Our ears always prick up when we hear of initiatives that are designed to support innovation in healthcare so we were excited to hear about the Catalyst programme at the University of Southampton Science Park recently.
An incubator set up specifically to support promising early-stage science or technology-led business concepts, it seems that fledgling medtech companies working through Catalyst’s proven process are being propelled onto the national and global stage with some regularity.
Take BluPoint for example. A Catalyst graduate, BluPoint is a low cost solar-powered, pop-up intranet solution for people living in remote areas. It delivers curated information and targeted communications to any mobile handset, even those without internet connectivity or a web browser. The content is free of charge at point of use and is supplied at faster than 4G speeds. This game-changing innovation is already helping to overcome barriers to healthcare provision in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Africa where poor connectivity and slow data speeds are a big problem for community healthcare workers. Here, downloading one healthcare film for educational purposes can not only take forever but cost a whole month’s data credit. BluPoint is changing all that. The company is attracting attention from around the globe.
Another Catalyst graduate company that sparked our interest is mymhealth, which has developed an online system to monitor, educate, maintain and deliver healthcare more effectively. It gives patients the power to learn, control and connect with their clinicians, who in turn have a unique platform to manage, monitor and communicate with their patients. mymhealth’s myCOPD service is the first in a series of solutions in development. It incorporates over 120 hours of learning and self-management in a single product for patients with COPD. It has been successful in various clinical trials and, as a result, has attracted funding and the support of several partner organisations including the NHS.
Then there’s xim, which has created a suite of solutions to help ageing people to remain in their homes and out of residential care homes and hospitals for as long as possible. The company hopes to reduce costs and risks for health providers while boosting quality of life for patients and peace of mind for relatives. ximPlay facilitates education, health and social care therapy, ximSense provides emotional recognition for therapy and training, and ximTouch uses intuitive technologies to tackle social isolation and issues around medical adherence. The company’s flagship product, Lifelight, is a discreet camera-based early warning system for potential critical health events like a stroke or heart attack as indications are provided to a GP or out-of-hours health service. By detecting a user’s vital signs, clinicians can take preventative action. The company, which entered Catalyst just last year, has already secured funding from Innovate UK and the Wessex Academic Health Science Network to help bring its Lifelight product to market sooner.
The Catalyst programme is an intensive six month mix of high-level mentoring, commercially focused workshops and seminars with leading professionals, access to a dynamic network of like-minded individuals and a physical business base at Southampton Science Park. Successful entrants will also receive a £1,000 cash injection as well as further links to funding to really accelerate their business. To date, it has helped companies gain over £1 million worth of seed funding which has seen their start-up businesses flourish.
So, if you have a healthcare business idea that you’d like to develop, don’t delay because applications for Catalyst’s 2016 cohort are currently open. You don’t need a fully-fledged business or a commercial background but you must have a unique proposition and the determination to see it to fruition. Apply online at http://www.catalystcentre.co.uk/about/catalyst-programme but be quick! Applications close on 29th July 2016.