CEO Q&A: Myles Murray

Business, Editor's Choice, Interviews, Technology | Tue 4 Jul | Author – Business & Finance
CEO Q&A: Myles Murray
Myles Murray, CEO, PMD Solutions

Having secured over a combined €6m in equity investment and H2020 funding, CEO of PMD Solutions Myles Murray has driven a startup from incorporation through to market entry with a revolutionary respiratory sensory technology.

Q. Tell me about the company and its RespiraSense product.

PMD Solutions is a medical device company based in Cork, Ireland, with a vision to improve patient outcomes by ‘making every breath count’.

I founded the company when presented with a particular clinical need by a Professor of Emergency Medicine: “I cannot monitor my patients breathing accurately, which, if abnormal, is a flag that something is amiss with the patient.”

During this same time, there was a prominent shift in how healthcare was being delivered. It was moving towards a preferred preventative model, as apposed to a treatment model. The ageing population, increasing cost of care, and increasing pressures on already strained healthcare’s resources drove this.

The focus of PMD Solutions was to create an industry-leading respiratory rate monitor for patients in acute care. This product became known as RespiraSense. RespiraSense gives medical staff the earliest signs of possible patient deterioration from conditions such as respiratory compromise, increasing severity of sepsis, worsening pneumonia, and oncoming heart attacks.

Since RespiraSense’s commercialisation in 2015, RespiraSense has been used around the world. In 2017, the 2nd generation of RespiraSense is being launched. Developed upon 2 years of market feedback and a more thorough understanding of clinical workflows. This generation product will be targeted for the US market. The device, a discrete wireless sensor, is ideally designed for general ward patients who are at risk of adverse events until discharge. At present, RespiraSense has market application estimated to be worth about €2bn by 2020.

Q. What have been your highlights in business over recent times?

In Q4 2015, PMD Solutions was awarded €4.265m by the European Commission to tackle the increasing incidence of respiratory failure within acute care. Respiratory failure is an umbrella term, covering all respiratory related events such as pulmonary oedema, respiratory depression, and muscle dysfunction. This is said to increase up to 31% by 2020 and cost healthcare providers over €3bn annually.

By Q3 2016, PMD Solutions was also awarded €92,000 by SBRI an NHS initiative, to implement RespiraSense to improve patient flow in acute care from Emergency Department to in-patient admission through to discharge.

These significant endorsements have enabled us to also secure three leading centres of excellence for the use of RespiraSense in England, Ireland, and Denmark. The research PMD is undertaking with these centres and their respective clinical opinion leaders is set to establish RespiraSense as an industry standard for respiratory rate monitoring. This is the cornerstone to ensure PMD Solutions realises it vision of improving patient outcomes.

Q. Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

I think there are enough changes to keep us all very busy. However, I think that there is value in harmonising VBH among member states to create cost efficiencies and access for each member state. Our clinical studies are pan European and we will endeavour to secure pan-European implementation of this product in the near future. The nature and design of our product fulfils a very obvious gap in vital sign monitoring and from that perspective as well as a cost perspective RespiraSense is a product that meets the demands of value based healthcare modelling both in Europe and beyond.

Q. Will, or how will, Brexit affect your business?

PMD Solutions is fortunate that the NHS, England’s healthcare system, is open for business when it comes to innovations that can improve efficiencies – be they domestic or foreign. Having successfully been awarded funding by the NHS under their innovation program, PMD Solutions has only strengthened relationships with UK hospitals, academic centres, and those associated with the healthcare ecosystem. Peoples’ wellbeing should transcend geographical and political boarders. PMD Solutions looks forward to helping a healthcare professional save a patient’s life, with the use of RespiraSense.

Q. On a personal level what are your biggest challenges as a CEO? 

As PMD Solutions received significant financial endorsement from both the European Commission and the NHS, the company had to transition from being a startup to a more sophisticated business.

Going through substantial growth with the addition of over ten employees and the implementation of systems for controlling project management, finance, and sales and market, has its own unique set of challenges.

Today, PMD Solutions has 19 exceptional team members, a world-leading supply chain, and a second international office in Australia. The company is primed for further growth over the coming years.

Q. What new trends are emerging in medtech? 

The global medtech sector is in the era of value-based healthcare (VBH). VBH is a term to describe the new considerations buyers have when evaluating a purchase of medical equipment.

Considerations such as impact to efficiencies across the entire pathway, not just at the surgical table or diagnostic theatre. This includes how the product impacts the wider technological ecosystem. Even more so, the impact to the patient during and after care.

These considerations need to be built into the design requirements of the products developed by medical device manufacturers. It also requires the level of evidence supporting medical device claims to be as rigorously considered during design stage with evidence supporting improved economic outcomes.

Medtech Europe is starting to integrate guidelines around evaluating quality of life considerations in tender processes, amongst other qualities.

This is just one example of how pan-European healthcare bodies are trying to harmonise VBH between the member states, much like what the CE mark has achieved from a regulatory perspective.

Translating one VBH proposition from country-to-country within Europe requires a native understanding of the clinical, economic, and social attributes of each healthcare system.

Q. How do you keep your team and staff motivated?

By honesty and mutually established expectations. Even through PMD Solutions has grown in size; it still needs to operate as a startup.

So, in a way, PMD Solutions has created an environment of positive pressure. However, this is underpinned by setting a destination for the company. The team continues to develop new innovations to position the technology as the industry standard in respiratory monitoring.

The team understands the vision. It is what gets them out of bed each morning to come and give it their all. I have always been very proud of the team.

Q. What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2017?

There are several developments in the areas of clinical research, regulatory approvals, and market growth. In 2017, the focus is to publish clinical evidence of the accuracy of RespiraSense and its ability to detect patient deteriorations.

We plan to file for 510k this year (US regulatory approval). This would open up one of the sectors single biggest markets. PMD Solutions is building upon established successes while ensuring huge growth opportunity for the years ahead.

Q. How do you feel Ireland compares to other countries with regard to the medical industry?

Ireland is Europe’s leading medtech cluster. There is a significant talent pool here and that is why 18 out of the top 25 global medtech companies are based in Ireland.

Today, there is annually €12.6bn in exports from the medtech sector and it is firmly believed we can do more. For any medtech company in the orthopaedic, vascular, digital health or connected health space, Ireland is the place to be as a European base of operations.

Going through substantial growth with the addition of over ten employees and the implementation of systems for controlling project management, finance, and sales and market, has its own unique set of challenges