LISAvienna Business Meeting Review: Medical products, a success story for Austria, the high-tech site

On March 29, the LISAvienna Business Meeting took place under the slogan “medical products, a success story for Austria, the high-tech site” in collaboration with AUSTROMED, the ÖGBMT, and the Medical University of Vienna. Over 200 guests accepted the invitation to the Van Swieten hall.

AUSTROMED had already summarised the most important key points perfectly in a press release. Therefore, you will only find a few supplementary comments here.

Oskar Aszmann, Medical University of Vienna, mentioned in his keynote the interesting fact that hands constitute merely 2% of the human body weight, but approximately 30% of the cerebral cortex is designated to the hands. This demonstrates the complexity of the control processes and is a clear indication of the importance that hands play for people. Accordingly, it is important to develop solutions for people that have lost one or even two hands for varied reasons.

In the podium discussion, Peter Halwachs, the Vienna Business Agency’s representative in LISAvienna’s executive board, emphasised that the changes discussed pose great challenges to SME and, particularly, start-ups. In the future, 80-90% of companies that wish to bring medical products to market will require a notified body, instead of the current 10-20%. The diagnostics division is also affected. He mentioned that, over the past year, there have been four high-tech foundations in the diagnostics sector in Vienna alone. However, there are currently only 11 notified bodies for diagnostics in all of Europe, which hampers the economy.

Fredrik Debong, mySugr, stated that a wait time of roughly 6 months can be expected from an important notified body in the South Germany area, which is a significant disadvantage for start-ups, since financial margins are very thin.

AUSTROMED president Gerald Gschlössl stated that calls for tender are always about providing the most economical offer; innovations are insufficiently rewarded. Furthermore, he is missing a joint strategy of the reimbursing bodies.

Herwig Ostermann, Managing Director of Gesundheit Österreich, asked a question to illustrate the difficulty in health economic evaluations: If a person has a life expectancy of 95 years and this person currently is 85 years old - would it then be justified to implant a hip prosthesis with a 15-year shelf life into this person and not one with a 25-year shelf life if the former is less expensive? Answering this question is a sociopolitical challenge.

Applied research and Viennese start-ups in the spotlight

During the event, the Medical University of Vienna and innovative, young Viennese companies and start-ups presented their solutions. This, too, was a demonstration of how diverse the Viennese medical technology industry is. Everything was represented, from classic medical products to medical software and even diagnostics. In an exhibition area, visitors had the opportunity to directly meet companies and researchers and to learn more about new products and projects.

The following companies were represented in the exhibition area:

We would like to thank our cooperation partners for the great collaboration, the speakers and podium guests for their valuable contributions, the companies in the exhibition area for presenting their visionary products and services – and all our guests for the exciting discussions.

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