Symphysis Medical

University of Galway IdeasLab showcase in Madrid

Natalie Walsh, from University of Galway IdeasLab, presented the Empathy Studio in partnership with Boston Scientific and SymPhysis Medical at the University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN) conference in Madrid last week.

Key take-home messages were: Empathy as a Critical Future Skill, Intersection of Ethics and Empathy and Empathy and Entrepreneurship: Solving Global Challenges.




Empathic design was at the forefront of the excellent presentation from Natalie which at SymPhysis Medical is key to the development of our device which will be used by patients by themselves in their own homes.

During the conference work was highlighted on developing student entrepreneurial skills and bridging the gap to creating a business. There were fantastic initiatives discussed for Europe and particularly strong representation for Ireland with Atlantic Technological University also highlighting their entrepreneurial program.

Supporting programs like this is important to develop talent and creating the mindset of future innovators. To see the focus on this across Europe and to see Ireland at the forefront has been the highlight of this conference.

SymPhysis Medical showcase in San Diego

SymPhysis Medical CEO, Tim Jones, and VP of Marketing & Sales, Joe Villanova, had the privilege of joining fellow respiratory and pulmonology innovators at the recent American Thoracic Society Respiratory Innovation Summit in San Diego to showcase our releaze management system.

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The team also had the opportunity to build new connections with thought leaders and attend insightful sessions on the changing landscape of pleural disease management, reaffirming releaze’s patient-centric approach to improved outcomes in malignant pleural effusions. 

Symphysis Medical close out the year with a big win at the Irish Medtech Awards

What a year it has been! Finishing on what has been an eventful year, Symphysis Medical are extremely grateful for days like Thursday, 7th December, 2023 at the Irish Medtech Awards 2023 when our team received industry recognition for their dedication to innovation in palliative care. The event took place in Galway City at the Galmont Hotel where during the MedTech Connect pitch event, Tim Jones and Michelle Tierney were voted winners by a panel of seasoned investors and industry experts.

Medtech Connect is a showcase providing Medtech SMEs with a platform to raise awareness and present their innovative technology solutions and business models to potential business partners, large MNCs or investors. It is a great opportunity for Irish SMEs to get noticed for future collaborations or investment.

Symphysis Medical were also honoured to receive the Best Collaboration in MedTech Award for our product usability studies. These collaborative efforts, conducted in partnership with the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing, represent our commitment to fostering meaningful industry partnerships and driving advancements in palliative care. Other esteemed companies shortlisted in the Best Collaboration category included Atlantic Technology University and West Pharmaceutical Services.

Medtech Rising 2023 brings together world leading business leaders and international experts on many pertinent topics including: innovation and the power of partnerships, building R&D capacity, digital health, realising the potential of the ecosystem, navigating regulatory change, sustainability, resilient supply chains and the future of work. Delegates will enjoy unmissable networking opportunities to connect with many medtech professionals in our extensive exhibition area.

As we bid farewell to a hectic 2023, we express our deepest gratitude for these achievements, and have a pep in our step going into 2024!

SymPhysis Medical receive multiple nominations during awards season

November is proving to be a fruitful month this year as SymPhysis Medical have been nominated for not one but three awards.

Firstly, the Excellence in Innovation Award is a part of the Galway Chamber Business Awards 2023 in association with The Shannon Airport Group.

This is Galway's biggest annual business event, celebrating all that's good about Galway's business community. Attended by Galway's top business leaders, Galway Chamber Business Awards offers companies the opportunity to be acknowledged for their success, their people, and their innovation and creativity.

Symphysis Medical lead the charge in Innovation Hubs for Breast Cancer Awareness

Last month, a number of client companies of ATU iHubs came together to host an onsite comedy show in aid of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute as part of Breast Cancer Awareness month 🎗️

The entire event was spearheaded by Symphysis Medical who were able to source the talent during the hectic week of the Galway Comedy Festival.

On the bill we had comedians Glenn Wool and Andrew Maxwell who were happy to take part for a good cause and provided many innovation laughs!

We are delighted to say that over €700 was raised towards the Breast Cancer Research Institute . All funds raised, will go directly to this great cause.

Many thanks to everyone for their support!

SymPhysis Medical win “Innovation of the Year” award at inaugural Life Sciences Industry Awards ceremony

SymPhysis Medical were thrilled to win the “Innovation of the Year” award at the Life Sciences Industry Awards which took place in Dublin on 7 July, 2023. Tim Jones and Michelle Tierney accepted the award at the ceremony in The Crowne Plaza, Santry, Dublin. The competition will be promoted online by the Life Science Industry Awards communications partner, The Irish Times.

