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Medovate set to launch SAFIRA as first healthcare product




Medovate team at their new offices at The Workplace on Camboro Business Park in Girton, Stuart Thomson (centre) with some of the team. Picture: Keith Heppell
Medovate team at their new offices at The Workplace on Camboro Business Park in Girton, Stuart Thomson (centre) with some of the team. Picture: Keith Heppell

Medical device company Medovate moved to Camboro Business Park in early December as it prepares to scale up to develop, launch and distribute its innovative medtech devices.

The move to Girton means that the company’s portfolio can be warehoused on-site and, with 6,000 sq ft rather than the previous 700 sq ft, there’s more room to add to the eight current full-time employees.

“We were in Milton Hall before but the team is growing and we needed bigger and more flexible space,” Stuart says. “We’ve been able to get a warehouse for quality control at Girton, and we’re looking to take on additional staff in the first quarter next year.”

Medovate is dedicated to the development and commercialisation of medical technologies by providing innovators with financial and technical support during the early phases of development. It was spun out of Health Enterprise East (HEE) in 2017.

“I was the commercialisation director at HEE, heading the technical development team,” Medovate’s managing director Stuart Thomson told the Cambridge Independent. “In 2017 we realised that there were so many good ideas coming out of the NHS that we needed more financial firepower to develop them, and realised that the best way was to set up a company dedicated to developing and taking these solutions to market.”

Medovate was set up later that year.

“We received £9million from investors – London-based NVM Private Equity LLP and a US-based individual of high net worth.”

Medovate’s business model showcases medtech products from innovators in the healthcare sector, and if you could funnel the best ideas to market, you’d be doing a useful job. Lots of great ideas come from the NHS, from the operating theatre to outpatients.

So what’s the timeline for production, I ask?

“That depends how many technologies we take on,” replies Stuart. “We have five NHS technologies on board at the moment, all in different phases of development.

HEE gets about 200 ideas submitted a year, so our initial objective is to prove this business model works, and across multiple healthcare networks.

“The first product, SAFIRA, is due to be launched in Europe and the US in 2020, which we’re very proud of. It has 510(k) regulatory approval in the US, and has an anaesthesia focus,” says Stuart, before narrowing that down to“in the middle or third quarter of 2020”.

Medovate's SAFIRA is set for European and US launches in the 'middle or third quarter' of this year, and has already acquired US regulatory approval
Medovate's SAFIRA is set for European and US launches in the 'middle or third quarter' of this year, and has already acquired US regulatory approval

SAFIRA (SAFer Injection for Regional Anaesthesia) offers simplified and safer regional anaesthetic procedures. Current regional anaesthesia procedures require two operators: an anaesthetist who holds an ultrasound scanner and uses this to guide the needle tip placement, and a second operator to inject the anaesthetic solution at a required pressure.

However, anaesthetic solutions are often injected at high pressure, which can cause nerve damage. SAFIRA is an end-to-end solution which allows a single operator, an anaesthetist, to conduct the whole procedure at safe pressures.

“SAFIRA was presented to HEE,” notes Stuart, “and Medovate has taken it on. Our partnership with HEE means we can look at various technologies and negotiate a deal working with the NHS, HEE and our two investors.”

SAFIRA has been developed with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

Although a big slice of Medovate’s focus is on SAFIRA, there’s more to come in 2020, specifically HUMIDICARE, a heat and moisture exchanger (HME).

During any surgery requiring a general anaesthetic, an endotracheal tube attached to a breathing machine is inserted into the patient’s airways to pump air into their lungs. These procedures require an ambient breathing circuit, and because the air produced by these machines is dry, an HME is required to humidify it.

However, complications during the surgery can mean the patient is moved to an intensive care unit. The patient will then be moved to a different type of breathing machine, called a heated humidified circuit. This provides heat and moisture for the patient itself, and the HME is no longer required and should be removed.

Not only is the HME no longer needed, but it can become clogged with mucus from the airways over time if it is left on the endotracheal tube once the breathing machine has been changed over. This can lead to the patient’s airways becoming blocked and can send the patient into respiratory distress, in extreme cases this can lead to a fatal outcome.

The NHS refers to this as a ‘never event’ – a serious incident that’s wholly preventable, and should never occur.

Medovate CEO Stuart Thomson with the SAFIRA injection system. Picture: Keith Heppell
Medovate CEO Stuart Thomson with the SAFIRA injection system. Picture: Keith Heppell

HUMIDICARE will turn yellow the moment it has been attached to a heated humidified circuit, to warn the clinician that it is on the wrong breathing system.

“Our HME is cost-neutral to healthcare, it’s the same price as competing products,” Stuart explains.

Just with added safety.

In October, Medovate brought Chris Rogers on board as sales, marketing and business development director. Chris has more than 20 years’ experience in healthcare, previously leading commercial, sales and marketing teams at Medtronic, Halyard Health and Molnlycke. He started his career in the pharma industry working at AstraZeneca, Organon and Schering-Plough, where he held positions of increasing responsibility and “was recognised for excellence in performance, leadership and team development”.

“Chris is leading our go to market launch strategy for EMEA and the US, getting us set up and ready for the launch of SAFIRA,” notes Stuart.

Stand by for further progress in 2020.



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