MedTech BEST

Date: May 22, 2017

MedTech BEST Logo Horizontal

MedTech BEST (Business and Entrepreneurial Skills Training) is about taking research into the marketplace (translation). Participants on the course learn about the skills, evidence, and regulations needed and the challenges likely to be encountered along this pathway.

The task is to develop a MedTech product concept to solve a verified clinical need. The concept will be hypothetical but plausible and grounded in real science to address a real market. Teams (mixing undergraduates and postgraduates for the course pilot) first need to generate ideas for a technology and select their lead idea(s) to take forward. They also need to “build” a company formed to commercialise this product concept.

Teams receive training in building a business and technology case around their idea – this is delivered by external MedTech sector specialists from industry and the supply/support chain.

Each team member is asked to take on a “board level” role in their company in order to develop and refine their business case and prepare a pitch to put before a Dragon’s Den-type judging panel. Teams are assisted in this by experienced mentors and receive frequent instruction and refinement of their ideas through regular MedTech BEST workshops.

MedTech BEST Pitch Final, 22 March 2017

The final session of MedTech BEST 2017 saw two teams pitching before a judging panel for investment in their technology and product. In keeping with the ethos of MedTech BEST, these products (and investment!) were hypothetical but had to be plausible and grounded in real science to address a real market and real clinical need. Teams also produced an Investment Memo that was provided to the judges in the days before the pitch final.

EnginEar Limited (Ben Golland, Will Jones, Paige Buckley and Elizabeth Young) pitched their CleaRing® technology and product line for the correction of tinnitus.  This is a discrete, completely-in-the-canal Class 2a medical device designed to treat all forms of tinnitus – mild to moderate to severe – capable of addressing the whole tinnitus market.  CleaRing emits a non-auditory wave, the technology for which is patent protected, unnoticeable to the user, so that the overactive firing in the auditory cortex – responsible for tinnitus – is returned to a resting state.

 

BEST

EnginEar – Will Jones, Lizzie Young and Ben Golland (l–r)

Oaks and Acorns Healthcare Limited (Lekha Koria, Hannah Pape, Adam Kelly, Ella Mencel, and Roxanne Dyer) pitched their Acorn Baby Monitoring System which uses advanced biosensors and integrated software as wearable technology for the monitoring of premature babies. Sensors are woven within the fabric of a smart Babygro so that key variables (heart rate, breathing rate, temperature and blood oxygen) can be tracked and delivered as live reports to doctors, nurses and even the parents via novel software and a mobile app.

Oaks and Acorns Healthcare with mentor Danielle Miles (2nd left) and Ana Avaliani from RAEng (3rd right). Lekha Koria, Ella Mencel, Roxanne Dyer, Hannah Pape, Adam Kelly (l – r)

Oaks and Acorns Healthcare with mentor Danielle Miles (2nd left) and Ana Avaliani from RAEng (3rd right). Lekha Koria, Ella Mencel, Roxanne Dyer, Hannah Pape, Adam Kelly (l–r)

Judges (Ana Avaliani, Head of Enterprise, Royal Academy of Engineering; Jo Dixon-Hardy, Director of Medical Technologies Innovation, University of Leeds; Tony Morgan, Enterprise Business Unit Technical Leader, IBM and RAEng Visiting Professor in Innovation, University of Leeds; Marcus Orton, Chief Executive Officer, SwabTech Ltd, and Colin Glass, Senior Partner at WGN) then each had the opportunity to question both teams – with participants representing the management board of their companies – on their business plan and investment proposition.

Judging Panel - Colin Glass, Marcus Orton, Ana Avaliani, Jo Dixon-Hardy and Tony Morgan (l - r)

Judging Panel – Colin Glass, Marcus Orton, Ana Avaliani, Jo Dixon-Hardy and Tony Morgan (l-r)

Following a lengthy adjournment, the judges returned to announce their decision. Despite being nearly too close to call, the winner of MedTech BEST competition was declared to be EnginEar!

EnginEar – Winners MedTech BEST 2017 with Ana Avaliani from RAEng (2nd left). Ben Golland, Lizzie Young, Will Jones (l – r)

EnginEar – Winners MedTech BEST 2017 with Ana Avaliani from RAEng (2nd left). Ben Golland, Lizzie Young, Will Jones (l–r)

Providing feedback the judges commented that “the pitches were great and those presenting have the potential to go on to create excellent MedTech companies. The products, presentations and business plans had a serious touch of reality – warts ’n all!” The judges concluded that “both teams pitched well, and, in the main, managed to think on their feet. Best of all the practical experience and skills the students learned will be hugely beneficial for them moving forward.”

 

Professor Mike Raxworthy

Professor Mike Raxworthy

Course organiser Professor Mike Raxworthy commented “We’ve covered a lot of ground and had some really good talks from external experts on the steps needed when taking an idea from the lab through to commercialisation. Those that have stayed with MedTech BEST have risen to the challenge and shown they can apply entrepreneurial thinking and deliver a convincing pitch.  These are skills much sought by our industry”.

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