Twente asks State to co-invest in development of MedTech cluster Twente
Medical technology is the growth diamond of the economy of Twente and Overijssel. In order for the Twente Medical Technology Cluster to grow into a leading player in Europe in 2030, it is necessary to invest now in facilities, capital and development capital. State Secretary Mona Keijzer received this message during her working visit to the Kennispark innovation campus in Enschede. The regional partners invite the government to co-invest in the development of the MedTech cluster Twente. This investment will bring better, affordable healthcare closer, as well as the accelerated introduction of new healthcare innovations, a strong economic region, employment at all levels, growth of businesses and retention of talent.
Capital, facilities and development power
The COVID-19 crisis has shown that it is important for the Netherlands to have its own medical supply chain. It must also be possible to bring innovations to the market quickly. The MedTech cluster proved its worth in the crisis and is ready to take the next step. Overijssel representative Eddy van Hijum, together with Jaap Beernink, director of ecosystem builder Novel-T, therefore offered the MedTech Twente investment agenda. State Secretary Mona Keijzer also received a request from several innovation campuses in the country, from Wendy de Jong, general director of Oost NL, for an acceleration fund for the construction of lab spaces. Jaap Beernink: “In order to realise regional and national ambitions, we need capital, facilities and development power for the first growth phase of startups. Growth companies on bio-nano need specific lab facilities to develop their innovations. However, these are very expensive and the knowledge institutes are now occupying them as much as possible”.
Remke Burie, Business Director TechMed Centre, agrees: “The TechMed Centre is equipped with the most modern infrastructure, ranging from research laboratories, preclinical testing grounds and simulated hospital environments. These facilities have proven to be essential in the rapid testing of innovations during COVID-19. In addition to extra capacity for medical labs, there is a need for implementation power. Bringing innovative ideas to the market and growing them requires capital and good guidance. Proof-of-Concept funding is much needed to give entrepreneurs the room to test feasibility and market potential”.
Create the preconditions for excellence’.
Researchers and entrepreneurs confirm the need for the requested investments. Ronny van ‘t Oever, director Micronit: “Developing a medical solution is complex. As an entrepreneur, you want the preconditions for development to be optimal. You would rather put your capital into product development and market introduction than into purchasing expensive medical facilities. In addition, it is essential that you create an entrepreneurial environment, with flexible lab facilities, the right financing and enterprising coaches. In this way, together you will ensure the necessary regional medical supply chain. Albert van den Berg, professor at the University of Twente and from his role at MESA+ chairman of NanoNextNL and Nano4Society, is also eager for extra development power: “The Twente region has an excellent reputation at both Nanotech and MedTech, from which a large number of successful spin-offs and scale-ups have already emerged. At the intersection of the top institutes TechMed Centre and MESA+, follow-up investments in the regional infrastructure for bionanotechnology are essential in order to grow faster and make a difference for patients”.
Eddy van Hijum, Provincial Executive of Overijssel: “By further developing the MedTech cluster in Twente, we are creating new, high-quality employment in Twente, with a spin-off for other parts of Overijssel. Medical technology is a key technology. Years of investment and planning have resulted in a vibrant ecosystem here in Twente, which we are keen to develop further. It would be nice if the State Secretary could recognise this strength of the East Netherlands, and join in”.
The total investment volume of the investment agenda for MedTech Twente is EUR 26.25 million. Of this, regional stakeholders intend to invest EUR 17.5 million. Twente is asking the central government for an investment of EUR 8.75 million.
About MedTech Twente
Twente has a solid MedTech cluster with three spearheads in terms of content: Nano Biotech, Artificial Intelligence/e-Health and Health Robotics. This top cluster has been developed in collaboration with regional knowledge and care institutions, entrepreneurs, governments and chain partners. The cluster is currently preparing to (co-)draw up a substantial application (>100 million euros) for the Growth Fund. By investing in MedTech Twente, the Netherlands will retain its top position for the best performing healthcare system in the Euro Health Consumer Index. The Twente region is expected to create 25% more jobs in research, development and production in 2030, with exports doubling.