The majority of Dutch companies in medical technology are located in North Brabant. Given the importance and potential of the sector for Brabant and the Netherlands, Brabant Development Agency (BOM), Brainport Development, and Rabobank mapped out Brabant’s MedTech sector. In an in-depth study, researchers looked at the nature and size of those companies, the domains they focus on, the technologies they use, where the opportunities lie, and how the three parties can together strengthen the MedTech sector in Brabant towards the future.
This led to five joint tasks that will make the sector a growth engine for now and in the future.
The province of North Brabant occupies a leading position in the Netherlands when it comes to companies active in medical technology. 20.1% of all Dutch MedTech companies are located in Brabant, the largest concentration of those companies (totaling 55% or 183 companies) is in Brainport Eindhoven. The research conducted by Brabant Development Company (BOM), Brainport Development, and Rabobank confirmed the picture that Brabant’s MedTech sector can be a serious growth engine for the province.
The MedTech sector in Brabant
- Strong domain ‘diagnostics and medical imaging techniques
- A large number of MedTech start-ups
- Many companies working in complex mechanical engineering
The MedTech companies in North Brabant are active in very diverse medical domains and markets. The domain of “diagnostics and medical imaging techniques” is remarkably well represented. An important stimulus in this respect comes from Philips Healthcare, the world’s number 3 in this field. The domain is also a research focal point of the Eindhoven University of Technology. A second point that stands out is the large number of medical technology start-ups that have emerged from the strong start-up climate in Brainport Eindhoven. A final feature of the sector is that over a third of the companies (more than 100) are active in the chain of complex mechanical engineering. This medical technology manufacturing industry is partly a supplier to Philips Healthcare but also serves other medical technology OEM customers.
Five tasks to strengthen the sector in a focused way
As a result of the study, the BOM, Brainport Development, and Rabobank defined five joint tasks to further strengthen the MedTech sector in Brabant and raise its profile in a targeted way.
- Clustering of diagnostics and medical imaging techniques
- Strengthening the start-up ecosystem around MedTech
- Cooperation between SMEs and medical centers
- Connecting Brainport with Pivot Park
- International positioning of the MedTech sector
Task 1: Clustering of companies in the field of ‘diagnostics and medical imaging techniques’
All the elements for a strong cluster of Medical Imaging companies in Brainport Eindhoven are present. Brainport Development has therefore started mapping the value chain and cluster formation.
“If you look at which area of medical technology generates the most revenue worldwide, the diagnostics and medical imaging techniques segment is in second place,” explains Brainport Development Director Paul van Nunen. “In the future, the focus of health and care will increasingly be on preventing diseases and early diagnosis. In Brainport Eindhoven, we have a strong starting position with a complete value chain in diagnostics and medical imaging techniques. To capitalize on this potential, we will focus on further strengthening chain links and increasing innovation and competitiveness and the earning capacity of companies.”
Task 2: Strengthening the start-up ecosystem around Medical Technology companies
Start-ups are important in the development of new medical devices and therefore of great importance for the ecosystem. Continued attention to a support structure, facilities, and financing options so that start-ups can grow into scale-ups is important.
“The survey confirms that MedTech is a serious growth engine for the future,” says Paul Veendrick, senior relationship manager at Rabobank. “Rabobank sees it as its task to contribute with knowledge, network and financial services to an optimal Ecosystem and business climate for companies active in MedTech.”
John Paul van Heel, account manager Healthcare and Innovation at Rabobank adds: “These can be companies in the start-ups or scale-ups phase, but also large companies that embrace the potential of this growth.”
Task 3: Improving collaboration between SMEs and medical centers
Improving collaboration opportunities between SMEs, startups and hospitals is important to accelerate innovation in medical technology. Collaborative opportunities between regional top clinical hospitals and regional start-ups would improve the business climate. Brainport Development is working on optimizing this collaboration.
Task 4: Connecting Brainport Eindhoven with the life sciences and pharmaceutical sector at Pivot Park
In addition to strong medical technology activity, the province of North Brabant also has a strong life sciences and pharmaceutical sector concentrated at the Pivot Park in Oss.
“MedTech is a strong growing pillar of the Brabant economy and also contributes significantly to the societal challenges in terms of quality and affordability of our healthcare system, now and in the future”, said Brigit van Dijk – Van de Reijt, managing director at the Brabant Development Agency (BOM). “Here again we see the power of successful collaboration. It’s good to be working with TU Eindhoven, Pivot Park, High Tech Campus Eindhoven, and numerous leading Brabant entrepreneurs.”
Task 5: Positioning of the provincial MedTech sector on a national and international level
The fifth and final task is to strengthen the proposition nationally and internationally to contribute to a healthy and growing medical technology sector. Brainport Development, BOM, and Rabobank want to tackle these tasks with the joint ambition of strengthening the MedTech sector in Brabant and Brainport.