This story is part of the life sciences sector series.
To learn more about export opportunities for companies in this sector, please also read Exporting key to success for Canada’s life science’s sector.
MEDEC is the national association created by and for the Canadian medical technology industry, and speaks on behalf of companies in the life sciences sector. ExportWise sat down with Brian Lewis, President and CEO of MEDEC, who answers some of our questions.
What are the major opportunities and challenges impacting Canada’s life sciences sector?
While Canada has some of the best research and development capabilities in the world, we continue to lag behind in the commercialization of technologies here at home. The good news is that governments and other health-system partners are recognizing this as being an issue and are beginning work to address this commercialization challenge.
What are the characteristics of successful life sciences companies?
In today’s marketplace, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to showcase the broader health-system value of their technologies and to back it up with evidence.
Successful companies recognize that with aging populations, health systems all over the world are looking for solutions that not only improve patient care, but also provide cost savings that contribute to greater health system sustainability. Innovative technologies can enable smarter, more efficient care. For example, technologies can contribute to patients being able to stay in their homes to receive care through innovations such as remote patient monitoring.
Please help us understand the role of exporting to Canada’s life sciences sector.
Exporting is critical to Canadian medical technology companies. Given the size of the Canadian marketplace and the challenges of commercializing a product in Canada, some companies exist exclusively by exporting to other markets.
Are supply chains are significant in this sector? If so, how can a Canadian company get into the life sciences supply chain?
Yes supply chains are very important for medical technology companies and it’s important for companies to understand how health systems operate in the countries where they want to do business. MEDEC often collaborates with partners to offer learning opportunities about exporting to certain markets. EDC and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service can also be of assistance and there are a number of consulting companies with expertise in this area as well.
Do you have any advice for small and medium enterprises in this sector?
Governments across the country are increasingly focused on seeing innovative companies succeed, so explore what resources are available to help grow your business. Also, regardless of size, all companies should focus on the value of their products to the patient, as well as the healthcare system.
What’s in store for Canada’s life sciences sector in the next year or two?
Export will continue to be critical for Canadian-based companies. At home, we’re likely going to see an increased focus on shifting towards value-based procurement for medical technologies in Canada, which is taking into account the broader system value of an innovation. This will coincide with continued efforts by governments, industry and health-system partners to increase the commercialization of technologies in the Canadian marketplace.