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Government awards £10m to medtech developers

The government has awarded £10m to eight technology companies to create innovative medical devices and bring them to market

The government has awarded £10m to eight technology companies to create innovative medical devices and bring them to market.

The funding, which is part of the Innovative Devices Access Pathway (IDAP), gives developers money as well as targeted support and advice on creating products to be used by the NHS.

The aim is to support the speedy development of technologies that can be adopted by the health service and address clinical needs for patients and healthcare professionals that are currently unmet, while also being uncompromising on standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

This includes Roches Diagnostics, which has developed a blood test that could help clinicians decide if patients who are showing signs of cognitive impairment should have further tests to confirm Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as a smartphone app for patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) that delivers exercise, cognitive behaviour therapy and targeted physical activity, tailored to the patient.

Health minister Andrew Stephenson said NHS staff need access to innovative technologies to deliver improved patient care and cut waiting lists.

“These cutting-edge technologies could help thousands of patients with a range of conditions, including cancer, stroke and Alzheimer’s, while easing pressure on our hospitals and reducing healthcare inequalities,” he said.

“Our investment in these pioneering companies is part of our long-term plan for a faster, simpler and fairer healthcare system, and demonstrates our clear commitment to ensuring the UK is the most innovative economy in the world.”

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Another project receiving funding is Lenus Health’s idea to use artificial intelligence (AI) to predict patients at risk of being hospitalised for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), using data collected from wearable devices, sensors and apps, while EarSwitch has created a device to detect oxygen levels from the inner ear canal instead of using a finger oximeter, which has shown to be inaccurate in people with darker skin tones.

In May 2023, the government announced its intention to launch the IDAP. The access pathway is a collaboration between the DHSC, Health Technology Wales, MHRA, the NHS, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the Office for Life Sciences, and the Scottish Health Technologies Group.

“This is an important milestone in our work to ensure the NHS continues to get the best new technologies and treatments to patients faster, having already rolled out more than 100 new treatments through the cancer drug fund and setting up a dedicated programme to prepare for new Alzheimer’s treatments once they are approved,” said Vin Diwakar, interim national director of transformation at NHS England.

“We will be working closely with our partners to support those companies selected for the pilot so that more game-changing, life-saving technologies are introduced quickly and safely on the NHS,” he said.

This first round of funding for the IDAP will be used as a pilot, which will help develop the future IDAP as an end-to-end framework that supports innovators to gain evidence for regulatory approval, assessments and patient access in the NHS.

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