The Future of Health Tech and Medical Devices

Expanding your Medical Device Start-up internationally comes with more rules, regulations, and regulatory bodies than most other industries. But, the industry tends to operate on start-ups developing niche technology, and larger companies buying up the cream of the device crop. But not every Medtech start-up is a sure bet. In fact, only 25% of medical device companies ever make it to market.

What makes a great medical device start-up? A highly professional and technically skilled workforce is your first key requirement. It will take you anywhere from 3-7 years to enter a new market, so you also need the funds to sport said team. To remain competitive, ensure that some of the company has a strong ability to assess product-market fit and be able to adjust designs to remain competitive during your development cycle.

Overview of the Canadian Medical Device Market

The global medical device market is expected to grow from US$455.34 billion in 2021 to US$657.98 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 5.4%. Canada’s medical device market is US$7.5 billion in 2020, accounting for about 1.8% of the global market. In 2020, the key business segments of the Canadian medical device market were:

The global medical device market is expected to grow from US$455.34 billion in 2021 to US$657.98 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 5.4%. Canada’s medical device market is US$7.5 billion in 2020, accounting for about 1.8% of the global market. In 2020, the key business segments of the Canadian medical device market were:

medtech start-up north American quick guide
  • Diagnostic imaging (21%)
  • Consumables (15%)
  • Patient aids (16%)
  • Orthopedic and prosthetic (10%)
  • Dental products (8%), and
  • Other, including wheelchairs, ophthalmic instruments, anesthesia apparatus, dialysis apparatus, blood pressure monitors, endoscopy apparatus, and hospital furniture (30%)*

*( Note: may not add to 100% due to rounding)

TBDC is Toronto’s first start-up incubator, and we are grateful for our well-rounded group of mentors. Meet George Furtado, VP of Business Development for Launchpad Health, and the Global Head of Business Development for Britannia Life Sciences. He’s got decades of experience helping medical device and software companies increase revenue and profits, and improve sales and marketing operations. Here is some of his advice for expanding into the Canadian market.

One of the first things to remember about Canada is you’ll need local specialists who can help you understand our marketing, sales, and financing regulations. The geography of our county is quite large compared to the market size, so one salesperson for the entire country usually isn’t enough. Canada has been a predominantly hard market to crack because of established companies that physicians use. If you don’t have the resources to scale quickly it’s hard to compete with the large players. Because of this, many companies coming into the market will take a consortium approach.

Canadian Trade in Medical Devices

2015 to 2020, Canadian medical device exports increased from CAN$3.2 billion to $4.4 billion and imports increased from $8.6 billion to $9.9 billion. Like most industries, Canada’s largest trading partner is the United States. In 2020, the US was the recipient of 70% of our medical device exports. 

Why should you consider expanding your company straight into Canada and trade with the US? The Canadian healthcare system is organized and run at provincial levels. In Canada, you can’t just sell to the hospitals directly, and your contract lead time can take 6 months to a year and a half, and you need the production capacity to fill a large contract.
While building up, take advantage of our 4.8 million graduates who hold degrees in STEM or healthcare making Canada the 4th largest available talent pool of scientists and engineers globally.

The Canadian Government’s Support

The Canadian medical device industry remains innovative and competitive on a global scale by applying the research and analysis conducted by some of the top Canadian hospitals, universities, and other research institutes.

The Government has shown its support for the medical device industry by initiating federally funded research programs that can help exponentially in developing and commercializing medical technologies. If medical device companies need funding or professional advice, they can get in touch with the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Networks of Centres of Excellence, National Research Council, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.
What’s more, Canada is also providing tax incentives to businesses of all sizes to conduct research and development domestically. Medical device start-ups can utilize these tax incentives to get either cash refunds and/or tax credits for any eligible research and development they perform in the country.

Medical Device Industry Associations in Canada

Aside from the government grants and loans available to Medtech companies, Canada has multiple reputable industry associations for medical device companies that help with everything from industry knowledge and access to information to larger industry news and how it affects the medical devices industry. The Canadian-wide association is Medtech Canada, and the Ontario association is the Medical Device Reprocessing Association.

How to Move your Medical Device Start-up into the North American Market

Breaking into the North American market can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be hard. When looking to expand your medical device start-up globally, our incubator has 3 key performance indicators; 

  • Proven product-market fit
  • Proof of concept 
  • Strong founding team 

If your company has all three, we encourage you to apply for our Start-up Visa, as you’ve already done most of the hard work. If Mr. Furtado could impart one last piece of advice to you, it would be to truly understand the pace at which your target market works. Understanding what your client needs and when your sales process can be adjusted for any market you try to expand into. 

Want to know if your business is ready to take the next step? Book a call today

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