult to disagree with, in fact a lot of the content is – aside from the odd instance where it reads as a political manifesto.
Maybe this was a way to get people on the same page, and maybe we will find out one or two nuggets throughout the course of the conference sessions at Med-Tech Innovation Expo. I am particularly looking forward to Heather Hobson from the Office for Life Sciences addressing attendees on The Life Sciences Vision, providing an insight into government priorities for the sector as well as a progress update on the key themes of the Vision.
The strategy itself at least starts a conversation about some potential solutions to address the four priority areas outlined: 
At the moment it seems vague, but lets hope the substance that follows is substantial. 
Med-Tech Innovation Expo takes place on 7th-8th June at the NEC, Birmingham. To register for FREE, visit www.med-techexpo.com.
19 May 2023
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