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 the GTMA expects growth of interest in this sector to continue.

The organisation is continuing to build up intelligence and connections within 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 which also includes containers, hardware, fittings and fixtures, PPE, laboratory equipment and many other componentry items.

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, as 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 SMEs, 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.

Morgan Innovation and Technology Ltd (Morgan IAT) was a speaker at a recent GTMA Medical Cluster webinar. The company is based in the South of England and has over 30 years’ experience in the medical device sector (https://morgan-iat.co.uk/). It designs, develops and manufactures innovative products for the medical and commercial industries. By using its Innovation2Income ecosystem, consisting of R&D, manufacturing, commercialisation and funding, Morgan AIT gives partners the best chance of getting their products to market.

The company’s Nigel Clarke, CEO, said: “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 five-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. As demand grows for ever more complex devices, the alignment and capacity of the manufacturing supply in the UK is vital.

The GTMA says it will continue its penetration of this sector and raise awareness of opportunities to members. It expects 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.

Companies wishing to join the GTMA Medical Cluster should contact Dr Alan Arthur (alan@gtma.co.uk). www.gtma.co.uk