The UK Medical Devices and Diagnostics sector is a world leader. It is well placed to meet the demands of a growing and ageing population.
Continued support will be needed to ensure that this growing sector, of which SMEs comprise 99%, can continue to build on its strengths and achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
The UK’s approach in recent years has laid solid foundations for achieving this aim. Including the work of the HealthTech and Medicines KTN, a number of initiatives (outlined below) should help the sector reach its potential for the benefit of patients, the NHS and the UK economy.
High-level government support
- The Healthcare Industries Taskforce (HITF) - a joint initiative between government and the healthtech industries. HITF’s 2004 report, ‘Better health through partnership: A programme for action’ focused on market access, R&D and the industrial base, regulatory issues and international trade.
- The Ministerial Medical Technology Strategy Group (MMTSG) - established to take forward the recommendations of HITF’s Strategic Implementation Group.
The HealthTech and Medicines KTN is contracted to deliver the knowledge transfer activity associated with three innovation platforms:
- Stratified Medicines Innovation Platform (SMIP) - focuses on developing medicines and companion diagnostic tests that target smaller subgroups of patients.
- Detection and Identification of Infectious Agents Innovation Platform (DIIA IP) - supports the development of diagnostic tests that will help to reduce the social and economic impact of infectious diseases.
- Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP) - supports research and development in technology and services to help people to live with greater independence, at home and in their preferred communities.
Other publicly funded programmes
- Health Innovation Challenge Fund – a Wellcome Trust/Department of Health joint funding partnership, with funding of £50 million each. Its objectives include stimulating the development of innovative products, technologies and interventions for the benefit of patients.
- National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) i4i Invention for Innovation programme - aims to support early- and late-stage development of healthcare technology products, delivering increased patient benefit by assisting the translation to market.
- Two TSB pilot Healthcare Technology Cooperatives (HTCs) are being funded under the i4i programme. Devices for Dignity and Enteric aim to foster collaborative working between NHS clinicians, patient groups and industry, to catalyse the development of new products that will improve the lives of people with debilitating conditions.
National assets that are underpinning the development of medical devices and diagnostics and accelerating the journey to market include:
- The NHS National Innovation Centre works at national and international level with industry, academia and the NHS to accelerate the development and uptake of healthcare technology innovations.
- Cancer Research UK is developing cancer biobanks containing thousands of samples that will be available to companies for research into future diagnostic technologies and stratified medicines systems.
- With world-leading facilities such as The Sanger Institute in Cambridge, the UK is well positioned to commercially exploit developments in gene technologies in the field of in-vitro diagnostics.
The HealthTech and Medicines KTN Support Map provides an overview of the UK structures to help support UK businesses to innovate in the medical technology sector.