Medical technology companies in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire can apply to cover 50% of their clinical evaluation costs, thanks to a project delivered by Medilink East Midlands and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN).
Medical Technology Trial (MTT) grants are available to qualifying companies who need to test and evaluate their products and services in a clinical setting. This ensures that they are working as intended, are effective and are safe for use. The gathering of this evidence is vital for companies wanting to sell their products and services to the healthcare market – including the NHS.
These grants are delivered as part of the Inspiring Networking to Stimulate Technology Innovation in Life Sciences (INSTILS) project, a £7.39 million scheme part-funded by ERDF. INSTILS provides free and impartial support and advice to Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire companies working in, or looking to work in, life sciences; to innovate and create new products and services. The East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) is one of the project delivery partners and are also part-funding the project. The other delivery partners are The University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.
In addition to INSTILS support, companies who access this grant scheme receive support from the EMAHSN to help get their products and services NHS-ready. This includes one-to-one support during the trials, access to specialist events, support with product development, opportunities to meet with clinical experts, regular opportunities to showcase their products with NHS decision-makers and influencers and one-to-one discussions on completion of their evaluation.
INSTILS is set to run until September 2021. Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire companies who sign up to the INSTILS programme receive wide-ranging business support. This includes help and advice from life science sector specialists, life science companies, the NHS and universities, as well as grants for clinical evaluations, innovation development and specialist networking events. The total cost of the project is £7,393,742, of which £3,696,871 is ERDF value.
One company which has already benefitted from an INSTILS grant is Sanandco Ltd. to evaluate its primary product, the MonitorMe. This is a clinical device and a telephone, which is equipped with sensors to monitor the patient’s vital signs including temperature, heart rate and pulse transit time, which is a proxy for blood pressure. This updates the patient’s digital health record together with a symptoms-based questionnaire and is particularly useful for community nurses and doctors, who can remotely monitor patients who have long term health conditions.
An MTT grant, provided as part of the INSTILS programme, has enabled Sanandco to approach the Lincoln NHS Trust and Lincoln University and the company is currently working through a clinical trial with a small group of patients. At present, these trials are ongoing, but once they have been completed, Sanandco hopes to be able to prove the benefit of MonitorMe to the wider market.
Darren Clark, Chief Executive of Medilink East Midlands, said: “For medical technology companies who want to sell to the healthcare market, the gathering of an evidence base is paramount. By making this support available, we’re helping companies to overcome obstacles on the road to getting their products and services out to as wide a market as possible. We are extremely pleased to be working with the EMAHSN to offer companies and entrepreneurs the sector-specific knowledge and support they need through this programme.”
Mike Hannay, Managing Director of EMAHSN, added: “Companies like Sanandco are a perfect example of what we want to achieve through providing these grants. We worked with them to identify providers who could help to undertake the necessary research needed to produce the proof of concept data and bring the MonitorMe to market and I look forward to working with similar companies over the course of this project.”
For further information on the INSTILS project and to find out more about the support on offer, click here