Sunday 26 May 2019

Medtech firms set for New York healthcare deals

Irish-led Northwell offers access to US market in 'inspirational' partnership, writes Michael Cogley

Michael Dowling of Northwell
Michael Dowling of Northwell

New York's largest health provider is set to complete deals with three Irish medtech startups, initially worth more than €500,000.

Northwell Health, led by Limerick native Michael Dowling, will use the products and systems of the Irish companies in its own network in the US. The agreements are the latest in a line of investments made by the company through a partnership with Enterprise Ireland (EI).

The US business accrued revenues in excess of €11bn last year and employs more than 66,000 people across the east coast of America. Closure on the deals is expected in the coming weeks.

Dowling, who sits on the North American board of the Smurfit School of Business in UCD, described the talent pool in Ireland as "unbelievable". "Being Irish and having people that work for me who are also from Ireland, we wanted to develop a relationship to invest in businesses and develop connections. Ireland was a logical place," he said. "We wanted to see how we could provide them with an avenue into the US market and also figure out how we could do some new creative things. It has been a phenomenally good relationship up to this point. It's been inspirational."

Northwell has evaluated 90 Irish startups since the partnership with EI began. So far three companies, Technopath Clinical Diagnostics, i360 Medical, and Salaso Health Solutions, have gained the backing of Dowling's company.

Technopath is a developer and manufacturer of quality control systems for laboratories, while Salaso provides online care software for physical rehabilitation. Both companies now have their products used throughout Northwell's network of hospitals, ambulatory services, and homecare set-ups. Technopath's systems were tested in a Northwell lab for more than a year before the US firm decided to enter into a joint venture.

Dublin-based i360 acts as an incubator for ideas that can improve the current health system. Dowling was speaking ahead of a two-day EI conference in the Aviva stadium. Delegates from 15 of the most influential health firms in the US and Canada will attend and present at the event.

He will also be briefing members of the HSE on the best way to address the problems in the health system, including overcrowding in hospitals. Dowling said that it will take a "complete cultural change" to move services such as imaging and surgeries outside of the country's hospitals.

EI has set up the event to push its agenda of increasing exports to North America.

Doreen McKeown, manager of EI's Boston and Chicago offices, said the Northwell tie-up had been "hugely beneficial".

"Our strategic partnership with Northwell Health and other leading healthcare providers in the US, such as Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, also endorses Ireland's status as a global leader in innovative healthcare solutions," she said.

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