New health innovations designed to improve patient care are set to receive £17 million in government funding so they can be developed.
Eight projects based across the UK will receive the cash injection after being named winners of the Digital Health Technology Catalyst (DHTC) and Medicines Manufacturing R2 programmes.
Successful projects this year include a GPS app designed to track the availability of hospital beds, an AI-based support system for surgeons and a smartphone app to help improve treatment for long-term, complex wounds.
Each of the winning projects will receive a share of the £17m prize fund, distributed through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund managed by UK Research and Innovation.
Ian Campbell, executive chair of Innovate UK for UK Research and Innovation, said the projects “represent the very best of British innovation”.
He added: “The projects we have funded today aim to make a real difference for patients and clinicians.
“The UK health sector is thriving, with SMEs playing a crucial role. By supporting this sector, as part of the government’s modern industrial strategy, we can ensure we remain global leaders in health innovation and create the jobs of tomorrow.”
• Satalia, working with Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, will use AI to schedule operating theatre use linked to downstream bed availability on ICU and wards
• Medical Data Solutions and Services, working with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, will deliver a programme using smartphones apps to support healthcare professionals and patients to monitor and improve treatment of long-term complex wounds
• Kinosis, working with UCL Hospitals NHS Trust, London, will use AI and digital visualisation technologies to improve surgical support and performance while assisting the standardisation of surgical procedures through better management of real-time information – the ‘Intelligent Operating Room’
• Navenio Ltd, working with the University of Oxford, will accelerate and enhance systems to track location of porters and equipment in a hospital, for maximum efficiency – ‘an Uber for porters’
• Cadscan, working with Chester Hospitals Trust, will deliver a virtual reality platform using VR headsets to help people recover after a stroke
Winners of the Medicine Manufacturing round 2 challenge fund competition include:
• FABRX Ltd, in Ashford Kent, who are developing a 3-D printing process to manufacture tablets, allowing the desk-top production of medicines with their doses tailored to individual patients and potentially combining several medicines into a single pill
• Intract Pharma, in Cambridge, who are testing a new technology that will allow antibodies to be taken orally, rather than through invasive injections
• Medherant, in Coventry, who are applying a new technology that should greatly increase the range of medicines that can be delivered by skin patches. This may be particularly suitable for patients where traditional tablets are difficult to administer – such as for very small children or the frail elderly
The DHTC is a £35 million fund being run over four years that aims to address challenges around the development of new digital health innovations, including solutions that can be commercialised for use in the NHS.
Medicines Manufacturing R2, meanwhile, aims to invigorate the development of new technologies to improve the manufacture of new medicines.
Matt Hancock, secretary of state of health and social care, said: “Innovative technology has the potential to truly transform healthcare for patients and staff. From artificial intelligence to VR to live tracking of hospital beds and equipment, there are so many ways in which the NHS is embracing tech.
“We are determined to make the NHS the most technologically advanced healthcare system in the world and today’s prizes will help progress towards that goal.”
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