New funding programme to support Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire medical technology companies

November 4, 2016 10:31 am

A major new programme for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire-based medical technology companies is offering funding and support to set up clinical trials, helping them to build the evidence needed to win new business from NHS organisations.

East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN), in conjunction with Medilink East Midlands has launched a new MedTech trials programme aimed at small to medium sized companies based in the D2N2 LEP area, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The programme forms part of the Medilink East Midlands’ ERDF-funded INSTILS Project, which launched this summer.

Medical technology (MedTech) products could include an instrument, apparatus, appliance or software that can prevent, diagnose or treat diseases, improve services for patients, and or save money by enabling health services to run more efficiently. Many businesses do not have the resources or expertise to set up clinical trials of their products and this programme will assist Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire-based companies who have developed innovative devices and want to take them to the next stage of commercialisation.

Trials are essential since they provide the evidence base to demonstrate that an innovative product is both effective in delivering benefits to patients and has a sound health economics business case. With pharmaceutical products there is a clearly defined pathway of trials that can be undertaken to reach this point.

This is not the case for many SMEs working in the MedTech arena. For some this may be their first entry into the medical products market and they may not have the network of contacts and understanding of the NHS structure needed to successfully plan and support a clinical trial. Others may struggle to fund a trial comprehensive enough to produce conclusive evidence which is acceptable to clinicians and NHS commissioners.

The EMAHSN MedTech Trial Programme includes up to 50% match funding to SME’s to support trials which will provide clinical evidence of efficacy for products; introduction to research and innovation groups within NHS Trusts who are interested in hosting clinical trials; assistance in defining the most appropriate type of trial in order to support NHS market adoption; and signposting to funding and support that may be available from other agencies.

EMAHSN commercial director Chris Hart said: “Having a robust evidence base which confirms the patient and economic benefits of an innovation is a vital ingredient to the successful spread and adoption of a product throughout the NHS.

“EMAHSN exists to support the spread of health innovations at pace and scale.

The MedTech Trials Programme provides companies with both the funding and support needed to establish robust trials at this critical stage in the product lifecycle.  We can also use our region-wide and national contacts to help identify the most appropriate site to undertake the trial.

“Our region has a strong and growing reputation for the development of medical technology devices and products, but many innovations fail to succeed in the NHS market due to the difficulty in developing robust clinical evidence. If the programme proves successful in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, we will look to expand it to other areas in the East Midlands”.

The programme will be administered by Medilink East Midlands, the region’s life science industry association that helps companies establish, develop and grow.

Dr Darren Clark, chief executive of Medilink East Midlands, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside the EMAHSN on this exciting new programme, which will provide valuable support to Medical Technology companies across the region. The Medilink East Midlands INSTILS project follows on from the ERDF-funded healthcare and bioscience iNet, which ran from 2008-2015 and supported over 1000 companies. The MedTech Trials Programme is a valuable addition to the support we currently provide, and we look forward to continuing to assist Life Sciences companies across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire”.

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