Taoiseach Meets with SureWash at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle

Taoiseach Meets with SureWash at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle

Sean Bay demonstrates SureWash to the Taoiseach

Sean Bay, Sales Director and Co-Founder demonstrating the SureWash technology to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D. at the Pacific Science Center

An Taoiseach (Head of the Government of Ireland), Enda Kenny T.D. visited the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington on the 22nd of March to meet with the Enterprise Ireland technology company, SureWash.

Dublin-based SureWash have developed an interactive hand-hygiene training system with three core benefits – the ability to save money, time and lives – which the company now intends to leverage in the US market.

Since the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as “Obamacare”), the emphasis on cost-containment and reduction in the US healthcare environment cannot be underestimated. SureWash’s technology has the ability to save money by reducing the labour needed to train and audit hand-hygiene compliance – the first core benefit of the technology. Secondly, the technology can also save the time associated with hand-hygiene training and compliance by providing e-learning to healthcare professionals on hospital wards at their convenience.

Significantly, SureWash’s technology promotes effective hand-hygiene techniques which can lead to a reduction in hospital acquired infections and ultimately save lives. The importance of hand-hygiene in the US hospital environment should be underestimated – it is estimated that approximately 100,000 Americans die annually from hospital acquired infections with an associated cost for treating these infections of approximately $30 billion each year. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that 50% of these hospital acquired infections could be prevented by better hand-hygiene – validating the need for SureWash’s technology in the US hospital environment.

The purpose of the Taoiseach’s visit to the Pacific Science Center was to acknowledge the inclusion of the SureWash technology in a new health and wellness exhibition. The “WellbodyAcademy” is the first new permanent exhibition in the Pacific Science Center in more that a decade and was established to demonstrate good living practices in hygiene, nutrition, exercise and sleep.

The inclusion of SureWash’s hand-hygiene training system in the new exhibition was supported by a group of clinical experts associated with the Pacific Science Center. Furthermore, each of the three SureWash hand-hygiene training systems on display were sponsored directly by the Seattle Children’s Hospital – further validating the opportunity for SureWash’s technology in the US healthcare environment.

Following a demonstration of the SureWash technology, the Taoiseach congratulated SureWash’s Sales Director and Co-Founder, Sean Bay on their inclusion in the new exhibition and acknowledged SureWash as an example of an Irish technology company that had developed an innovative solution for a global problem. The Taoiseach made reference to the significant impact that SureWash’s technology had made in the Mater Hospital in Dublin and wished the company success as they introduce the solution to the hospitals in the US.

From Dublin, SureWash has forged strong links with the Seattle area through the use of Microsoft licensed solutions and the Microsoft Kinect Camera in their interactive training system and the Pacific Science Center where their technology is on display is strongly supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Also in attendance at the event were a number of SureWash’s key contacts in the Seattle area including representatives from Group Health Cooperative, Seattle Children’s Hospital and the North West Kidney Centers.

Find out more about SureWash at www.surewash.com or follow on Twitter @surewash!

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D. speaking at SureWash event at the Pacific Science Center

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D. speaking at SureWash event at the Pacific Science Center


Pictured from L to R: Scott Armstrong, Group Health Cooperative; An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D.; Dr. Sanford Melzer, Seattle Children's Hospital; Michal Anderson, Pacific Science Center; and Sean Bay, SureWash

Pictured from L to R: Scott Armstrong, Group Health Cooperative; An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D.; Dr. Sanford Melzer, Seattle Children’s Hospital; Michal Anderson, Pacific Science Center; and Sean Bay, SureWash

All photographs courtesy of © Shelly Oberman Photography

Irish Life Sciences Companies Explore Opportunities on US West Coast

At any recent life sciences gathering, there is a constant debate about the future of the venture capital model. Since 2000, the number of venture capital firms has halved and the amount of money available to VC firms to invest has also decreased significantly. For six Irish life sciences companies the 2013 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference provided an opportunity to grab the attention of potential investors, senior industry executives and key opinion leaders.

