The health technology sector has been particularly busy in recent months, in the context of the Covid health crisis. And Jean-Philippe Arié, the manager of the Luxinnovation HealthTech Cluster, has not been idle: “Beyond mastering the new instruments put in place by the government, we have been listening to the companies in the sector and their difficulties and we have helped them to regain a certain stability. We then accompanied them in their economic recovery, via the Neistart programme,” he explains.
The cluster, in close collaboration with the Health Department of the Ministry of the Economy, has also been involved in analysing proposals for industrial innovation. It was necessary to find funding solutions or to speed up research, development and other production programmes for solutions and products to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus. “To do this, we relied, in particular, on RDI aid specific to the Covid situation”.
The repositioning of certain companies with products or services directly linked to the pandemic is one of the major observations made after these six months of crisis. “This positive aspect of the situation is obviously counterbalanced by the general negative impact that is a direct result of the global economic slowdown”.
Between now and the end of the year, the momentum of recent months should not slow down, even if the whole sector – and probably beyond – is preparing for profound paradigm shifts, both societal and economic. “We do not yet have a clear idea of the nature of these changes, as it may take some time to fully measure their effects. But it will still be a matter of taking stock to understand the long-term effects of the crisis. This will allow us to anticipate future solutions to deal with situations that are likely to recur”.
In the meantime, the hottest news from the Luxembourg HealthTech Cluster concerns the 10th edition of the Fit 4 Start acceleration programme. The start-ups selected on this occasion also come from the health technology sector. The members of the jury are currently studying the applications, which will lead to the announcement in early October of the companies that will finally be selected to follow the 16-week intensive support offered by the programme.
“We are also constantly working on the analysis of the sector, its structure and its players,” says Mr Arié. “We hope to publish an update of the mapping carried out over the last two years at the beginning of next year”. The last edition of this mapping, the result of an effective collaboration between the Ministry of the Economy, the Competitiveness Observatory, the HealthTech Cluster and the Market intelligence department of Luxinnovation, reported 136 companies active in the sector (80% of which are active in structures with no more than 10 employees) employing nearly 1,600 people. According to the latest available figures (2017), the sector generated an added value of €180 million, representing 0.35% of GDP.