The AHSN Network’s success in helping to drive economic growth in the UK life sciences economy is demonstrated in a new report, which highlights two key Eastern AHSN-supported innovations.
Medtech company Cambridge Respiratory Innovations Ltd (CRiL) and all-in-one smart building specialist Beringar feature in the Innovation Exchanges: Delivering Economic Growth Through the AHSN Network.
The case studies underline the benefits of the Innovation Exchange, which is funded by the Office for Life Sciences, in supporting innovators to get their technologies into the NHS with the aim of transforming patient care.
In the case of CRiL, Eastern AHSN’s support has enabled the company to leverage additional funding of over £2.4million, including Innovate UK grants, NIHR funds and success with SBRI Healthcare backing. An independent study by a health economist concludes that the technology could save the NHS £88million each year.
The Swavesey-based company developed the N-Tidal Monitor, a handheld device which enables patients with chronic respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, to directly monitor their lung performance at home. This allows them to take appropriate measures to avoid the distress of their condition worsening and the potential risk of being admitted to hospital.
Since 2013, CRiL has received support and advice from Eastern AHSN on commercialisation, expert and clinical introductions to test products in real world settings, clinical trials, regulatory approval and NHS procurement.
Jeremy Walsh, CEO of CRiL, said: “The support from the Eastern Academic Health Science Network has been extremely valuable to the CRiL team throughout, guiding us each step of the way via various events, training and one-to-one support mechanisms.”
The AHSN has brokered introductions with consultants in diagnostics, funding, potential partners, and other AHSNs and provided a sounding board for issues.
Mr Walsh added: “They offer moral support which is very important for SMEs – you need well-informed people to test out ideas.”
The second company case study included in the brochure is Beringar, which has developed ground-breaking technology that provides a comprehensive digital picture of how NHS buildings are used. The system detects the activity of humans and equipment and monitors eight environmental factors to support better human-building interaction.
Working with the centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems, the team developed a prototype device and carried out various tests to establish how well health service buildings were being used.
In a three-month trial using Bluetooth tagging they tracked the position of beds in a Caithness hospital to help maintenance engineers establish which ones needed attention and where they were. Previously, the maintenance team had spent an estimated 20-25% of their time trying to track down equipment.
Demonstrator projects within the NHS have been completed, a patent application was filed in April 2018 and the product has been shipped to international customers with interest from a further 20 countries.
Eastern AHSN has supported Beringar since 2017, initially providing funds and backing through the Innovate UK IoTBoost programme, and then lending more support via one of its Innovation Exchange events.
Mark Sorsa-Leslie, Beringar co-founder, said: “We found the support and connections made through the Eastern AHSN extremely beneficial. Infrastructure solutions are an area that Eastern AHSN has identified as a priority and we look forward to working with them to optimise the use of NHS buildings for the benefit of patients.”
Read the full economic growth report, which was produced by AHSN North East North Cumbria, and all the case studies.
Find out more about our Health InnX East Innovation Exchange and how we support economic growth.