Govt R&D funding boost only solves part of problem

Published: Wed 12 May 2010 02:10 PM
Government R funding boost only solves part of the problem
While New Zealand’s medical technology industry welcomes the Government’s latest announcement of a $225 million investment over four years in science and research, its industry body is concerned the biggest barrier to export success remains.
“Our members say that international marketing is the biggest barrier to their success. For every dollar spent on research and development a further $5-6 is needed to sell the product into international markets. That’s where we believe the Government’s focus should be,” comments Medical Technology Association of New Zealand (MTAN) chief executive Faye Sumner.
MTANZ represents manufacturers of medical technology used in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and management of disease and disability. Companies in this sector in New Zealand are poised to double their revenues from $587 to $1.2bn in five years’ time. Total exports for this sector are currently worth approximately $510m or 88 percent of total revenues and have been growing at 16 percent a year.
Ms Sumner says a recent NZ Trade and Enterprise Sector Overview highlighted the immense potential of the medical technology industry for New Zealand but pointed out that most of the companies involved are small and medium-sized enterprises. Their biggest challenge is in commercialising their innovations in sophisticated and large markets like the United States and Europe.
“Our exporters are up against some of the largest companies in the world who have colossal marketing budgets. It takes a lot of money and ingenuity just to get noticed. There’s not much point developing innovative medical technology products if no-one knows about them. We believe Government investment in helping companies to comercialise their products will pay handsome dividends.

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