Medtech Accelerator, the medical technology financial scheme that supports NHS innovators through the early stages of product development, has issued awards totalling more than £430,000 to four new pioneering projects.
This latest funding round brings the number of awards granted by Medtech Accelerator to 11 since its launch in 2016 with over £1 million committed to projects to date. The latest innovations to benefit are:
- a novel imaging device for cancer surgery;
- a breakthrough treatment for hernias and abdominal wall repairs;
- an innovative surgical retraction device; and
- a bone conduction technology to help children with glue ear to hear.
Medtech Accelerator is a joint venture led by innovation hub Health Enterprise East in partnership with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnerships, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, the Eastern Academic Health Science Network and Essex County Council.
Working with its regional partners, Medtech Accelerator supports innovations that predominantly originate from individuals within the NHS and are designed to tackle unmet clinical needs within the healthcare system. It supports fledgling ideas during the critical earliest phases of development, by helping them create initial prototypes, refine existing systems, and establish commercial viability. The aim is to ensure that more ground-breaking medical technologies make the transition more quickly from the early design and concept phase, to the product development and adoption phases.
Commenting on the latest awards, Chris Dashper, of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Technological innovation has been singled out by policymakers as playing a vital role in addressing some of the key challenges faced by the NHS, yet all too often innovations and great ideas fall at the first hurdle and fail to get to market. Thanks to the Medtech Accelerator, emerging medtech innovations can receive the funding and technical guidance they need to make it through the precarious proof of concept phase.
“It gives us great pride to be supporting four brilliant innovations, as well as several others from surrounding regions including Norfolk, all with the potential to radically transform the quality of care that surgical experts can deliver to patients. We look forward to seeing all four products in use in NHS hospitals in the not-too-distant future.”
Details of the projects to benefit from the latest round of Medtech Accelerator awards are:
- Award 1: £125,000 TumourVue Ltd – a disruptive medical imaging device for cancer surgery
Gita Moghaddam: TumourVue Ltd, in partnership with Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust & University of Cambridge
Retrospective studies indicate that those undergoing cancer surgery carry a lifelong risk of local reoccurrence of cancer. Therefore, determining clear excision margins during surgery is essential to reducing the risk of reoccurrence. TumourVue Ltd, a newly formed start up, are developing a clip-on device that can be added to a pair of safety or prescription glasses worn by the surgeon. Thus allowing a colour-coded image to be superimposed onto the surgeon’s eye as an assistive technology to facilitate operations and provide precise, objective tumour margin detection during surgery. The award from the Medtech Accelerator will be used to develop a working prototype of the device and develop their business plan.
- Award 2: £100,000 Heat-activated adhesive polymerisation system for meshed groin hernia and abdominal wall repairs
Andrew Hindmarsh: Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Abdominal wall and groin hernias are a common surgical problem and the gold standard of care is to place a surgical mesh at the weak spot where the hernia came through, to strengthen it. Chronic pain can occur due to the mechanical fixation methods used to secure the mesh during surgery, including sutures and permanent/absorbable tacks. This innovation project is developing a novel, heat-activated, adhesive polymerisation system (‘glue’) that could be used for meshed groin hernia and abdominal wall repairs. This easy-to-use solution will allow better manoeuvring and positioning and bond strength without recourse to additional fixation methods currently required during the repair. Funding from the Medtech Accelerator will be used to further develop the adhesive polymer formulation and early testing to then ready this technology for commercialisation.
- Award 3: £95,205 Dissection Plane Splayer device
Amit Agrawal: Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
The force applied by retractors, a transitional device used to display the area to be operated on for the surgeon, can cause trauma to surrounding tissue. This can lead to complications, such as loss of blood supply to the tissue and skin, and potential infection. The Dissection Plane Splayer device is an over-the-glove tissue retraction device, designed to minimise trauma in surrounding tissue during surgical dissections. It gives the surgeon the ability to display the area to be operated on, rather than relying on surgical assistants, which will lead to safer dissections. The Medtech Accelerator award will allow the team to work on the design concept and develop an early prototype for testing.
- Award 4: £109,000 Helping children with glue ear to hear
Tamsin Brown: Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust
The development of a novel bone conduction headset technology for children with long-term glue ear, the persistent build-up of fluid in the middle part of the ear canal. The technology will be used in the school, clinical and home settings to overcome the child’s hearing loss, preventing them from falling behind at school at a crucial development stage. The project was initially granted a small award in the first funding call of the Medtech Accelerator back in 2017 to allow the team to build up its business case for the technology. The team has subsequently returned with a full project proposal and the funding from the Medtech Accelerator will deliver the development of both hardware and software components of the bone conduction product to reach a point of gaining regulatory approval. The product will subsequently then be ready for commercialisation.