Business Network Services from Anglia Ruskin: an interview with Prof Young

Tony Young ARTICLE IMAGE

Please can you give an introduction to the Business Network Services that Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus has launched?

The Anglia Ruskin Medtech Campus Business Network Services have been developed in partnership with Chelmsford City Council, Harlow District Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council as part of plans to form the largest MedTech cluster in the UK over three development sites in Essex.

This ground-breaking partnership aims to drive growth and innovation in the UK medical technology sector. It will provide one of the world’s largest health innovation spaces for companies of all sizes – from start-ups and micro SMEs to large corporates – with the aim of establishing the UK as a global force in a sector worth £170 billion per year. The project is predicted to grow the UK medical technology sector by £1.2bn and generate approximately 12,500 jobs.

What are the aims of the project?

The overarching aims of the project are to drive business growth in the UK MedTech sector. The Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus Business Network Services we are launching will help overcome some of the barriers to innovation by providing an unrivalled network connecting clinicians, academics, industry, customers, patient and third sector groups, a straightforward and easy path for MedTech clinical trials and evaluations and access to funding.

Lord Howe - Innovation Expo (low res)

(Left to right) Jane Greer (Harlow District Council), Jack Bowman (CEO of Handle My Health), Emma Cooney (Southend-on-Sea Borough Council), Health Minister Lord Howe, Professor Tony Young (Anglia Ruskin University), Mike Smith (Chelmsford City Council)

What are the main limitations of UK medical technology companies?

The route to market for new MedTech and assisted living products and services can be challenging, particularly for start-up ventures and SMEs. Through our network and partner organisations, MedTech Campus members have unrivalled access to key organisations across the East of England that are responsible for delivering health and social care.

Our health economic assessment programme also opens doors, preparing and presenting the case for innovations to key customers at the right level in their organisation. This approach helps secure both pre-commercial and commercial procurement contracts.

What will the Business Network Services allow these companies access to?

Our Business Network Services will allow companies of all sizes – from start-ups to multinationals – the opportunity to access clinicians, academics, industry and customers. Anglia Ruskin is the lead academic partner and key provider of business and innovation services and, through its Clinical Trials Unit, it works closely with six acute NHS Trusts and a large mental health trust in Essex, offering access to a potential test bed of three million patients.

Will the Business Network Services provide access to funding opportunities?

The Business Network Services can also provide access to a range of public and private sector funding opportunities, ranging from venture capitalists to Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. Anglia Ruskin has set up a £500,000 proof of concept fund and is also planning to secure up to £2.2m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to promote low carbon innovation in the MedTech sector.

The Proof of Concept Fund will provide early stage and start-up companies with the investment necessary to test their product ideas. Not only has Anglia Ruskin University pledged this backing, but we have also secured both Angel investor and MedTech Corporate support for our proof of concept and follow-on investment programme. Synergy Healthcare, the world’s largest medical device sterilising company are joining us as part of our investor panel. On the MedTech Campus funding is no longer a limiting factor to getting your idea off the ground.

On innovation support, the MedTech Campus will also offer mentorship, incubation space, professional services and training to help innovators take their ideas forward.

The Business Network Services was launched at the Healthcare Innovation Expo at London’s ExCel Centre. What reaction did it receive?

The launch was well received by the invited audience of Industry, academia and the NHS. The Health Minister Lord Howe gave a strong presentation in support of the venture.

Lord Howe Health Minister

Health Minister Lord Howe is amongst the list of supporters of the Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus. What impact do you think the Business Network Services will have on the NHS?

The unprecedented demands that the NHS faces from a population who are living longer, healthier lives, but with more chronic conditions, means that the current model of healthcare delivery has to change to be sustainable. The Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus will specialise in near-market solutions for products and services, meaning we can begin to address these problems tomorrow rather than the distant future.

We are very grateful to Lord Howe and his innovation team, particularly Miles Ayling and Graham Reid, for their continued support for this venture, which has helped us make rapid progress and develop such important partnerships.

The partnership is currently between Chelmsford City Council, Harlow District Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Anglia Ruskin. Do you think this project will lead to similar partnerships elsewhere in the UK?

Our partnership is unique, not only in what it is seeking to achieve in an under-supported sector, but also in how we are bringing the campus to fruition. This is a business-focussed partnership working to enable growth, innovation and excellence in the medical technologies sector.

The combination of the private sector with Anglia Ruskin University and three local authorities is incredibly powerful, creating new opportunities to exploit the significant commissioning and buying potential of care buyers and providers.

We hope to extend our partnership by developing our relationships with others with similar interests as the project develops.

What impact do you think the project will have on the UK medical technology sector?

The project is predicted to grow the UK medical technology sector by £1.2bn and generate approximately 12,500 jobs.

Where can readers find more information?

More information can be found at our website www.medtechcampus.com

About Prof Young

Tony Young BIG IMAGEProf Tony Young has been a medical innovator and entrepreneur throughout his career. He has established four MedTech companies and raised over £5m in private sector financing for these. He has been a Consultant Urological Surgeon at Southend Hospital since 2007 where his specialist clinical interests include stone disease and laser prostate surgery.

In January 2010 he was appointed as Director of Medical Innovation at the Postgraduate Medical Institute at Anglia Ruskin University. This role focuses on transforming the MedTech Innovation process. He is leading on research, development and commercialisation of new medical devices and developing new educational programmes in this area. Through his role at the PMI he has been instrumental in bringing together the partnership that forms the Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus. The MedTech campus will be one of the world’s largest health innovation spaces and will transform the UK MedTech sector.

April Cashin-Garbutt

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April Cashin-Garbutt

April graduated with a first-class honours degree in Natural Sciences from Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. During her time as Editor-in-Chief, News-Medical (2012-2017), she kickstarted the content production process and helped to grow the website readership to over 60 million visitors per year. Through interviewing global thought leaders in medicine and life sciences, including Nobel laureates, April developed a passion for neuroscience and now works at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, located within UCL.

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