Health focused startups and SMEs are being encouraged to pitch ideas to the Government-backed Health Innovation Hub Ireland. The Innovation Hub launched its latest national call which potentially gives select medical firms access to the Irish market. 

John Higgins, the Principal Investigator of the Health Innovation Hub, said that although Ireland has a strong medical startup scene, Irish health services have not excelled at taking advantage of it.

The Health Innovation Hub Ireland agenda, however, aims to improve the relationship between the Irish health system and medical startups by granting companies access to the clinical environment and health care professionals to test new products. 

Higgins commented, "When Irish businesses get to the point where their product needs testing, they traditionally don't think about the Irish health care system at all. Health Innovation of Ireland marries those two agendas together, it's a win for the healthcare and it's a win for businesses who have an invention for health care."


The absence of the Irish healthcare system can be further traced to Irish medical companies seeking overseas markets, according to Higgins.

Health Innovation Hub Ireland plans to increase the credibility of the Irish healthcare system and products through testing, use, and assessment by "their own health care system."

The collaboration between small Irish company Viclarity and two nurses in a community hospital is a recent example of both Health Innovation Hub Ireland and Higgins's work.

Higgins noted how Viclarity was working on a software package to look at the highly regulated financial sector in which two nurses in a community hospital said they are struggling with something similar. "Now they have spent the last few months working in a maternity hospital getting real life experience, working in the regulations that a health care system has to operate in 2018."

Higgins suggested that those interested fill out a short application by the end of August. Most companies will then have the opportunity to present their product or idea to the Health Innovation Hub Ireland. 

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MORNING BRIEFS - Asian markets are sharply lower this morning on fears of an escalation in the trade dispute between the US and China. Overnight US President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods - which would be in addition to the tariffs already imposed last week. That has pushed Hong Kong's Hang Seng down 2.7%, while the Nikkei in Tokyo is 1.8% lower. US and European markets also ended yesterday's sessions in negative territory.

*** British department chain Debenhams has slashed its profit forecast for the current year. In a trading update this morning the company said it now expected a pre-tax profit of £35-40m this year - compared to a market expectation of over £50m. It blamed competition and weakness in the British retail sector for the downgrade.

*** Origin Enterprises has reported a robust performance in the nine months to late April. The agri-services firm has also announced an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Brazilian headquartered Fortgreen Commercial Agricola.