Reflecting on 25 years of Medilink

Medilink incorporated as a company in 1997, as a unique professional association and specialist service provider for the Life Sciences sector. It brought together, for the first time at a regional level, the ABCs – Academics with technologies seeking a need, Businesses with the ability to translate needs into ground breaking medical products, and the Clinical community which understood the unmet needs of patients. At that time it was referenced in a Government White Paper as a best practice model for regional innovation.

 

Thanks to initial funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the network and related business support services rapidly developed, with universities across the Yorkshire and Humber region offering to host sub-regional Medilink ERDF projects. With the creation of Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in 1999, The Yorkshire and Humber RDA was quick to exploit our unique innovation model and subsequently contracted out all specialist business support services for the Life Sciences sector to Medilink for the duration of the RDAs. Other RDAs were quick to follow, with regional Medilink’s being created across the UK under licence to the founding Medilink.

 

In 2019, Medilink was contracted by the Department for International Trade (DIT) to become the Northern Powerhouse Life Sciences International Specialist for the North of England. Over this time, Medilink also developed its international service provision to the whole of the UK, organising annual UK pavilions at the world’s largest trade shows e.g., Medica and Arab Health, running missions to major international events, presenting at international science and innovation conferences and entering into MOUs with leading international trade associations. Then, in 2020, the (DIT) in Y&H, recognising the value of Medilink’s extensive in-depth relationships across the industry, decided to contract out all its specialist International Trade Advisory Services for the Life Sciences Sector to Medilink, a position that continues until today. 

 

The value of joint work across the regional Medilinks and the opportunity for greater national representation led to the creation of Medilink UK, which provided Medilink members not only with regional in-depth connectivity but for the first time, national reach. Today, Medilink UK is by far the largest UK representative body for Med Tech SMEs and it has developed direct contacts with all the major government agencies to champion the views of the Life Sciences business community and to promote world class academic and clinical centres of excellence in the regions.

 

Today, Medilink North of England (created by a merger of Medilink North West, Medilink Yorkshire & Humber and Medilink North East in 2017) provides its members with unrivalled connectivity, regionally, nationally and internationally (across the business, clinical and academic communities) and it is now a respected provider of specialist consultancy services to the Life Sciences sector, spanning ‘Innovation, Commercialising & Regulatory’, ‘Marketing & Comms’, ‘International’ and ‘Research’  to private and public organisations. 

 

Recent changes to the Executive Team signal further development, with Kevin Kiely Medilink’s co- founder, stepping down from his role as CEO to take up the position of part time Executive Chair, which will enable him to commit more time to his role as Group Chief Executive, Medilink UK. Tom Elliott, previously International Director and Board Director, has taken up the position of Managing Director.

 

By Kevin Kiely, Executive Chair