Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Five European hotspots where medtech is booming


Business still booms across the continent, as does innovation and R&D. Here Kathryn Reilly highlights some of the best places to interact with fellow medtech developers

medtech hotspots

1. Berlin, Germany

Population: 3.47 million

Biggest company: Roche

Not simply a great place to visit and the coolest place to work, Berlin is proving very attractive to medtech companies and startups alike. What the current 300 medtech and 240 biotech companies and 30 pharmaceuticals manufacturers have discovered is that the city has the perfect balance of low living costs, a willingness to take risks and proximity to research development teams. The city can boast more VC deals than London plus it has Europe’s largest university clinic, Charité, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine and the Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin.

Ones to watch:

Find out more about the innovation opportunities in Germany, the world’s third largest medtech market. 

2. Galway, Ireland

Population: 79,504

Biggest company: Boston Scientific

15 of the top 20 medtech companies on the planet – or 8 of the top 10 – are now based are now based in Ireland. Only Minnesota can compete with that. Over 300 companies employing 29,000 people make Ireland the second largest employer of medtech professionals in Europe, and a third of these are based in Galway. Knowledge transfer from the University has been key, as has the skilled labour force and support that startups are offered. The fact that there’s been serious investment in the field since the early 1970s has built strong foundations in the city. And CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices, opened at NUI Galway last year.

Ones to watch:

Find out what attracts so many medtech businesses, big and small, to the Emerald Isle. 

3. Eindhoven, the Netherlands

Population: 223,209

Biggest company: Philips

Why design more than matters in medtech – KOLs discuss the future

In this next article, McKinsey & Co’s Thomas Nilsson and Benedict Sheppard speak with three leaders about how the discipline is improving medical products and driving innovation.


Eindhoven has been a tech town for generations. Healthcare giant Philips has been in this town since the 19th century, and has been integral in forming the High Tech Campus Eindhoven. This bustling hub has 150 companies and institutes, and some 10,000 researchers, developers and entrepreneurs working on developing future technologies and products. In September 2017, a new batch of startups from all over the world (including Korea, Mexico and Israel) will come over to join the three-month accelerator program HighTechXL.

Ones to watch:

Find out more about how Philips helps bolster the Dutch medtech startup scene.

4. Alsace, France, Germany and Switzerland

Population: 1.873 million

Biggest medtech company: Siemens

Dubbing itself a ‘scientific goldmine’, the Alsace Biovalley is home to 150 medtech companies – the highest concentration of health researchers and companies in Europe. The physical location of the Biovalley certainly explains some of its success – it’s slap bang in the middle of Europe. And because of an entrepreneurial attitude, the region has been able to assist the creation of around five new medtech startups per year. Areas of specialism include robotic keyhole surgery, implantable medical devices, simulation and modelling tools, drug delivery, and neuroscience. In total, the Biovalley has been behind 492 regional collaborative projects over the past ten years. They can also offer up to 60 per cent public funding for public-private partnerships.

Ones to watch:

5. Tallinn, Estonia

Population: 413,782

Biggest medtech company: Bayer

Estonia has grown to become the ‘European Silicon Valley’ since gaining independence in 1991. It’s a forward-thinking nation and because it’s a new one, digital connectedness is at the heart of everything from citizenship to health. Estonia was also the first country to declare that access to the internet should be a basic human right. 97 per cent of the country’s prescriptions are digital, 5 per cent of the population are gene donors and the new nationwide Personalised Medicine initiative is a potential partner to many international co-operations. Tallinn’s Science Park Tehnopol is the overseer of Estonia’s vibrant healthtech cluster, Connected Health, which has 56 members with five different areas of focus and works with the University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology and Tallinn University. The cluster states that it is ‘committed to accelerate the adoption of connected health solutions, at scale on commercial terms’.

Ones to watch:

About the author

Journalist and editor Kathryn Reilly has worked in consumer, contract and medical writing for more than 20 years.

Related articles

Expert Insight

The European public-procurement opportunity: delivering value in medtech

The magic of innovation: Interview with Billy Cohn, MD

The MedTech Roadmap: a medical device’s journey from concept to market

An introduction to Beth Susanne – international pitch coach

Be first to know

Key resources


You're the expert! Write for The Engine or share your articles, papers and research

Add your content

Add your content

Keep informed

Sign up for Ignition, our regular, ideas-packed newsletter

Sign in with social media

or with a username