Case Study | Marvao Medical Devices

Ireland’s medical devices cluster draws Marvao

Marvao Medical DevicesMarvao Medical Devices is an early-stage company focused on improving patient safety while reducing healthcare costs. Founder and managing director Chris Davey, whose father hails from Sligo, grew up in Boston. Having planned to start the business there, he changed course and formed the company in Ireland.

Chris Davey, Marvao Medical Devices
Chris Davey, Marvao Medical Devices

The pitch

Marvao has developed a tissue ingrowth scaffold that can be added to a long-term indwelling catheter, which allows a patient’s skin to heal at the catheter exit site greatly reducing the chances of catheter-related infection. The company recently began its first clinical study in Ireland.

Why Ireland

For Davey, Ireland has several attractions including its pro-business environment and low taxes. “The main drivers were better access to early-stage funding, easier access to clinicians who believed in the potential of the technology, and I felt that we would stand out better as a ‘finished device company’ in the Irish setting than we would in Boston or on the west coast of the US,” he says.

Another factor specific to Marvao was the existing life science and medical device cluster around Galway in the west of Ireland, he adds. “Ireland is recognised as a centre for life sciences and medical devices, so I was confident that I’d be able to find the full range of skills and services needed to start Marvao Medical Devices. This has proved to be the case.”

Through Enterprise Ireland, Marvao took on two mentors for the business and one serves as chairman of the board. Within 24 months of starting the company, Marvao also signed a strategic partnership with Harmac Medical Products of Roscommon. “They really helped give the company a concrete presence, have been a key technical contributor, and turned out to be one of our most important partners,” says Davey.

Enterprise Ireland’s support has been material in helping Marvao to its present state, adds Davey. “Enterprise Ireland was particularly helpful in facilitating introductions to Irish clinicians who have played a critical role in the product development process,” he says. “I’ve found it very easy to gain access to most of the people I’ve needed to meet, and also found that most people are very willing to help once they understand what you are trying to accomplish.”

"Ireland is recognised as a centre for life sciences and medical devices. Enterprise Ireland was particularly helpful in facilitating introductions to Irish clinicians who have played a critical role in the product development process." Chris Murphy, Marvao Medical.


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