MedTech innovationOn May 22nd I attended the launch of the Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus at the House of Commons. This is a potentially ground-breaking partnership to drive growth and innovation in the UK medical technology sector (www.medtechcampus.com). The Campus will provide one of the world’s largest health innovation spaces for companies of all sizes – from start-ups and micro SMEs to large corporates – with the aim of establishing the UK as a global force in a sector worth £170 billion per year.
The project, which is a partnership between Chelmsford City Council, Harlow District Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Anglia Ruskin University, is predicted to grow the UK medical technology sector by £1.2 billion and generate approximately 12,500 jobs. Anglia Ruskin is the lead academic partner and key provider of business and innovation services. It will facilitate access to a range of relevant expertise, sector-dedicated research, specialist consultancy staff, and testing and clinical trials capabilities. The local authorities will use their land use, economic development and community well-being powers to engage the development industry and attract inward investment.
The vision is for the Campus to become a globally leading centre for medical innovation, building on world-leading research in subjects allied to medicine and solid partnerships with stakeholders including the NHS, private healthcare providers, clinicians, hospital staff, SMEs and international businesses. The aim is to accelerate the translation of innovations into patient benefit through this network of partnerships.
One of the speakers at the launch event was Daniel Coole, Managing Director of Surgical Holdings Ltd (www.surgicalholdings.co.uk), a family business manufacturing high quality surgical instruments. Daniel is a 4th Generation Surgical Instrument Maker and spoke eloquently about the history and future plans of his company, which is a great example of the sort of high quality manufacturing business that the UK government should be supporting as part of a strategy to grow the national economy.
A driving force behind the MedTech Campus is Prof Tony Young, Consultant Urological Surgeon at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Director of Medical Innovation at the Postgraduate Medical Institute of Anglia Ruskin University. Tony is an entrepreneur who has commercialised a range of his own inventions. I have had the pleasure of working closely with him in recent years leading to the formation of Enterprise Medical Ltd (http://enterprisemedical.co.uk) where Tony is CEO and I am a Non-Executive Director.
Enterprise Medical is an Innovation company from Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Wholly owned by the Trust, the new company provides a commercial side to the Trust’s existing Department of Innovation and develops ideas from hospital staff that have commercial potential. Enterprise Medical also works with other NHS Trusts, private healthcare organisations, the academic sector, industry and individual inventors to help achieve commercial success for their innovations.
New business opportunities are incubated within Enterprise Medical until the business concepts are proven and commercially attractive enough to be spun out, sold on or a Joint Venture partnership developed. Our first spin-out business is Sterile Scopes Ltd, which will provide flexible endoscopes sterilised with hydrogen peroxide gas to healthcare organisations. The Gas sterilised endoscope remains sterile for 12 months which is a considerable advantage over the current method of decontamination where scopes must be used within three hours of processing. Sterile Scopes will provide a total one stop solution for all scoping requirements from scope hire, cleaning, decontaminating and sterilising through to distribution to clinics.
The Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus and Enterprise Medical are two examples of new approaches to promoting successful translation of MedTech innovations into patient benefits and economic impact. It is to be hoped that this will be the first wave in a stream of initiatives to unlock the potential of the NHS as a source of innovation and as a means of rapidly translating innovations into healthcare delivery.