Ireland punches above its weight yet again at MedTech Innovator

15 May 2023

Image: © igor/

Galway’s Xtremedy Medical emerged victorious at the MedTech Innovator pitching event last month, bagging a guaranteed place on the global accelerator.

Every year, some of the world’s most promising medtech start-ups gather in Dublin to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, hoping to bag a spot on the prestigious MedTech Innovator accelerator programme. And every year, Ireland punches above its weight at the event.

12 Irish start-ups locked horns with medtech innovators from around the world, including the US, Europe, Israel and Australia, at MedTech Innovator’s international pitching event in Dublin last month. This doubles the figure of six from last year, and three times the number in 2021.

What’s more, Xtremedy Medical, the Galway-based medtech that makes surgical devices to address deep tissue and bone infections, emerged as the winner of this year’s event, bagging a guaranteed spot on the global accelerator.

Held at the Shelbourne Hotel, the event was organised in partnership with Trinity College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland as part of their Knowledge Transfer consortium, which aims to improve the sharing of expertise, process and procedures.

‘An event like no other’

A previous winner of Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas showcase in 2021, Xtremedy beat fellow finalists Happitech, Tympulse Medical, Plio Surgical and Robeauté. Both Tympulse and Plio are Irish medtech start-ups based in Dublin.

Xtremedy has developed a surgical device that aims to increase the effectiveness of surgeries that address bone and deep tissue infections by delivering electric signals through wounds – both at the surface and below – to zap any residual infection.

Traditional methods of treating these infections are often long and difficult, with many patients requiring follow-up surgeries or, in some cases, amputations. Xtremedy’s tech is non-thermal, which it says preserves the integrity of wounds after treatment, reducing the time taken to heal.

“We’ve seen in recent years that infections are a huge and growing need that affects all of us and this resonated with the audience and judges alike,” said Lyn Markey, a University of Galway researcher who co-founded Xtremedy with Camille O’Malley during a BioInnovate fellowship in 2018.

“This win demonstrates the confidence in Xtremedy’s technology to make a real difference to patient outcomes. MedTech Innovator is an event like no other, giving start-ups with cutting-edge innovations access to leading industry experts including corporate leaders, investors and strategic partners.”

This year’s MedTech Innovator competition promises to award a total of $800,000 to promising medtechs, including a new $300,000 prize for mid-stage companies.

“After an exciting few days with MedTech Innovator in Dublin, we’re excited to begin the programme in June and build on connections we have made. We’re currently fundraising to bring this technology to patients so this win couldn’t have come at a better time,” Lyn added.

Ireland’s strong medtech ecosystem

Paul Grand, chief executive of California-based MedTech Innovator, really put Xtremedy’s win in perspective when he revealed that more than 1,800 companies applied to be a part of the accelerator this year.

“We’re looking for companies that we think have an important product, but we want to make sure they don’t make mistakes that are avoidable,” Grand told during the pitching event.

Last year, Grand said in an interview with that he is a “big fan” of the Irish start-up ecosystem and is impressed by Ireland’s strong performance at the event every year.

“The Irish medtech ecosystem, particularly in Galway and Dublin, is amazing. Many MedTech Innovator companies that made it to the finals over the years have been from Ireland,” he said at the time. “Almost every time, we have somebody up on the finals stage from Ireland.”

And this time, we had a winner.

However, Grand noted that the location of the pitching event has no bearing on Ireland’s strong performance.

“We have judges that flew in from all over the world to come here, because they could see Irish innovation as well as innovation from other parts of the world and they know that they’re going see great technology,” he said last month.

“So that’s where we’re back here, and I’m sure we’ll be back next year and every year after that.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic