Nanotechnology is a field of research concerned with building things such as materials or devices on the scale of atoms and molecules. This technology is usually used to improve and revolutionize technologies as well as industry sectors like homeland security, medicine, transportation, food safety, and environmental sciences. Nanotechnology has been gaining momentum and started to line up in Medtech these days. It has the thinnest material in existence at one atom thick called graphene. Since these nanomaterials cannot be seen with the naked eye, they are being used in some exceptional ways such as ultra-small gold nanoparticles for bio-imaging and tumor visualization. These can also replace needles to improve vaccine delivery for Covid-19.
Many researchers are predicting that the global nanomedicine market is expected to reach US$482.99billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 11.9% from 2020-2027 by changing the realm of Medtech products. The American Medtech companies are turning to nanomedicine for improving patients’ healthcare. But as useful as it is, it comes along with challenges too. As the tiny particles are costly and difficult to handle. Let’s see reasons why U.S Medtech companies are turning around for their nanotech research.
The executive director, Dr. Lorraine Byrne of the Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) in Dublin, Ireland, said some groups of the U.S. Medtech companies have operations with Ireland because of the ecosystem of funding and other facilities. Few of the nanomedicine projects also utilize the facilities available through the Irish government and Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research. Particularly the U.S. nanotech companies are showing interest in IDA Ireland’s 25% R&D tax credit for RD&I expenditure for activities in a wide variety of science and technology streams.
Dr. Byrne explains that AMBER is also working with Johnson & Johnson in the orthopedic space around 3D bioprinting. The program focuses on printing 3D structures containing living biological cells and biomaterials for promoting bone and tissue regeneration, she adds.
According to Dr. Lorcan Brennan, a technologist in the Life Sciences Division of IDA Ireland, the government agency which is working with overseas organizations establishing functions there learning and researching about nanomaterials is imposing tasks. He states that fully outfitted labs staffed with skilled scientists have been the best location to develop nanomaterials. The other problem concerning the domestic companies is that in the U.S, such research is funded by the company itself.
To this context, Dr. Byrne adds that “Doing high risk, early-stage research in-house can be too costly. A company would have to place multiple bets on technologies that may or may not work to bring early-stage research. So de-risking their early stages of developing technology cycle can be beneficial”.
It is because of these things many companies of U.S Medtech have been manufacturing operations in Ireland to jump off to research of nanomaterials exploiting AMBER’s open innovation model as Dr. Byrne calls it.
The growing demand for nanotechnology requires a wide range of expertise which can be quite challenging to find in one place because material science is multidisciplinary. Sometimes even though the U.S companies tap upon the resources such collaborations are typically one-off.