By: Maureen Newman, UVC Biomedical Engineering Community Connector
In 2004, Welch Allyn, Con Med, Sensis (acquired by Saab in 2011), and Bristol-Myers Squibb came together to form a biomedical community in Central New York. Their vision was a network of companies that could learn from each other and share best practices in the biomedical industry. Originally pitching this mission to then-Senator Hillary Clinton, the group was told, “You need to help yourselves.” Their solution was to form MedTech, an association than now, just over ten years into the future, has expanded its reach across Upstate New York.
Nichole Wenderlich Owens, Manager of Marketing & Events at MedTech, sat down one-on-one with me in the Syracuse Tech Garden to discuss the benefits and unique features of the association that currently serves over 40 biomedical companies, 16 universities, and a whole cohort of service providers that work with the industry.
Maureen Newman: I noticed you have a very streamlined application. What criteria do companies need to meet to join MedTech?
Nichole Wenderlich Owens: All members must have an association with the biomedical industry. Our three membership levels are Primary for industry, Research for universities and colleges, and Associate for service providers such as lawyers, accountants, regulatory affairs professionals, etc. We also offer a special incentive for start-ups who are located inside a qualified incubator associated with a research institution or economic development agency. This option is extremely affordable, with a tiered membership of $100 for the first year. Over four years, the rate increases until it is equal to the normal rate for membership.
MN: At what stage in a company’s lifetime do founders and/or management find the most benefit from MedTech?
NWO: It is really up to the member what they get out of their membership. MedTech offers a wide variety of services including networking for professional and product development, advocacy, education through our events and training, and industry marketing and promotion for our members. We also have a purchasing consortium for members to receive discounts on everything from lab supplies to office needs, as well as member-only resources such as white papers, presentations, and savings on other industry associations and events. Additionally, members have the ability to join a wide variety of MedTech committees and affinity groups, which allow for direct interaction with other members on topics such as manufacturing best practices or regulatory and quality affairs updates. As such, the value of a MedTech membership is specific to each company versus saying one would find more value at a certain point in their company’s lifetime.
While some benefits are exclusive to members, such as purchasing from the consortium, most educational events are open to the public. We do have a few closed networking events that are members-only, but each is listed on our events page. Another excellent resource available to everyone is the Bio/Med Breakthroughs: Bio/Med Industry Report, which is the only industry report that provides data-backed insight on trends and the economic development impact of New York’s bioscience and medical technology (Bio/Med) industry.
MN: How is MedTech connected with other support organizations, and what makes MedTech stand out from these other resources?
NWO: We see other organizations as our partners and engage in cross-promotion for events, as well as leverage for education. We work closely with other organizations such as LaunchNY, who is very involved in our Pre-Seed Workshop, an event targeted to the start-up community that we hold on an annual basis in The Syracuse Tech Garden. Additional examples of relationships with other associations include CNYIBA, who offers a discount on membership to our members, as well as great events on international trade that have broad relevance to our membership. There are numerous other organizations throughout New York who offer expertise that we look to share as appropriate.
MedTech is specifically focused on the bioscience and medical technology (Bio/Med) community in New York State, which sets us apart from others. Our news, training, and shared resources are all for individuals and companies in the Bio/Med arena. We educate our members about trends and regulations that are important to them in our annual Bio/Med Breakthroughs: Bio/Med Industry Report, as well as on our website, through social media, and in our newsletters. The same is true for programming. We bring in speakers specifically from the Bio/Med industry.
MN: Have any of your member companies grown astronomically following application into MedTech?
NWO: Raland Therapeutics has had an enormous amount of success. One of our networking series is MedTech Metro, which highlights small business to the New York City investment community. Raland Therapeutics was featured in one of events. Because of that event, they were invited to join 43North and ultimately won $250,000.
MedTech connects New York State’s Bio/Med industry through collaboration, education and advocacy. We are an active association of over 100 pharmaceutical, biotech and medical technology companies, their suppliers and service providers and research universities. For more than 10 years we have boosted the success and growth of our members. To learn more, visit www.medtech.org.