The word Medtrum is the union of ‘medical’ and ‘spectrum’ (the whole world), which underlines the ambitions of the Shanghai-based company that was founded in 2008. Since 2016 it has been operating in the United Kingdom. Germany, Denmark, France, Sweden and in 2019 the Netherlands followed.
“It is a great location, the Netherlands has a favourable tax policy, there is a university in Eindhoven and a lot of talent,” says Scott Yang, founder, major shareholder and managing director of Medtrum about the Eindhoven area. He also praises the ‘open culture’ and flexibility of the people in the country, increasing chances that they may try different diabetes devices than the ones they already know.
Medtrum already has sales and logistics staff in the Netherlands and a warehouse in Best. The managing director expects to expand the teams in the country in the near future.
Yang considers the Netherlands “a good candidate” to establish Medtrum’s European headquarters. The company is looking for an alternative to its current headquarters in London as it does not want to be exposed to risks caused by Brexit.
Diabetes for life
Yang came up with the idea of starting the company because of his mother, who suffers from diabetes type-2, and since diabetes lasts a lifetime and cannot be cured but only controlled. He thinks that people deserve better devices than there were available back in the days, which represents a huge business potential.
Diabetes is a collection of disorders in which the body fails to produce or properly use insulin and has trouble regulating its blood sugar levels. The most common one is Type 2 diabetes, a result of the body not producing enough insulin or the cells ignoring the insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, while gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy.
After many years investing in Research & Development, which all took place in China, Medtrum now has become the innovation leader in the diabetes industry, according to Yang. He claims that his company is the only one who can offer all the devices that there are available today. Medtrum has four major competitors, all from the US, including Metronic. The latter company, for instance, offers a traditional insuline pump but does not have an integrated insuline pump with CGM (continue glucose monitoring), which is part of Medtrum’s product portfolio. It also has an app which automatically delivers insuline when needed.
With its latest generation devices, Medtrum also has the smallest and lightest pump in the world, says Yang, who also claims that his CGM nowadays lasts for 14 days real-time, whereas some competitors do not even have real-time CGMs. “Diabetes patients have to carry the devices all the time with them. So a smaller size which is also lighter, makes their lives more flexible,” Yang explains. He calls his products “cutting edge”.
Diabetes creates a lot of hassle in one’s life. We hope to find a way to make the life of people with diabetes easier. That’s our commitment to the diabetes community.Scott Yang - founder, major shareholder and managing director of Medtrum
R&D in Brabant
Medtrum considers building a factory and setting up Research & Development in Noord-Brabant, partly because of its proximity to France and Germany and the presence of Philips Healthcare, which has many experienced employees that could work at some point for Medtrum.
It currently has four factories in China and all of its Research & Development (R&D) is being done in the country but the company would also like to have factories in the US and Europa, as well as local R&D.
“We want to get more local information and a better understanding of patients’ needs in a country. There is a good chance that we will set-up R&D in Eindhoven, as well as our first plant outside of China. “Eindhoven would be a good place to run a factory, because we would do a lot of automation, have many machines.”
Headcount in Brabant could grow to about 200 in the next 2 to 3 years, Yang says. In the case Medtrum builds a factory, this number could exceed 1,000. Before it established business in 2019, Medtrum got a lot of help from the Brabant Development Agency (BOM), which recommended on lawyers that know how to start up a company in the Netherlands. Also on how and where to find employees, how the Dutch tax policy works and where to look for housing, the BOM assisted Medtrum, the managing director says. He stresses that the BOM will there too to help facilitate further growth in Brabant.
According to Yang many diabetes patients are awaiting Medtrum’s new products which will be launched this year. With the traditional products on the market, people with diabetes still face a lot of trouble on a daily basis.
“It creates a lot of hassle in one’s life. We hope to find a way to make the life of people with diabetes easier. That’s our commitment to the diabetes community.”