€68m Cúram medical devices research centre officially opened

26 Sep 2016

Medical device and circuit board. Image: science photo/Shutterstock

The Cúram scientific research centre has unveiled its €68m Centre for Research in Medical Devices, with the aim of developing devices for a multitude of chronic illnesses.

Based in NUI Galway, Cúram has contributed to a number of medical breakthroughs over the years, including the recent harnessing of stem cells to generate patient-specific heart tissue in a dish for the treatment of heart disease.

Having received €49m over the past six years from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and leveraged €19m in EU Horizon 2020 funding, the centre has now officially launched its latest division: the Centre for Medical Device Research.

Currently, 24 Irish and multinational companies are partnered with Cúram; including Boston Scientific, Cook Medical and Stryker Instruments.

In terms of target research, Cúram has said there is a strong demand for devices that could help those suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and heart disease.

With the opening of the new centre, Cúram believes that it will significantly reduce the time it takes to bring medical devices from concept to clinical application.

Will help develop next generation of researchers

Based on current estimates, the medtech sector is one of Ireland’s largest, with annual exports of €12.6bn and the employment of 29,000 people.

Cúram’s science director, Prof Abhay Pandit, said: “Chronic diseases are the particular focus of Cúram’s research.

“Working with industry partners and clinicians, we will better understand the ‘hostile environment’ of the body and advance medical devices to the next stage, where they mimic the body’s biology. We want to launch devices [that] are more effective for the individual patient, but more affordable to lessen the burden on healthcare systems worldwide.”

Cúram has six academic partners including University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, University College Cork, The Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, and NUI Galway, where it is based.

NUI Galway’s president, Dr Jim Browne, said the centre will help develop the next generation of researchers, as part of the MedTrain programme. This will see 31 researchers enrol with Cúram’s investigators as fellows in the next four years.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic