The GTMA Medical Cluster
The GTMA formed a cluster of member companies interested in working in the medical sector in March 2020, anticipating the need for an immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing medium/long-term growth in the global requirement for medical devices and other manufacture. Initially 40 companies joined this initiative, but the number has grown steadily to over 90.
Early activity of this cluster was in response to the demand generated by the UK ventilator call and specifically to provide a supply chain to make CPAP devices form UCL. Other projects have followed, and we expect growth of interest in this sector to continue.
The GTMA are continuing to build up intelligence and connections into the UK medical manufacturing supply chain, identifying commercial opportunities for member companies. At the heart of this is the medical device market, which is growing at an exponential rate, but it also includes containers, hardware, fittings & fixtures, PPE, laboratory equipment, and many other componentry items.
Understanding the market
The UK is the third largest medical device market in Europe, and the sixth biggest globally. From an estimated value of £7bn in 2015 it now exceeds £12bn, reported by market analysts.
A more detailed and comprehensive report was published in 2019 by the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN). The AHSN report uses the phrase ‘MedTech’ to define the development, manufacture, and selling of medical devices. It further identifies that 84% of all companies involved in this sector are SME’s, 53 large companies with over £50m turnover are driving the UK market forwards. The report can be found here (https://www.ahsnnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/MedTech-Landscape-Review-AHSN-Network.pdf).
Medical devices range from syringes and wheelchairs to pregnancy test kits, pacemakers, and x-ray machines. According to a report from the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) in 2009 there were over 10,000 different medical devices based on mechanical, electrical and/or materials engineering. They concluded that the UK is a net exporter and the sector employed 50,000 people at that time.
A perspective from a UK medical device manufacturer
Morgan Innovation and Technology Ltd (Morgan IAT) is a company based in the South of England
with over 30 years’ experience in the medical device sector (https://morgan-iat.co.uk/). They design, develop and manufacture innovative products for the medical and commercial industries. By using their Innovation2Income ecosystem, consisting of R&D, Manufacturing, Commercialisation and Funding they give partners the best chance of getting their products to market.
Speaking at a recent GTMA Medical Cluster webinar Nigel Clarke, CEO of Morgan IAT stated:
“Our passion for innovation is at the heart of why we do what we do. Whilst we pride ourselves on getting new ideas to market with both parties securing a fair return, our focus is not on the bottom line, but on whether we can make a positive impact on society whilst running a successful business. We provide a professional, innovative service from project initiation right through to the product going to market. Our 5-stage plan covers key factors such as market research, design, specification, costs, client involvement, product development and manufacture. We continue to pursue development opportunities with both individuals, SMEs and multinationals through a variety of approaches and seek to bring further innovations to market that have the potential to improve the world in which we live.”
Through developing relationships with Morgan IAT and other device developers and manufacturers the GTMA can identify to member companies any opportunities for supply chain activity.
Nigel Clarke bio: As CEO of manufacturing firm Morgan Innovation and Technology, Nigel is in the business of developing new products that have a significant positive impact on society. His company works with highly talented inventors to develop their products, supporting them with expertise in electronic engineering and providing services from R&D to bringing products to market. Morgan has grown under Nigel’s leadership both in size and turnover and has won numerous industry awards for innovation and enterprise.
James Quest bio: James joined Morgan IAT in 2013 after 12 years developing rugged tracking, sensor and video solutions for the surveillance industry and in his role as CTO is jointly responsible with Nigel for the company strategy and growth. He has overall responsibility for company security and technology roadmaps and also oversees the R&D, Operations and Quality Assurance activities. Holding a first class BEng Honours degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from the University of Portsmouth and an MSc in Applied Digital Signal Processing from ISVR, University of Southampton, James is also a Member of the IET and a Chartered Engineer.
Where to next?
This is a very important market now, medium and long term with the UK in a leading position globally. As demand grows for ever more complex devices the alignment and capacity of the manufacturing supply in the UK is vital. The GTMA will continue its penetration of this sector and raise awareness of opportunities to members. We expect to see the diversification of manufacturing supply chain companies continue. The exacting standards required by the medical sector are ideally suited to those companies currently operating predominantly in aerospace and other high-tech industries.