From a venture capital and business development perspective, the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco is arguably the most important event of the entire year for the health care sector.

In fact, the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference has had such a large impact on the life sciences community that a number of supplementary conferences aimed specifically at early stage technology companies now take place in conjunction with the main conference. While issues and trends in the US healthcare system, med tech and biopharma industries are discussed at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference – life sciences entrepreneurs such as Jerry O’Brien of Cork-based point-of-care diagnostic Radisens pitch their offerings and solutions to potential investors and partners at conferences like OneMedForum.

Genesis VMI – an Irish software company with an inventory management solution for the operating room environment – recognize that coming to the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is not just about attending seminars. Managing Director of Genesis VMI, Noel O’Hanlon commented that “it is really about the opportunity to meet with potential healthcare investors and potential technology partners from around the world – all in San Francisco for one week”.

This year, with six Irish life sciences companies ascending on San Francisco for this increasingly popular event, Enterprise Ireland organized a reception with some key opinion leaders, investors and deal-makers. Among the attendees, were Tom Loarie (Chairman of Mercator and also a member of Enterprise Ireland’s Medical Device Advisory Council – a group of experts in the US medical device industry that have an interest in helping Irish medical device companies succeed in the US), Nola Masterson (Managing Director of Science Futures – a life sciences investment firm), Randall Lashinski (CEO of Claret Medical – a catheter medical device company that has worked with a number of Irish companies), John MacMahon (COO of Maya Medical – a medical device company owned by Covidien and currently working with a number of Irish companies), Laurence McGrath (Executive Director US Healthcare Analyst at JP Morgan) and Bruce Jenett (Co-Chair of the Global Life Sciences Sector of, DLA Piper).

Other Irish life sciences companies in attendance included point-of-care diagnostic company, Biosensia; medical device company, Neuravi; drug discovery company, Sigmoid Pharma; and novel platform technology company, TriMod Therapeutics.

Hats Off To Texas

Hats Off To Texas


It’s one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the States – a centre for IT innovation, aerospace and defence manufacturing, beef barons and oil tycoons and home to the SXSW music and media showcase. And in March 2013, and it will be the destination for an Enterprise Ireland ministerial-led cross-sectoral trade mission.

In the latest edition of Enterprise Ireland‘s The Market magazine, Nick Marmion looks at why it’s hats off to the Lone Star State.

Texas is the second largest economy in the United States and the 15th largest in the world. What’s more, it’s the largest exporter of goods in the US: Texas currently grosses more than $100 billion a year in trade with other nations. It’s also home to 51 Fortune 500 companies, making it third in line after New York (with 57) and California (53). Irish companies with operations in Texas include Intuition, Kentz, Sercom, Firecomms, Icon and Trintech. But we believe the state presents further, and as yet barely exploited, opportunities for Irish companies to sell goods and services, develop partnerships and explore research linkages. In March 2013, we will co-ordinate a ministerial-led, cross-sectoral trade mission to Texas, taking in Dallas, Houston and Austin. This should be of particular interest to companies with solutions in the areas of:

  • Wireless telecoms, chip and ICT manufacturing
  • Medical device and IT for life sciences
  • Oil and gas
  • Smartfarm products for the dairy and cattle industries


One of the first industries to thrive in Texas after the civil war was cattle. Due to its long history as a centre of the livestock industry, Texas is associated with the image of the cowboy.

However, the state’s fortunes expanded in the early 20th century, when the oil started to flow. With strong investments in universities, Texas has developed a diversified economy and high-tech industry. Today, it is a leader in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace and biomedical sciences.


