Full event recording, Pathways to Success: Key Learnings from NZ's HealthTech Sector
Last week, around 200 attendees tuned into TIN’s first ever, fully virtual event for an in-depth discussion around the key learnings from the NZ healthtech sector and the findings of the inaugural NZ HealthTech Insights Report 2020, produced by TIN in association with the Consortium for Medical Device Technologies (CMDT).
TIN Managing Director, Greg Shanahan, and Co-founder of CMDT, Dr. Diana Siew, provided a deep dive into TIN’s data on the top companies in the healthcare technology sector, which combined form the largest secondary sector in the NZ tech export industry tracked by TIN, boasting $1.9B in total revenue and $92m revenue growth last year.
- Exports have driven the healthtech sector’s success, with 88% of revenue coming from export sales and North America its largest market.
- Healthtech is an important social and economic contributor to New Zealand’s economy, employing nearly 7,500 people globally with 35% of its revenue invested in wages and salaries.*
- Three New Zealand healthtech companies earned revenue of more than $100m last year with the largest, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, earning revenue of more than $1B.*
The sector is poised for further growth, fuelled by unprecedented need, government and industry support, and academic and research excellence.
Greg Shanahan also noted how the HealthTech Insights Report, initially developed in late 2019 following the publication of the annual flagship TIN Report, has taken on a new relevance and resonance in the current global situation around COVID-19.
“Now more than ever, the world needs effective solutions to big health problems. The data in this Report shows that Kiwi companies are already delivering the kind of healthcare solutions that are in high demand globally, and that we are home to talented Kiwis with the smarts to address the toughest new health problems facing the world today,” he said.
Dr. Siew also highlighted several healthtech companies that have responded to the COVID-19 crisis, with either existing technologies or the development of new products to meet demand, including Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, QSI, The Clinician, WebTools, Elbaware, Orion Health, Tend, Orbis, DSL Logistics, Ubiquitome, and Avalia Immunotherapies.
“New Zealand has built a tech ecosystem that can support the innovation that’s needed, both doing what we already know best as well as creating new responses,” she said. “COVID-19 has presented one of the biggest opportunities in our lifetime for healthtech to lead New Zealand’s economic growth, and we believe it will gain traction very quickly with the right focus.”
Following the data summary, an esteemed panel of healthtech sector specialists joined the discussion, including Maxine Simmonds, Executive Director of Cure Kids Ventures; Brian Ward, CEO of Aroa Biosurgery; and Jonathan Lucas, partner at IP law firm James & Wells.
A key question for the panel asked what they believed has been the secret to the success of the HealthTech sector in NZ and how could this be leveraged in a world now facing the challenges of COVID-19.
Maxine Simmons said: “I think it’s about excellence in world-class medical research. We have a good strong industry base in New Zealand that’s generally well connected. We talk with each other, we’re multi-disciplinary, lateral thinking, pragmatic problem solvers – and this approach is already being leveraged by many companies we’ve invested in to address COVID-19 – such as Aroa Biosurgery, Avalia, and The Clinician – so as an industry we are already facing the challenge. It’s happening!”
“Now more than ever, the world needs effective solutions to big health problems. The data in this Report shows that Kiwi companies are already delivering the kind of healthcare solutions that are in high demand globally, and that we are home to talented Kiwis with the smarts to address the toughest new health problems facing the world today.”Greg Shanahan - Managing Director, TIN.
Jonathan Lucas said: “I think the secret to the success of the sector is the people we have in New Zealand. We have a highly skilled, highly educated, diverse population with people from all walks of life and geographies. When you put those people together in an environment where doing business is pretty easy you breed that kind of success. This diversity is particularly beneficial in the healthtech sector because all aspects of technology come together in this industry – mechanical engineering, electronics, biotech, software, pharmaceuticals, etc. Having all those people in an environment where they can collaborate is bound to help us face the challenges of COVID-19, and we’ve already seen a huge number of new innovations that aim to tackle the problem.”
Brian Ward said: “People in New Zealand healthtech companies have a real ‘can-do’ attitude, and our people are good at sorting out complex problems quite quickly. I think that’s a cultural aspect of New Zealand. We’re good at working in teams to achieve things. It’s what makes the country quite innovative and what makes healthtech companies successful internationally.”
During the event, TIN also polled attendees to gauge their views on the ability of New Zealand’s healthtech sector to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19.
Two-thirds of attendees, who represented a wide range of healthcare technology organisations, agreed that the sector was well-positioned to pivot in the face of the current global pandemic, while a third said the sector had the ability to become a global force in healthcare technology.
Attendees also agreed that the greatest challenge to the sector’s success was the inability to attract investment in the face of economic uncertainty, followed by the challenges of incubating innovation through a lack of IP knowledge and reaching export markets at a time when all supply chains were shuttered worldwide.
*2019 TIN Report figures
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