Celebrating 15 Years of healthcare innovation

15th November, 2019

By Dr Anne Blackwood, CEO at Health Enterprise East

Health Enterprise East turns 15 this month. We’ve come a long way since being founded by the Royal Papworth Hospital in 2004. But even when we were a team of 5 in a portacabin next to the old mortuary, it was clear to us that there is an abundance of creativity and innovation within the NHS looking for a suitable outlet.

From one of our very first innovations that helped transform otoplasty surgery, to new advances in anesthesia, surgery, artificial intelligence and personalised medicine, there is evidence everywhere that technology is rapidly transforming healthcare.

As a scientist myself, working with such talented and dedicated NHS clinicians, researchers, scientists and engineers to translate new medical technology into practice has been incredibly rewarding and a real privilege.

It hasn’t always been easy - we lost our central government grant funding in 2013 and had to develop a more self-sustaining business model, but we never wavered in our mission to accelerate new medical technologies to market for the benefit of patients. By expanding out of the East of England and growing our consultancy arm to work with both industry and government, the business has continued to flourish.

Here are a few highlights achieved by HEE over the last 15 years:

  • Reviewed over 2,200 ideas from our network of NHS members
  • Filed and managed over 70 families of Intellectual Property Rights
  • Negotiated and concluded 125 commercial deals to enable innovations to reach the NHS
  • Managed 187 companies through the NHS England funded SBRI Healthcare programme – providing £88m worth of funding and benefiting 4.4m patients
  • Completed over 60 health economic evaluations of new products developed by medtech companies
  • Leveraged £16 million in public and private investment to support NHS innovation projects from our members

Ready for an exciting future

The future looks equally exciting.

Our consultancy arm continues to grow, helping more SME innovators access the market and evaluate the benefits of their products; we continue to expand our NHS membership with St George’s Hospital London the latest to come on board; and Medovate, the specialist development company we established in late 2017, will bring its first products to market early next year.

I would like to thank all of our staff, inventors, R&D and commercial leads, NHS members, partners and clients who have supported us along the way. We couldn’t have achieved anything without your support, collaboration and determined commitment to innovation over the years.

Here’s to the next 15 years of successful innovation in healthcare.


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