STORY INLINE POST
In recent years, the world has seen technological penetration in various industries. Large enterprises haveR&D departments that invest time and money in developing all kinds of equipment, devices and tools, but smaller businesses or those with limited resources have been left behind. They have often looked on as their projects die at the idea stage or, if they are lucky enough to get that far, after a few trials. Fortunately, innovations in tech have given rise to more intermediary organizations that help connect those with ideas to those with the resources to realize them.
Here at GHI, we endeavor to report on trends in the health sector and are constantly finding ourselves in contact with industry leaders who help us learn more about the market and the needs of the businesses within it. In the course of our research, we have come across Pragmatec, a technology transfer office (TTO) based in Guadalajara, Jalisco, whose activities include connecting entrepreneurs to tech investors and providers using a platform called TechMatch. GHI had the opportunity to interview Víctor Sánchez, its CEO and cofounder. We do it voluntarily, without exchanging either money or favors, just because we feel there is a gap in the market between innovative regional businesses and large-scale distribution of medical devices in the region.
In Mexico, Pragmatec has been working as a TTO since 2011. It has a broad knowledge of the enterprise and innovation ecosystem in Mexico. Four years ago, it began focusing on supporting entrepreneurs of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. It currently has a team of consultants, methodologies, and work tools for evaluating organizational needs with respect to innovation and defining specific lines of action to aid the technical feasibility and commercial viability of technology projects. “Mexico is the leading exporter of medical devices to the US, and the eighth-leading manufacturer globally, but we develop little technology, even though we have ample capabilities and experience. Luckily, we are collaborating with various players to open up that connection space, and we are engaged in various activities that will help us boost the sector,” Sánchez told us during our talk. The opportunity Pragmatec has identified led them to create TechMatch, the matching platform he says is intended to be a space for boosting the technological developments of this sector in Mexico.
To join the platform you have to sign up and provide a series of details related to the venture or development that needs support. Once there, you can access its database of specialist providers in different areas that are potential sponsors, partners, or service providers. According to Víctor, “There are currently 80 medical-device projects identified that are in the technology development stage, located in various parts of Mexico — we now have the Mexican market mapped out — and we are able to categorize them by medical device type, their present level of technological development, and place of origin, among other highly useful information, which we can then use to link companies looking for device development with the developer companies.
We believe Pragmatec is doing something really interesting for its target audience by mapping projects by the medical devices category to which they belong, their geographical location, and the TRL — technology readiness level — they are at in each region, while also mapping specialist providers for the technology development stage. This second map presents a categorization of the services that also includes the investors, whom they refer to as strategic allies.
Both maps, available to those registered with the platform, are extremely important to the development of projects and allow both parties access to the necessary information for a project to get the required support. With this mapping, Pragmatec intends to incorporate more businesses and technologies each year in order to make an interannual analysis with more variables that will broaden its scope.
For those interested in these initiatives, Pragmatec holds regular meet and greets in conjunction with its strategic ally Hacking Health Monterrey.
Technology matching is a powerful tool for linking technical know-how, the necessary tools for transforming that know-how into prototypes, and the financial backing for those prototypes to improve and become a product or service with real impact in the community. With regard to medical devices in particular, this tool has a transformative impact, especially with the advances in biotechnology and data analytics we have seen over the past five years.
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