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United Kingdom taking closer look at San Antonio’s biomedical assets
October 21, 2016

Members of the U.K. life sciences industry delegation don dark glasses to view 3-D digital anatomy images on a tour of the University of Texas Health Science Center's new Academic Teaching & Learning Center in San Antonio. The digital anatomy lab does not replace traditional gross anatomy instruction, but complements students' understanding of the structure and function of organs, bones, muscles, nerves and tissues. Photo Courtesy UT Health Science Center San Antonio

W. Scott Bailey, Reporter/Project Coordinator
San Antonio Business Journal

San Antonio is courting increasing interest from the United Kingdom in this city's biomedical industry, which could lead to expansion and investment opportunities for companies on both sides of the pond.

The latest evidence of Europe's heightened interest in the Alamo City came this week, as the Association of British Healthcare Industries sent a delegation to meet with San Antonio leaders and tour several of the area's medical facilities and institutions.

The 20-member delegation, which arrived in San Antonio mid-week, included CEOs and other C-suite executives from about a dozen U.K.-based medical technology companies, according to BioMed SA President Ann Stevens, who helped coordinate the visit. The group also included representatives from two academic health science networks, regional collaborations similar to BioMed SA, as well as representatives from the U.K.'s Department for International Trade.

"This is the fifth time in the last few years that this group has come to San Antonio," Stevens said, noting that she first encountered ABHI in Houston in 2014.

"At the time, they didn't know a lot about San Antonio's medical industry. But our messaging resonated and they ended up coming to San Antonio shortly after that with a handful of companies for an advanced wound care symposium," Stevens said. "That was the beginning of a strategy that they developed on their own to really target Texas as a place for British companies to build relationships and consider possible soft landing places."

The list of organizations that traveled from Europe to San Antonio this week includes Alesi Surgical Unlimited, Forte Medical, FutureNova Ltd. and Lumeon Ltd. Those companies and others got an up-close tour of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Methodist Hospital and San Antonio Military Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, where the British have an officer embedded.

"For us to be known globally, we have to interact globally," Stevens said. "This is a group that is purposely coming to San Antonio and we believe this is mutually beneficial."

Europe has proven to be a gateway for many biomedical companies, including some here in San Antonio, who have secured the CE Mark before attaining similar regulatory approval in the U.S. from the Food and Drug Administration. Europe could also open more doors to investment opportunities for San Antonio businesses.

"We did talk about how we are looking to widen the sources of organized capital available to us," Stevens said.

"I've talked with them about the kind of relationships we are trying to form, and we really have developed a close relationship with this group," she added. "We understand what they are about. They understand us. We've developed a rhythm."

 

 

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