Medtech Accelerator, the specialist financial scheme for early stage medtech innovations, has announced awards totalling £150,000 to two innovation projects in the fields of critical care logistics and cornea replacement surgery. Medtech Accelerator has now supported 13 innovation projects with combined awards of more than £1.15 million since its inception in 2016.
The two latest awards will inject funding into LocANTS, a software platform that facilitates the sharing of critical data when moving a patient between hospital sites, and Corneal Graft Suturing Ring (CGSR), a device to improve suturing and prevent complications common in corneal graft surgeries.
Medtech Accelerator is a joint venture led by Health Enterprise East in partnership with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP), Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, the Eastern Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and Essex County Council. The scheme is designed to support new technologies during the crucial initial phases of development by supplying funding that can be directed towards prototype development and early-stage testing, both of which help products establish commercial viability.
Thanks to its joint venture structure, Medtech Accelerator is able to work with HEE's NHS members to identify unmet clinical needs within the healthcare system, and is in a position to spot innovators within the NHS whose ideas could directly tackle these problems.
Commenting on the latest funding awards, Dr Paul Seabright Chair of the Medtech Accelerator Investment Committee said:
“Advances in technology have the potential to help us create a more effective patient care. The Medtech Accelerator plays a vital role in rapidly converting the best innovation into products and services that address un-met clinical need and is a fantastic resource for medtech innovators looking to ensure their fledgling ideas take flight.
“The innovations supported in the latest round of funding are illustrative of the broad range of ideas that the Medtech Accelerator is able to support. Critical patient transfer data and corneal replacement surgery represent very diverse and unrelated areas of healthcare. However, all our projects are inextricably linked by potential to radically transform patient care through innovation. We look forward to working with the teams at both LocANTS and CGSR to help bring their technologies to our hospitals.”
Details of the projects to benefit from the latest round of Medtech Accelerator awards are as follows:
Award 1: £124,315 Real Time Available Resource Locator for Acute Neonatal Transfer Service (LocANTS) – cloud-based platform to share critical information between hospitals
Dr Arunava Dhar: Acute Neonatal Transfer Service (ANTS) and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
LocANTS is a concept for a dynamic, cloud-based software platform with the ability to better share critical information in real time between hospitals and acute care transfer teams that are responsible for moving critically ill patients between hospital sites. Through the use of monitors and smart devices, LocANTS will allow the transfer team to be able to clearly and effectively identify available resources (clinical parameters, team availability, real time location, availability/type of cots/beds, available specialist equipment, updated traffic and weather conditions) to allow prompt and effective decision and ensure a reduction in transfer time and efficiency that will lead to a significantly safer transfer service. The Medtech Accelerator award will allow the early development and testing of the LocANTS platform within the Acute Neonatal Transfer Service (ANTS) for the East of England and allow proof of the concept for this newly forming venture.
Award 2: £25,000 Corneal Graft Suturing Ring (CGSR)
Mr Anas Injarie: Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Corneal graft surgeries involve the replacement of damaged cornea with healthy donor tissue. These “button-shaped” grafts are difficult to hold in place when placed onto the recipient eye due to the slippery surface, therefore making it difficult for surgeons to adequately suture the graft in place. Inadequate suturing can compromise the patient’s visual outcome and can result in risk of wound leakage and other complications. The CGSR device aims to avoid these complications by providing a means of holding the donor graft firmly in place and easing the suturing process. The Medtech Accelerator award will support the exploration and development of CGSR design concepts, in partnership with Cambridge Medtech Solutions, that would feed towards future development work such as developing prototypes for clinical studies.