Symphysis Medical

SymPhysis Medical wins the MedTech Innovator Dublin International pitch

SymPhysis Medical were thrilled to win the MedTech Innovator Dublin International Pitch event, which took place in Dublin on 25 & 26 April 2022.

MedTech Innovator is a global competition and accelerator for medical device companies. It highlights the best and brightest early-stage companies, providing an opportunity for startups to gain national and international recognition. The competition was hosted in collaboration with the MedTech Strategist Innovation Summit and its regional partners, Trinity College and RSCI.

27 companies were invited to pitch to a judging panel consisting of investors, providers, and senior executives from medtech companies. The judges shortlisted 5 companies to compete on stage the following day, after which the conference audience selected SymPhysis Medical as the overall winner.

Tim Jones, CEO of SymPhysis Medical, was surprised when the company he co-founded with Dr. Michelle Tierney was announced as the overall winner. “It was so unexpected but such an honour to come out on top in this competition, especially with the great companies that we pitched alongside. The whole event is run exceptionally well and the exposure we get from this can really help us progress in terms of funding and raising awareness of the benefits our device can bring to patients receiving palliative care.”

As a selected Accelerator company, SymPhysis Medical will proceed to showcase at a medical device conference in San Francisco in June, and will attend the final competition in Boston in October.

The win capped off a great week for the company, after the announcement of the company’s €1.9 million funding was reported by several media channels including the Irish Times and RTE.

SymPhysis Medical shortlisted in the HIHI Ireland “20 Healthtech Innovations to watch in 2022”

SymPhysis Medical is delighted to be included in the Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) 20 Health Innovations to watch for 2022.

The Innovation Showcase was launched by Taoiseach Mr Micheál Martin on 22 February 2022. HIHI selected 20 innovations to watch based on the potential value to healthcare.

“We are very proud to be included in the HIHI 20 Healthtech Innovations to watch in 2022”, says Tim Jones, Co-Founder and CEO of SymPhysis Medical. The company was co-founded by Dr. Michelle Tierney and Tim Jones after they identified malignant pleural effusions as an under-met clinical area during the NUIG BioInnovate Fellowship in 2017/2018.

SymPhysis Medical’s healthtech innovation will significantly improve treatment practices for patients suffering from malignant pleural effusion (also known as ‘fluid on the lung’), a condition that affects half or all late-stage cancer patients. The first-of-its-kind drainage device will improve the well-being of people receiving palliative care, enabling them to be more independent and stay mobile during treatment. This fits with the company’s vision: enhancing the patient pathway to provide unrivalled patient independence and reduce hospitalisations.

A full list of all 20 companies listed in the HIHI Showcase for 2022 is available here.

Disruptive Technology to Improve Palliative Care

An exciting new collaboration is underway in the West of Ireland, bringing disruptive technology into the palliative care space.

A consortium of four organisations have joined forces to bring to market innovative medical devices aimed at improving the treatment experience for people with late-stage cancers, half of whom develop malignant pleural effusions (MPE)1 , also known as ‘fluid on the lung’, a condition that causes breathlessness, chest pain and a lot of patient distress.

With average life expectancy increasing, the market for palliative care is expected to double worldwide in the next decade2. The total addressable market opportunity for MPE in the US and Europe is $1.2 billion. There has been no significant innovation in the MPE standard of care for over 20 years.

Now, a west of Ireland consortium will address this gap, having successfully secured €1.83m funding from the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) Call 3. The DTIF is a competitive fund implemented by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, for enterprise co-funded disruptive technology projects.

Testing Symphysis Medical's Product at the State-Of-The-Art Insights Suite in UK

The SymPhysis Medical team has been working with the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) at their hub of innovation, The Catalyst, in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. In December, the NICA team hosted product testing of our prototype catheter device on participants in their state-of-the-art Insights Suite, where we were able to observe them interacting with the device and sharing their insights about its design and usability. The candid feedback captured on camera will help us improve the design in the next stage of development.

NICA’s testing facility boasts a two-way mirror, in-built microphones, 360-degree panoramic cameras for 4K video recording, a customisable room layout, and access to communal breakout spaces. The facility, combined with the professionalism of the NICA team, is an invaluable resource for the SymPhysis Medical team.

SymPhysis Medical successfully completes Digital Technology Accelerator TheHill

SymPhysis Medical were delighted to be one of 28 companies selected to participate in the NHS Market Access Accelerator 2021. TheHill is an innovation catalyst embedded within Oxford University Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust. It brings digital technology and new innovations into the NHS with a focus on break-through innovation.

SymPhysis Medical was selected by TheHill as a growth stage digital health company because of our smart drainage device designed to disrupt the palliative care space. The Accelerator sessions ran from June to December. The SymPhysis Medical Co-Founders Tim Jones and Dr. Michelle Tierney graduated in December.