Texas is one of the major hubs in the US for computer components and systems, as well as software. The Austin area is often referred to as ‘Silicon Hills’ because of the concentration of semiconductor design companies. Dell’s headquarters are located in the city’s suburb, Round Rock. Dallas is the birthplace of the integrated circuit, and by some definitions, the birthplace of the microprocessor. The North Dallas area has a high concentration of IT companies such as Texas Instruments and EDS. In addition, Harris County-based Compaq was once one of the world’s largest computer companies, and since Compaq’s merger with Hewlett-Packard, HP currently employs more employees in the Houston area than anywhere else in the world.


Texas is a global leader in the energy industry, and Houston is the energy capital of the world. The known petroleum deposits of Texas are about 8 billion barrels – or approximately one third of known US supply. As wells are depleted in the eastern portions of the state, drilling has moved westward. Several of the major oil companies have headquarters in Texas, including Conoco Phillips, Marathon Oil (Houston), Exxon-Mobil (Irving), Tesoro, and Valero (San Antonio). In addition, many of the world’s largest oilfield services firms, including Halliburton, Schlumberger and Dresser, have made Texas home, and major pipeline operators, such as El Paso and Dynegy, along with diversified energy firms such as TXU and Reliant Energy, are also there.

Since 2003, Texas state officials have created various initiatives like the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund to develop the economy of Texas. Texas has become a leader in alternative energy sources, producing more wind power than any other state, and it has also invested in small-scale solar power and experimental wave power generators.


A large number of defence contractors are located in Dallas and Houston, creating strong employment for the state. Two divisions of Lockheed Martin have their headquarters in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worthis where the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the largest Western fighter craft – and its successors the F-35 Lightning II and the F-22 Raptor – are manufactured. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is headquartered in Grand Prairie.


Running from March 10 to 13, 2013, the Irish trade mission will coincide with the South by Southwest (SXSW) annual week of conferences and festivals. SXSW has become an increasingly important destination for Irish companies interested in the convergence of music, film, internet and emerging technologies, and we expect 30 to 40 client companies from these sectors alone to travel to Houston between March 8 and 17, 2013. So it’s come to Houston – and Dallas, and Austin.

For further information, contact Nick Marmion, Enterprise Ireland’s US West Coast Manager, nick.marmion@enterpriseireland.com, +1 650 294 4081.

Innovation to the Bone – Irish Life Sciences Companies at Orthopaedic Summit

Innovation to the Bone – Irish Life Sciences Companies at Orthopaedic Summit

Enterprise Ireland and a wide range of Irish life sciences companies have been attending the Medical Innovation Summit at the Cleveland Clinic for several years now, and despite super storm Sandy, 2012 would be no different.

The 10th annual Medical Innovation Summit took place at the end of October in Cleveland, Ohio and although the subject matter changes annually, the caliber of discussion, attendees and networking opportunities remains strong.

Irish companies such as X-Bolt Orthopaedics are an example of an Irish company with an innovative solution in the orthopaedic space – but with key opinion leaders, surgeons and decision makers from all areas of the US health care system attending the summit, Irish software, health technology, tele health and service companies all travelled to Cleveland, Ohio.

Despite the political gain associated with making references to the state of Ohio in the recent Presidential race, it should not be seen as a surprise that both President Obama and the challenger paid homage to the Cleveland Clinic in the first debate. Renowned for its efforts in technological innovation, the Cleveland Clinic was once described as the “Toyota factory” of the US health care ecosystem by Newsweek. With an annual spend of $450 million on research and development –  over 20% of their entire expenditure – it is easy to see why the Cleveland Clinic could be considered as the innovation epicenter of the US health care system.

There was no doubt that the summit was an innovation epicenter for the duration of the summit this October.

The event began with a special break-out session for the delegation of Irish attendees in the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center– a location where Irish companies Rigney Dolphin, Creganna-Tactx Medical and Proxy Biomedical have used to launch their US activities, increase exports to the US and ultimately create employment back in Ireland.

This year, the special breakout session for Irish attendees centered around a discussion on the purchasing process at large medical centers from Sean Lyden, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Supply Chain Management at the Cleveland Clinic.