The Life Science Industry Awards, in its inaugural year, recognise and celebrate excellence in the Irish life science industry. From indigenous Irish companies to global multinational corporations, The Life Sciences Industry Awards provides recognition for excellence across all key areas of the sector.

The SymPhysis Medical team were ecstatic with the Award, seeing it as a reinforcement of the company’s vision: to provide improved quality of life and independence for cancer patients with chronic conditions and those requiring palliative care. Other esteemed companies shortlisted in the Innovation of the Year category included ICON, ALMAC, Pfizer, CXV Global and Dentaqua.

The team were also surprised on the night to find out they were also nominated by the judges for the Overall Excellence in Life Sciences Award alongside Arrotek, Almac, DMF Systems, Janssen and Cork University Hospital with the award deservedly going to Arrotek.

Winning the Award the Innovation of the Year award was a great way to bookmark the middle of what has been a busy year for the team, a year during which great progress was made on the development of releaze, the company’s innovative drainage technology designed to treat a common complication of late-stage cancers, malignant pleural effusion (MPE).

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SymPhysis Medical nominated for Innovation of the Year Award at the Life Science Industry Awards

In May 2023, SymPhysis Medical was delighted to be nominated for Innovation of the Year Award in the inaugural year of The Life Science Industry Awards for its first drainage technology, called releaze.

The Life Science Industry Awards recognise and celebrate excellence in the Irish life science industry. The awards cater for entrants operating in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical devices and laboratory market. From indigenous Irish companies to global multinational corporations, The Life Sciences Industry Awards will provide recognition for excellence across all key areas of the sector.

The event takes place at the The Crowne Plaza, Santry, Dublin in July, 2023 and has been developed by the team behind the successful Pharma Industry Awards, BusinessRiver, who own and operate the most comprehensive collection of business recognition programmes in the Irish economy and works with over 30 market segments, engaging with 12,000 senior business leaders annually.

releaze is a patient-centric technology to treat fluid build-up in the body as a result of cancer or chronic disease and will provide patients with unparalleled independence and quality of life when compared to current solutions.

The major changing trends in this therapeutic area are the patients' preference towards minimally invasive procedures and reducing the treatment duration with a catheter-based approach. releaze has the potential to be far superior to any of the current catheter products on the market in addressing both needs.

Past winners from other events comprise a ‘who’s who’ of the leaders driving the industry and the judges, drawn from academia, business and broader related sectors, ensure the high esteem and prestige of such an award.”

MedTech Rising: Emerging Medtech Company of the Year nomination

SymPhysis Medical were delighted to be nominated for the Emerging Medtech Company of the Year Award at the Irish Medtech Awards in December 2022. The Irish Medtech Association is the business association within Ibec representing the medical technology sector.

While SymPhysis Medical weren’t winners on the night, we were thrilled to be in such good company. Congratulations to fellow nominee and our ATU Innovation Hub neighbours Invera Medical who were also nominated, and to the winners on the night, FIRE1.

SymPhysis Medical wins HealthTech Innovation award

The SymPhysis Medical team were delighted to win Best Indigenous Healthcare Start-up at the The HealthTech Innovation Awards in Dublin on 23 November.

HealthTech Ireland is an independent trade association for manufacturers, developers and distributors of health technology products and solutions. This year marked the 10th anniversary of their Innovation awards. Tim Jones, CEO of SymPhysis Medical, accepted the award at the ceremony in the Mansion House, Dublin.

“Winning this award was a proud moment for the team and capped off what’s been a busy year for the Company”, Tim said.

SymPhysis Medical graduates from MedTech Innovator

In October 2022, SymPhysis Medical graduated from MedTech Innovator, a global accelerator program for medical device, digital health and diagnostic companies.

Having won the highly competitive International Pitch event in Dublin in April 2022, SymPhysis Medical showcased at the prestigious Wilson Sonsini medical device conference in San Francisco in June. Following this, the Company participated in the final competition in Boston in October at the AdvaMed MedTech conference - the largest annual gathering of the global medtech community.

Making the cut from more than 1,000 applications to 50 showcase companies was a great boost for the team. As part of the final competition, SymPhysis Medical presented a video that explained the benefits of the releaze device. Participating in the global accelerator program has given SymPhysis Medical high-profile visibility to healthcare investors, access to an experienced network of mentors and peers, and also allowed the co-founders to participate in a highly beneficial virtual curriculum.

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