Published: 24 November 2015 at 15:40
A new Essex company, Stent-Tek, an occupant of The MedBIC, has just won £1million in funding from the NHS National Institute for Health Research which will help towards developing a revolutionary medical device. The innovative Electronic Percutaneous Anastomosis Technology for Haemodialysis (ePATH) device will ensure minimally invasive vascular access for patients with kidney disease. The funding and support will allow the device to be further developed and taken through patient trials.
Stent-Tek were recipients of the Proof of Concept scheme from The MedBIC which offered them a range of support including complimentary business accommodation at The MedBIC, business support and guidance from an specialist business advisor and technical and research assistance from Prof Iris Grunwald at the Postgraduate Medical Institute. The company’s founder, Sorin Popa, is also a member and regular contributor to Anglia Ruskin’s MedTech Campus Meet-Up Network.
The Proof of Concept scheme also assisted with a referral to Essex County Council’s Essex Innovation Programme, who began working with Stent Tek when the company needed assistance with their grant proposal. EIP assigned the company a business mentor experienced in their sector. The mentor assisted the company during the proposal process for the Invention for Innovation (i4i) grant, a £1 million pound grant funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
The technology could improve outcomes for kidney disease patients. Most dialysis patients have to undergo surgery to create a connection – called a fistula - between an artery and a vein to prepare their veins for coping with the filtration process. Fistulas can be unreliable and can require repeated costly repair operations. In the US alone, $US 4.6 billion is spent annually to treat failing fistulas.
As well as being supported by The MedBIC and the Essex Innovation Programme, research into the ePATH device also received business assistance support from Anglia Ruskin University’s Medtech Campus ERDF funded Smart Money programme, the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine and Innovate UK.
Research into this project began when Sorin Popa was studying at Imperial College London. A partnership formed between Sorin and Dr Dickinson from the Department of Bioengineering and together they set up Stent Tek in October 2014. The company was set up to further develop the ePATH technology and bring it to the market.
There is a real and growing problem with patients around the world who are having repeated operations to repair their failing fistulas. A major challenge is getting new technologies like ePATH to patients to improve their treatments. Imperial offers one of the only master’s courses in Europe that gives researchers like me a solid grounding in business planning. It has helped to lay the foundations for Stent Tek - a company that that is developing a technology that could reduce the impact of treatments on patients who are preparing for dialysis and reduce costs for healthcare systems worldwide
Sorin Popa, CEO, Stent-Tek
Stent Tek have developed a fully functioning prototype and they are planning to move to the next phase of testing. By 2017 they aim to carry out clinical trials with patients. Following this stage the team expect to get the technology approved for market release in Europe and the US and into the European market by late 2018. In the future the team predict that their technology could have other uses including improving coronary bypass procedures in patients with heart conditions and opening up arteries that are blocked.
For more information on our Proof of Concept Scheme please visit The MedBIC website.