HealthBeacon launches new lab in Dublin to improve needle disposal

8 Apr 2022

From left: HealthBeacon CEO Jim Joyce, Novartis Ireland general manager and country president Audrey Derveloy, and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, TD, at the launch of the HealthBeacon Green Labs today. Image: Philip Leonard

The facility will provide a sustainable way for Novartis patients to dispose of medical needles.

Irish medtech company HeathBeacon is creating a new hub in Dublin to focus on R&D for sharp medical waste and promote a circular economy.

Its Green Labs facility was launched today (8 April) in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and its first Green Labs partner, pharmaceutical company Novartis Ireland. The goal of the partnership is to give patients on injectable Novartis treatments a way to sustainably dispose of their medical waste.

HealthBeacon is a Dublin-based digital therapeutics company that was founded in 2013 by CEO Jim Joyce and CTO Kieran Daly.

The company has developed a Smart Sharps Bin and companion app, creating an injection care management system that aims to help patients manage injectable medications, adhere to treatment schedules and safely dispose of used sharps.

With the new Green Labs initiative, a Smart Sharps Bin will be given to Novartis’s rheumatology, dermatology and neurology patients. Technology within the bin lets the patient know it is nearing capacity. The full bin is collected from their home, undergoes a validated washing regime and is then returned to the patient, to provide an environmentally friendly service.

An estimated 16bn injections are administered worldwide every year, but not all of these needles are properly disposed of, according to the World Health Organization.

“Unfortunately, today billions of injectable waste devices and hundreds of millions of sharps bins end up in household trash, landfills or incineration facilities,” Joyce said. “Today, in partnership with Novartis in Ireland, we are taking a major step in reversing those unsustainable practices.”

Speaking at the launch event, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, said this generation needs to take care of the planet to pass it on in a better condition than we inherited it.

“A big part of this involves using fewer of the Earth’s resources and recycling, repairing and reusing materials more often,” Varadkar said. “It’s called the circular economy.

“Medical waste I know can be a particular challenge given the need to make sure quality and safe standards are high and consistent and sterile to prevent infection. But there are solutions.”

HealthBeacon had a busy 2021, with a multimillion-dollar deal in June leading to plans to triple its team and a funding round at the end of September that raised €6m. Last December, the medtech went public on Euronext’s growth market in Dublin, raising a total of €25m.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic