Hessen has been a key player on the global market for medical products for a long time. Some 900 companies employing 20,000 people in the state generate average revenues of 4 billion euros each year - equivalent to one third of the total revenue generated by the medical technology industry in Germany. About half of all production is exported. The quality products from Germany's most central federal state are mainly purchased by EU member states.
The range of products and services offered by medical technology companies based in Hessen is extremely diverse. Dental materials and dental prosthesis equipment and systems sell particularly well. But demand is equally high for X-ray and radiation therapy equipment, such as planar X-ray machines or CTs, and top quality parts, such as X-ray tubes and other accessories.
The huge demand for medical technology products made in Hessen is not least the result of the innovative potential of the companies operating in the sector, which not only manufacture, but also conduct in-depth research and development in the state. Companies such as Merck, B. Braun, Fresenius, Biotest, Heraeus, Sirona or Almo Erzeugnisse Erwin Busch have ranked among the world's market leaders for a long time. Numerous medium-sized companies also offer innovative products and services that ensure that medical technology "Made in Hessen" repeatedly sets new standards of quality in the international healthcare market.
Research and development
In recent years, life sciences have become a major factor in international business. Like its sister disciplines pharmacology and biotechnology, the small but dynamically expanding medical technology sector is geared for the future and is demonstrating impressively fast powers of innovation. Just like the scientific and technical progress in related sectors, ever new products have to be developed at ever shorter intervals.
In order to strengthen and further expand their standing as innovative market leaders, Hessen's medical technology companies are investing in continually developing and improving their specific expertise. More than half of them operate their own R&D departments, which work on developing new technologies and applications for a demanding international market; studies aimed at optimizing the range of products and services are even conducted by one quarter of all companies employing less than ten people.
In addition, the medical technology sector in Hessen cultivates a particularly intensive exchange between business and research. Innovative ideas and concepts providing new stimulus for future-oriented action in line with market needs emerge in cooperation projects with the state's renowned universities or as a result of programs such as "Science4life".
Medical technology - a sector with a hugely promising future - has established itself as an important driver of innovations and growth for the economy in Hessen. Numerous well-known companies and research facilities in the Rhine-Main region and other parts of the state are dedicated to developing new technologies and products. Their top-caliber projects attract specialists from around the globe to the state at the heart of Europe.
The university culture in Hessen provides an optimal basis for school-leavers striving for a career in medical technology. Numerous universities and privately run educational facilities offer interdisciplinary programs in biology, physics and chemistry to prepare students from around the world to take on demanding challenges in business and research. The new natural sciences center of Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University is being built at Campus Riedberg in Frankfurt. Currently the campus houses the physics, biochemistry, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, biosciences and geosciences faculties, which will be joined by further faculties over the coming years.
The interdisciplinary Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS), where international scientists research complex future issues relating to natural sciences, has settled close by the university. Last but not least, Provadis Partner für Bildung und Beratung GmbH in Frankfurt trains some 1,200 young people for more than twenty professions and provides specific advanced education schemes to bring experienced employees up to date with the latest scientific findings.
Ever more medical technology companies are learning to appreciate the numerous benefits offered by the state of Hessen. In an official survey conducted by the Hessian Ministry of Economics, Transport, Urban and Regional Development, two thirds of the companies interviewed rated the location as good or very good. Foreign companies that operate a subsidiary company or branch office in Hessen were especially positive. They praised the favorable location of the state, its excellent infrastructure and top-class qualified human resources as unbeatable arguments in favor of locating to the heart of Germany.
Accordingly, a diverse corporate landscape has emerged in Hessen, where all areas of medical technology are represented. A good fourth of the medical technology companies based in Hessen focuses on electrical medical equipment and associated accessories. Every fifth company operates primarily in the segment of medical instruments and consumables, while every seventh company focuses on medical and rehabilitation aids, prostheses and implants. Some 10% of the companies generate most of their revenues in the fields of diagnostics and reagents. About 8 % of the companies are primarily active in consulting and software development. A good 6 % produce industry-specific clinic and surgery equipment. About 14 % of the companies offer medical technology products or services or products and services related to medical technology. Some
5 % of the medical technology companies based in Hessen focus exclusively or mainly on research and development services.
The proximity and good traffic connections in Hessen create ideal conditions for all of the companies based here to transform existing synergies into fruitful cooperation, thus further enhancing their standing as highly innovative market leaders.
Hessen's Ministry of Economics has set up an internet portal - Aktionslinie Hessen-Medtech - to make it easier for national and international healthcare providers to access medical technology "Made in Hessen". Some 300 Hessen-based companies offering products and services from all fields of this industrial sector are registered in the portal's corporate database - the Hessen-Medtech Competence Atlas.
The Center for Medication Research, Development and Safety (Zentrum für Arzneimittelforschung, -Entwicklung und -Sicherheit - ZAFES) at Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University in Frankfurt is a Center of Excellence that brings together the knowledge from three sources - universities, the pharmaceuticals industry and biotechnology - in order to accelerate the development of innovative medication. Their work focuses on pain, inflammations and cancer. This pharmaceutical innovation cluster is open to all companies that conduct research and enables research projects that could not otherwise be realized, or only be realized to a limited extent, by one partner alone.
Optence is a Competence Network for optical technologies in Hessen and Rhineland-Palatinate, the neighboring state. The association offers its members a professional and efficient platform for transferring knowledge and setting up cooperations.
The timm Network - Technology and Innovation Medical region Mid-Hessen - is a forum specifically for the medical technology sector in mid-Hessen. It aims to make the best possible use of the scientific potential existing in the region and to support the development of new technologies, processes and materials.
The Science4Life project launched by the state government of Hessen and Aventis marks the first nationally organized start-up competition for life sciences and chemicals. The initiative is actively supported by more than 100 well-known companies and institutions and has become the contact point for all issues relating to company start-ups in the high-tech start-up scene.
With the strength of a mussel
In future, implants could cling as firmly to living tissue as mussels do to their bedrock. A hybrid adhesive based on the natural adhesive of the sea dwellers is set to be used for the first time to connect a titanium implant to the gums. This project initiated by the Clinic for Oral, Dental and Cosmetic Facial Surgery at Frankfurt am Main University is being made possible by a grant awarded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. As one of the winners of the Medical Technology 2007 innovation competition, the project, which is headed by Prof. Dr. Dr. Robert Stader, will receive funding of up to 300,000 euros. This will provide a financial basis on which to conduct a key experiment aimed at proving the feasibility of this new method.
Information on healthcare business in Hessen.
Database containing medical technology services.
Start-up initiative for young and aspiring entrepreneurs in the next-generation sectors of life sciences and chemicals.
Zentrum für Arzneimittelforschung,
-Entwicklung und -Sicherheit
(Center for Medication Reserach, Development and Safety) at Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University Frankfurt.
Competence network for optical technologies
Network of companies, universities, clinics and institutes focusing on medical technology in the center of Hessen and the Wetterau district.