Reduce cost, increase access and improve quality – the holy trinity for anybody involved in purchasing in the US health care industry. As far as the Cleveland Clinic or any other large medical center is concerned, if a vendor cannot demonstrate at least two of these features in their solution, then succeeding in the US is almost impossible.

While many Irish companies in the past have focused on a finding a large medical center as their first reference customer in the US, it is widely recognized that selling into such organizations can be a complex and time-consuming process. Ohio-based, management consultant Mark Saffran argued that targeting critical access hospitals, rural health clinics, nursing homes and assisted living centers are all alternative market-entry strategies that Irish companies should consider when looking at the US health care system.

With the special breakout session complete, over 1,000 CEOs, venture capitalists, innovators and health care leaders ascended on Cleveland for the start of the main summit.

With a dedicated exhibition space and platinum level sponsor exposure, Enterprise Ireland’s participation in the Medical Innovation Summit allows Irish companies to identify new business, partnership and collaboration opportunities.

Higlights of the summit included addresses from Kevin Lobo, CEO of Styker, Omar Ishrak, CEO of Medtronic and David Dvorak, CEO of Zimmer. Not to be outperformed by some of the leaders in orthopaedic technology, Watson – IBM’s supercomputer capable of answering questions posed in natural language – made a triumphant return to the Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit after devouring a number of leading cardiovascular surgeons in a game of Jeopardy! last year. This time Watson was back to announce that he will be attending medical school in an effort to learn everything your doctor knows and more. Primary care physicians everywhere beware…

Pictured above is the Bank of America Conference Center in the InterContinental Hotel on the Cleveland Clinic campus.

Health IT = Innovation Week Boston… Next Stop Ireland?

Health IT = Innovation Week Boston… Next Stop Ireland?


Looking at where VCs are putting their money is an easy way to identify sectors with perceived growth potential. The Affordable Care Act (known affectionately as “Obamacare”); a new additional 2.3% medical device tax; and continued uncertainty about the FDA approval process has led to big drop in VC funding dollars in the US life sciences industry in 2012. In fact, PwC have estimated that the medical device industry is down 30% in VC funding dollars and 22% in VC deals in Q2 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Remarkably, it does not seem that these challenges have impacted digital health, connected health, health technology or whatever term you might prefer to use. At the Health 2.0 San Francisco Fall event, the digital health accelerator RockHealth declared that VC funding dollars had increased by 70% and that VC deals had increased by 84% in Q3 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

So it should not be surprising that when Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick proclaimed that the third week in October would be known as “Innovation Week” in Boston that it was centered around two large health technology events.

The focus on the role of technology in healthcare began with a two-day event in the Massachusetts State House. The extensively named, “EU-US eHealth Marketplace & 2012 Transatlantic Health IT/eHealth Cooperation Assembly” was organised by the European Connected Health Alliance (ECH Alliance), the Northern Ireland Massachusetts Connection (NIMAC) and EU Commission. Essentially, the purpose of the event was to encourage the development of collaborations between the US and Europe in the area of connected health.

Among the attendees with a link to Enterprise Ireland were Irish companies SilverCloud Health and Cara Wellness whom exhibited and pitched their offerings at the assembly of 300 health tech executives, financiers, policy makers and health tech enthusiasts.

Headquartered in the National Digital Research Centre in Dublin, SilverCloud Health has a platform that allows healthcare providers and organisations to rapidly introduce health and wellness programs to their clients.

Through the collaboration of CASALA, ADA and Rigney Dolphin; CARAwellness has a technology that allows users gather information about their health from several technology sources so that they can keep an eye on their wellbeing and allow them share it with their carers. CARAwellness are able to do this through the use of medical technology, such as blood pressure cuffs, weight scales and sensors.