SymPhysis Medical wins Silver in National Startup Awards MedTech Category

SymPhysis Medical were thrilled to win Silver in the MedTech category at the 2021 National Startup Awards. The competition highlights the best and brightest early-stage companies in Ireland, providing an opportunity for startups to gain national and international recognition.

The SymPhysis Medical team were delighted with the Award, seeing it as an endorsement of the company’s vision: to provide independence and improved quality of life for patients with chronic conditions and those requiring palliative care.

Winning the Silver Award was the perfect way to end a busy year for the team, a year during which great progress was made on developing releaze, the company’s innovative drainage technology designed to treat a common complication of late-stage cancers, malignant pleural effusion (MPE).

SymPhysis Medical named as Futurescope 2020 One2Watch Finalist

In March 2020, SymPhysis Medical were named as finalists in the annual Futurescope One2Watch competition.

FutureScope is Ireland’s leading business innovation event, and the One2Watch competition seeks to find Ireland’s most scalable business idea and award the winning company with a prize worth €10k, including a platform to support its growth

The Futurescope event takes place at the Convention Centre Dublin later in 2020 and explores the implications of emerging technologies, featuring keynotes and multiple panel discussions exploring the challenges and opportunities arising from IoT, MedTech, robotics, 5G, VR/AR, artificial intelligence and more.

With over 120 applications for FutureScope’s One2Watch, a number of factors came into play when deciding the final five spots including, market size, innovation and potential to scale. Not an easy task says judge Heidi Corr, “With the five finalists, we are seeing the application of emerging technologies across multiple business sectors, all of which could achieve global scale. With strong value propositions and a high level of innovation and disruption demonstrated by the finalists, I am very excited to see who will be crowned FutureScope’s One2Watch 2020.”

SymPhysis Medical win 'Best New Idea' in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition


The IBYE competition, now in its fifth year, is a nationwide youth enterprise initiative to support 18-to-35 year olds with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business. In 2019, 1,644 young entrepreneurs entered IBYE, which is an initiative of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and supported by Enterprise Ireland and local authorities.

Michelle Tierney of SymPhysis Medical won the ‘Best New Idea’ category in the Clare competition, winning a €7,000 investment fund.  SymPhysis Medical is an innovative medical device for treating cancer patients suffering from fluid build-up around the lung and aims to improve patients’ quality of life and reduce healthcare costs.

In the lead-up to the county final, each finalist received targeted business supports through Local Enterprise Office Clare. They attended an intensive Business Boot Camp, receiving mentoring and support on their business plans, and pitch training.


SymPhysis Medical complete YES!Delft Validation Lab


In November, the SymPhysis Medical team completed one of the most successful startup incubators in the world, YES!Delft Validation Lab. The Validation Lab is an eight-week pressure cooker to support early-stage start-ups to identify their market potential. The goal is to find the product-market fit and to launch in markets across Europe.

During the program the SymPhysis Medical team met influential clinicians across Europe, covering areas such as Erlangen in Germany, Copenhagen in Denmark and Barcelona in Spain. Discovering how each of the healthcare systems operate and creating relationships within the diverse ecosystems was key to the learnings from the program.

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SymPhysis Medical to collaborate with ICAT Fellow to develop a novel peritoneal dialysis catheter anchoring system


SymPhysis Medical will be collaborating with Dr. Conor Judge, a Wellcome Trust-Health Research Board ICAT Fellow and Nephrology Specialist Registrar, to investigate the commercial feasibility of an innovative peritoneal dialysis catheter anchoring system in Ireland and in international markets.

Dr. Conor Judge was a finalist in the Enterprise Ireland Cleveland Clinic Clinical Innovator Award and has been awarded a €15,000 Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Feasibility Fund for the project. The Clinical Innovation Award is designed to support clinicians and other healthcare professionals in Ireland to explore the commercial feasibility of innovative ideas and the potential to transform the way medical care is delivered in Ireland and abroad.

SymPhysis Medical are currently incorporating the anchoring system into a novel indwelling pleural catheter for the treatment of malignant pleural effusions. The collaboration with Dr. Conor Judge will explore the feasibility of applying the innovative anchoring system to peritoneal dialysis catheters for the reduction of peritoneal dialysis related infections.

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'Needs-based' innovation for the management of malignant pleural effusions in the palliative care setting


The Health Service Executive in Ireland has outlined that one of the major challenges relating to palliative care is the growing demand for services due to the ageing population.

Given that the incidence of cancer in Ireland is estimated to double by 2040, this has the potential to put significant strain on palliative care resources if innovative measures that can ease the burden are not implemented.

During clinical immersion conducted in hospitals in Ireland and the Mayo Clinic in the US the SymPhysis Medical team used a ‘needs-based’ approach to innovation to identify that there was a significant unmet clinical need in relation to the treatment of malignant pleural effusion (MPE)


Supported By

Enterprise Ireland
Translational Medical Device Lab