New £10m plan steered by Medical Technologies IKC
Solving challenges to bring new medical technologies in Yorkshire to the marketplace is the focus of a new partnership led by Leeds’ Dr Josephine Dixon-Hardy and Professor John Fisher.
The Grow MedTech partnership is backed by £9.5m of funding, and will build on the distinctive cluster of medical technologies expertise in the Leeds and Sheffield city regions. It will address issues that can block the process of commercialising products and bringing them from conception to clinical use.
The University of Leeds is leading the three-year project, which has more than 20 partners including six northern universities.
Dr Josephine Dixon-Hardy, Director of Medical Technologies Innovation at the University of Leeds, is leading the delivery of the partnership, and Professor John Fisher (main picture), Director of the EPSRC Medical Technologies Innovation and Knowledge Centre at the University, is the project’s academic lead.
By supporting and financially backing researchers and developers to take new products through the early stages of commercial development, it expects to bring about 20 potentially life-enhancing devices into everyday use during the next three years.
The process will include taking the business risk out of early stage projects and providing proof of commercial concept funding, giving investors and businesses confidence that they have a realistic chance of success. It will also support clinical evaluation to secure regulatory approval, essential for projects to be commercialised.
Dr Dixon-Hardy said: “We are bringing the best minds in engineering, biological development, design and manufacturing together with industry to drive products into everyday use to improve the quality of life for people across the world.
“Our region already has an acknowledged reputation as a leader in this field – we plan to consolidate and extend that and provide the underpinning support needed to take new inventions through the important regulatory and testing processes needed to get them to market.”
We are bringing the best minds in engineering, biology, design and manufacturing together with industry to improve the quality of life for people across the world.
Professor Fisher said: “The rate of change associated with technology convergence at the moment is unprecedented, and the UK medtech sector needs to transform to exploit this opportunity.
“We aim to lead this change in the UK, recognising the need for greater collaboration between researchers, industry and the wider healthcare sector, and the growing value of multi-disciplinary knowledge and skills across the med-tech sector. The programme will deliver growth in the economy and benefits to the health and care services”.
Previous research has identified that the most significant trend in future health care product innovation is the combination of different technologies. The partnership will pay special attention to supporting this area of growth.
Examples of technological convergence include connecting robotics and medical imaging systems to automate surgical procedures, and digital health and smart drug delivery services.
Working with business
Grow MedTech will be supported through Nexus, the University of Leeds’ innovation and enterprise centre, which is due to open in September and will be the gateway for business to access academic expertise and facilities across the University.
Nexus will offer services including incubation areas, lab spaces, meeting facilities and dedicated staff whose role is to facilitate productive working relationships between academic experts and business, in a brand new £40m building on the University campus.
The partnership is intended to bring together the extensive resources in Leeds and Sheffield city regions to stimulate a more dynamic medtech cluster. This will help position UK companies to address forecast medtech market growth opportunities of £10-30bn per annum for UK industry in the next five years.
EPSRC Medical Technologies Innovation and Knowledge Centre (Medical Technologies IKC)
The Medical Technologies IKC is a unique Innovation and Knowledge Centre that brings businesses together with world-class experts to accelerate the commercial development of new medical technology products and services.
Grow MedTech is closely aligned with the recently published UK Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, which highlights the role of medical technologies as a driving force for the UK economy.
The partnership is a result of the Medical Technologies Science and Innovation Audit, led by the University of Leeds and published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in September 2017. It also supports the Office of Life Sciences Industry Strategy and the Med-tech Sector Deal, and the Inclusive Industry Strategy for the Leeds City Region.
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