Ulster Medical Firms Unveil New ProductsTwo Belfast-based medical technology companies have unveiled major product developments
By Helen McGurk
News Letter Business Tuesday 28th June 2005
Two Belfast-based medical technology companies have unveiled major product developments which they are hoping will raise their international profile.
Sensor Technology and Devices (ST&D) and TruCorp, both university spin-out companies, specialise in devices for healthcare professionals.
ST&D, whose products include an 'electronic nose' for detecting major illnesses, has received £1.7 million in venture capital funding.
Northern Ireland venture capital firm Enterprise Equity led the investment, with additional funding from Invest Northern Ireland, UUTech and private investors.
A University of Ulster spin-out company, ST&D has developed a range of innovative sensor and electrode components for medical devices.
The products are primarily geared towards the monitoring of human vital signs, such as blood pressure and the physiological measurement of muscular or vascular activity. They include an electronic nose that in trials is detecting major illnesses from a person's breath, to an in-home foetal monitoring patch that could help expectant mothers predict the onset of their own labour. ST&D said the funds will enable it to further develop production and international marketing activity, in order to exploit niche markets and compete on an international level.
Craig Holmes of Enterprise Equity, who joins the board of ST&D as nonexecutive director, said: "We are pleased to be supporting a young company which is developing what we believe to be world class technology." "ST&D has developed partnerships and customer relationships with some major international companies, such as USbased Welch Allyn, and we have backed the company because we believe there are significant commercial opportunities." TruCorp, a spinout from the Department of Anaesthetics at Queen's University, is hoping to give medics a head start with its revolutionary new training tool. Known as Airsim, the device resembles a human head and throat, and experts say it is the only simulator in which the reactions of the airway are virtually identical to those of a human patient. Airsim will be used by paramedics, hospital anaesthetists and other healthcare professionals.
TruCorp said Airsim has a number of special features, including a one-piece airway moulded from a master, created from CT scan data, which enables the airway to behave like it would in real life. Dr Jim Murray of the Queen's University School of Medicine said: "The Airsim is a faithful reproduction of the human airway anatomy and, as such, is invaluable as a training aid to facilitate the learning and development of airway management skills for all health professionals, including medical students, paramedics, surgeons, first aiders and police." Start-up funding for TruCorp was provided by QUBIS Ltd, the University's business incubator unit; the University Challenge Fund, which supports the commercialisation of university research; the American company Medical Education Technologies Inc (METI), the world leader in top-level simulators; and the TruCorp team itself.<< BACK