The Swiss Medtech Award 2024 goes to Oertli Instrumente AG

A medtech company protecting people from blindness

Who will win the Swiss Medtech Award in 2024? In the past, the medtech community had to wait until the end of the conference to find out. This year, the winner was revealed during the first half of Swiss Medtech Day. Brothers Christoph and Thomas Bosshard, co-CEOs of family-run Oertli Instrumente AG, were presented with the coveted award worth CHF 75,000 in the presence of over 700 industry representatives. Since establishment of the company in 1955, Oertli has grown from a small workshop for surgical tools into one of the world’s leading suppliers of instruments and devices for eye surgery. «Oertli is a Swiss showcase example of how unwavering attention to quality, a focus on the user, and interdisciplinary work can lead to entrepreneurial success,» commented ETH Professor Mirko Meboldt, chairman of the jury, on this year’s decision to honour an established company like Oertli for its overall performance.

Products developed and produced under one roof at Oertli are utilised worldwide to treat cataracts, glaucoma, and complex retinal diseases. Around 300 employees in Berneck contribute every day to combat blindness throughout the world. Among other things, Oertli has developed a device weighing only 5 kg which enables doctors to perform eye operations even in the most remote areas of the globe. «Knowing that people who otherwise would never have access to cataract surgery are being spared from blindness is a wonderful feeling,» said the Bosshard brothers, who were delighted to accept the award on behalf of their entire team. Swiss Medtech Director Adrian Hunn highlighted that, «Oertli is a wonderful example of how Switzerland can employ its standards of quality and precision to distinguish itself from the international competition, and strengthen its position as one of the most attractive medtech locations in the world».

A fitness programme for the industry
Every year, the exhibition space for manufacturer and supplier presentations of cutting-edge products and manufacturing processes is fully booked within days. Swiss Medtech Day, however, is more than a platform to present innovations, it also provides the industry with opportunities to prepare for the future. The central theme of this year’s event is «Mastering complexity». There is currently much to overcome, including geopolitical uncertainties, energy crises, climate change, new regulations and market requirements, as well as changing consumer needs. Medtech entrepreneurs can use the conference to network, share experience, and pick up best practices. Another main focus is the international exchange of information. This year’s spotlight is on the USA – partially due to its role as important trading partner, but also because Swiss medtech innovations are increasingly being submitted first for approval in the USA following the expansion of regulatory requirements for the European market. In the past, the consensus was to prioritise the approvals process in Europe. Swiss parliament has acknowledged the changing times and, in November 2022, instructed the Federal Council to also authorise medical devices with FDA approval for usage in Switzerland. «It is important for the healthcare system and for Switzerland as a business location for innovation that the Federal Council implement the mandate quickly and pragmatically. In doing so, it must under no circumstances create hurdles that could discourage companies from supplying the small Swiss market,» says Swiss Medtech President Damian Müller.

About the Swiss Medtech Award and Swiss Medtech Day
Swiss Medtech introduced the Swiss Medtech Award in 2018. The CHF 75,000 price – sponsored by the Sonova Group, the Straumann Group and Ypsomed – honours outstanding achievements in the Swiss medical technology industry. The jury, under the chairmanship of Prof. Mirko Meboldt, ETH Zurich, evaluates candidates according to the criteria of patient benefit, contribution to healthcare, and entrepreneurial performance. The winning team is announced during Swiss Medtech Day each year. Partners of this major event are Innosuisse, the Swiss Agency for Innovation Promotion, and the konplan company. Swiss Medtech Day’s main sponsors are ArcondisStandortförderung Kanton BernHelbling and Zühlke.

Swiss Medtech represents more than 750 members in its role as industry association for Swiss medical technology. With 67,500 employees and a contribution of 11.5% to the positive trade balance, medical technology is an economically significant sector in Switzerland. Swiss Medtech advocates for conditions that enable the medtech industry to perform at peak capacity and provide first-class medical care.