WAG Must 'Act Fast' to Help Medical Businesses Grow; an Industry Representative Explains the Opportunity Wales Has to Take Advantage of Rising Health Standards, Writes Robert Llewellyn Jones

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Llewellyn

WALES' life science industries could miss out on the world's fast-growing medical technology market without more support from the Assembly Government, according to a leading expert in the field.

Gwyn Tudor, Forum manager for Medi Wales, said the global market for health technology is growing at 10% per year as the populations of China and India are exposed to Western standards of medical care. This is creating a huge demand for technology and purchasing on an unprecedented scale that Wales' life sciences sector could take advantage of.

ButMrTudor said: "Only the WAG has the resources to represent Wales plc and improve the opportunities for Welsh companies to prosper in these markets.

"This revolution in those countries could pass us by since there are organisations all over the world only to happy to service those requirements.

If we want to be there we have to act fast."

Medi Wales was established in 1992 as a collaboration between the now defunct Welsh Development Agency (WDA) and the life sciences sector. It currently has 1,200 members comprised mostly of private companies.

Medi Wales ensures that its members are aware of what is going on around them and know that academic expertise is on their doorstep in various university departments.

For its part academia can understand the industrial perspective which is important when companies are looking to engage in and commercialise intellectual property. Mr Tudor said: "Wales has a flourishing life science sector.

"Having our own National Health Service, shorter lines of command and smaller management structures means we have significantly greater opportunity to impact on research and development in terms of clinical trials, evaluation and procurement." Commercially, life sciences encompasses products involving biological systems either in their manufacture or use. This includes pharmaceutical products, biological technologies and diagnostic equipment for use in surgeries or laboratories.

Mr Tudor said: "We have some superb companies in the diagnostic business making equipment which is used to diagnose illness or infection in a patient. Companies like Clinical Diagnostics in Bridgend and a division of Siemens in North Wales are some of the larger companies.

"We also have small clever companies coming up with new diagnostic tools which can be bought over the counter and used at home rather than sending tests off to a laboratory. …