St Helens based surgical training device manufacturer Inovus Medical has secured £1 million from SBRI Healthcare, an NHS programme supported by the Innovation Agency and the wider AHSN Network.
The funding is to develop the company’s augmented reality laparoscopic simulator, which was backed in its earliest stages by an initial £100,000 from SBRI Healthcare.
Innovation Agency Commercial programme manager Andy Cairns who has advised the company on its SBRI applications, said: “It is fantastic to see Inovus developing its portfolio and expanding its local workforce as it pushes boundaries with affordable training devices. The company is a great exemplar for NHS-backed clinical entrepreneurship.”
Having successfully developed a functional beta product, Inovus has been awarded phase two funding to complete development of a commercially ready offering. The contract was awarded in the technology in surgery category of SBRI Healthcare’s £5.56 million funding round in which there was a focus on improving preoperative surgical simulation.
Inovus Medical Chief Executive Dr Elliot Street said: “There is a growing disconnect between the increasing demands for trainee surgeons to demonstrate surgical proficiencies in the simulated environment, and ready access to realistic simulators to do this.
“The augmented reality simulators we are developing are the perfect solution to that unmet need. We are extremely grateful to SBRI Healthcare for supporting our vision on this project and are excited to deliver a successful second phase over the coming months.”
The company has grown from two to 13 employees at its plant in St Helens, in the last two years.
Professor Tony Young OBE, National Clinical Lead for Innovation at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “The fusion of virtual reality with keyhole surgical simulators represents the next step in how we train surgeons and the Pyxus-AR from Inovus is leading the way in this field.
“The SBRI award recognizes the cutting edge nature of this technology and I am delighted that this has arisen from one of our NHS Clinical Entrepreneurs, Dr Elliot Street. Innovations like this can help us transform medical education and training and equip the NHS workforce with the skills and knowledge they need to deliver high quality patient care.”
SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England initiative, championed by the Innovation Agency and its fellow Academic Health Science Networks.