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Tech Innovations in Health: MedTech main trends

The European medical device market has been 10 years on the rise, growing by 2% on average every year. In 2023, it was worth $145.79 billion, and it is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 4.09%, reaching $178.15 by 2028. In the last few years, Europe has become a leader in innovation in the medical technology industry thanks to several initiatives. For example, numerous opportunities within the framework of Horizon Europe exist to boost the medtech sector, such as the Innovative Health Initiative (IHI).

The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI)

The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) is a public-private partnership between the European Union and the European life science industries, funded under the EU R&I funding programme Horizon Europe.

IHI main objective is to use health research and innovation to produce real benefits for patients and citizens, ensuring that Europe remains at the cutting edge of interdisciplinary, sustainable, patient-centric health research.

IHI will run from 2021-2027 with a budget worth €2.4 billion:

  • 50%, €1.2 billion comes from Horizon Europe, the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation,
  • 41%, €1 billion will come from the IHI industry partners,
  • And the remaining 8.3%, €200 million, will come from other life science industries or associations that decide to contribute to IHI as contributing partners.

Medtech Patents

In 2021, more than 15,300 patent applications were filed to the European Patent Office (EPO) in the area of medical technology, which represented an increase by 0.8% in patent applications compared to the previous year. As the medical technology field accounts for 8.1% of the total number of applications, it is the 2nd highest among all industrial sectors in Europe.

Evolution of European patent applications and granted patents by technical field in 2021

Figure 1. Evolution of European patent applications and granted patents by technical field (2021). Source: Medtech Europe.

Top 10 technical fields in patent applications

Figure 2. Top 10 technical fields in patent applications. Source: Medtech Europe.

Medtech innovations for 2023

Following the information provided by Merrit Hawkins, these are some of the greatest innovations to watch in 2023:

  • mRNA technology: The businesses that created the COVID vaccines are currently working on developing further vaccines and treatments utilizing the mRNA technology. Pfizer has announced the start of clinical trials for an mRNA-based influenza vaccine and is collaborating with BioNTech on the development of an mRNA-based shingles vaccine.
  • Data integration & AI: Major advancements in data integration, including giving patients access to their complete longitudinal health records on their phones would result in significant benefits in healthcare. While machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can help in the creation of accurate summaries, progress in data management and integration must be made.
  • U-Scan: The Withings U-Scan is a new device for 2023 that measures biomarkers and metabolites in a person’s urine and sends the results to an app on their phone. It is put under the rim of a toilet bowl. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration still needs to approve the system.
  • Augmented & Virtual Reality: Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are being used more often in healthcare technology for physician education and training. In addition to helping with operations and reducing patient suffering, AR and VR may be utilized to view veins. The worldwide AR and VR healthcare market is expected to increase 22.5 percent between 2023 and 2027, reaching a value of $9.79 billion, according to the Irish research company Research and Markets.
  • 3D printing: Three-dimensional (3D) printing will continue to be utilized in healthcare in 2023 to create models, medical gadgets, specially made implants or joints, prostheses, skin cells for burn sufferers, and artificial organs.

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