It was not just Irish health tech companies represented though – to promote eHealth Week 2013, Ciaran Cannon, T.D., Minister of State for Training and Skills concluded the two-day seminar with an invitation to all participants and their peers to come to the new convention centre in Dublin next May for the event – one of many conferences coinciding with Tourism Ireland’s “The Gathering 2013”.

Next up was the main event, the Connected Health Symposium 2012 presented by Partners HealthCare – the not-for-profit health care system that was founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Connected Health Symposium prides itself on being the place where healthcare and technology collide – and they’ve been colliding annually for 9 years now in Boston. The discussions ranged from the policy driving “meaningful use” to discussions on how Americans are embracing solutions for health and wellness voluntarily – an estimated 60% of US adults are tracking their weight, diet or exercise routine voluntarily (albeit about half of these engaged Americans are what Susannah Fox of the Pew Internet & American Life Project described as “self trackers” – those who track their health using the popular “skinny jeans test”).

There’s a lot happening in health tech in the US at the moment and next year at eHealth Week 2013 in Dublin, Ireland Inc. will have its opportunity to showcase what the Irish health tech community can bring to the table.

Picture above is the main hall in the Massachusetts State House at the EU-US eHealth Marketplace & 2012 Transatlantic Health IT/eHealth Cooperation Assembly.


Taoiseach Meets with Irish Life Sciences Companies in Philadelphia and Cleveland

Taoiseach Meets with Irish Life Sciences Companies in Philadelphia and Cleveland

In October 2012, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, participated in a two day Enterprise Ireland programme to visit a number of Irish life sciences companies in Philadelphia and Cleveland.

The programme began with the official opening of Zenith Technologies’ new US headquarters in Philadelphia. With its global headquarters in Ireland, Zenith Technologies provides automation and manufacturing execution systems (MES) engineering services to the life sciences industry.

Speaking at the event, the Taoiseach acknowledged that Zenith Technologies and other leading high-technology companies supported by Enterprise Ireland would continue to drive export growth, underpin Ireland’s economic prosperity and support valuable Irish jobs in the future.

Also in attendance at the official opening of Zenith Technologies’ US headquarters were Allyson Schwartz, the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 13th congressional district; and Kate Harper and Brendan Boyle – both members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The event in Philadelphia was followed by a visit to the Cleveland Clinic where it was announced that the Irish-based company, i360medical has formed a strategic partnership with the Cleveland Clinic and its Innovation Alliance. Through the partnership, i360medical will represent the European wing of Cleveland Clinic’s Innovation Alliance programme which includes North Shore LIJ, MedStar Health, Promedica and Notre Dame.

Derek Young, founder and CEO of i360medical noted that the collaboration would facilitate the commercialisation of technology and innovative ideas in the healthcare industry using Ireland as a launch pad for emerging companies.

Enterprise Ireland has a long established relationship with the Cleveland Clinic, and the partnership between i360medical and Cleveland Clinic is the result of introductions brokered by Enterprise Ireland.

Speaking at an event in Cleveland Clinic, the Taoiseach said: “I strongly welcome this latest successful outcome of the relationship that exists between Ireland and the Cleveland Clinic. Healthcare and life sciences is a sector that holds particular potential for growth and job creation and is a key sector in the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. This latest alliance is further endorsement of the international calibre of Ireland’s indigenous healthcare sector. The Government, through Enterprise Ireland, is keen to support and promote more strategic international collaborations such as this one to enhance innovation and generate break-through research. I trust that this will be a mutually beneficial alliance for both i360 Medical and Cleveland Clinic that will yield significant benefits for both organisations.”

The Taoiseach also met with a number of other Irish life sciences companies supported by Enterprise Ireland that have established a relationship with the Cleveland Clinic.

Pictured above from left to right at Cleveland Clinic: Dominic Considine; Richard Stack, M.D. Managing Director of Synergy Life Sciences Parnters; An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD; Derek Young, Founder and CEO of i360medical; Christopher Coburn, Executive Director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations; and Frank Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Ireland.