Pitch perfect: MedTech SuperConnector Showcase features innovative technologies ranging from diagnostics to music therapy and organ mimics

Aug 19, 2022 | MTSC

In June, the innovators of MedTech SuperConnector’s fifth cohort delivered pitches to an audience of investors, academics, and entrepreneurs – demonstrating the potential to transform the health and social care landscape through translating research into innovative medical technologies.

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MedTech SuperConnector (MTSC), an entrepreneurial skills development programme, hosted its first in-person Showcase in over two years at Scale Space White City. The Showcase is the concluding event of the 6-month programme, providing an opportunity for innovators to deliver their final pitches – demonstrating the growth of their ventures which translate research into early-stage medical technologies.

The fifth cohort featured 12 Early Career Researchers (ECRs) representing 5 of the 8 consortium partners. This presented a diverse array of ventures from enhanced diagnostics to precision surgical aids, monoclonal antibody discovery, and AI-enabled patient monitoring, as well as mobile music therapy, synthetic organ mimics, a wearable memory tool for dementia patients, and anti-infective drug discovery using an inventive molecular pathway.

Across institutions there are ECRs working on insightful research with the potential to solve real-world problems, however, the process of translating research into innovative technologies can be difficult. Entrepreneurial researchers have a wealth of knowledge and experience to support the science behind their innovation, however, they may benefit refining their business model and gaining a more thorough understanding of entrepreneurial skills.

MTSC stands apart from other accelerator programmes because of its focus on supporting ECRs who are in the pre-tech transfer stage of the innovation pathway. In addition to funding, MTSC promotes entrepreneurial skill building through hosting a suite of masterclasses which cover topics from regulatory strategy, intellectual property, customer discovery and more.

Over 70 ECRs have been supported through the past five cohorts, with more than £17 million raised in venture capital and grants. There have been 14 spin-outs formed which has resulted in more than 46 people employed. Some ventures have also seen the commercial launch of their first products, such as a wearable stimulation device for those living Parkinson’s from Charco Neurotech and Scaled, offering a wearable technology aimed at preventing joint injury.


At the Showcase, the innovators engaged and informed the audience with their final pitches. Some saw their ventures change significantly from what they entered the programme with while others were able to identify their market and refine their business model. The pitches presented a brief insight into the journey each innovator had while on the programme, here’s what else some of them had to say about their time as an MTSC participant:

2Viz

A sensor, developed as a surgical aid, that autonomously identifies and generates digital 3D maps of different tissues. Stephen Laws, an Imperial PhD candidate, joined the SuperConnector with an idea and preliminary lab studies. He saw his venture change drastically throughout the programme “…by the end…I had developed a full prototype, a well-defined customer segment, a business plan and clinical studies lined up to prove my technology”.

EnMuAble

A digital musical instrument to support collaborative music making and social interaction. Gigi Lam, a musician-educator from the Royal College of Music, said the programme provided her with a “supportive community, and lots of resources and training” which is preparing her to take her venture to the next stage.

Zyme Dx

Dr Leah Frenette works as a research associate at Imperial in the Faculty of Engineering. Her venture, Zyme Dx, focuses on offering rapid diagnostic tests. Her participation in MTSC came at a useful time she says as “our venture was gaining traction, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to take a major role in it. In addition to providing tools which allowed Frenette to gain confidence in her abilities to lead in a business setting, she says that MTSC also helped “focus our story and refine it to something nearly unrecognisable from when we began”.

Smart Surgical Solutions

MARIO – Mobile Assisted Reconstruction in Orthopaedics – is a smartphone enabled navigation tool to assist surgeons in placing orthopaedic implants precisely. Dr Shuqiao Xie, co-founder of Smart Surgical Solutions and an Imperial research associate in the Department of Bioengineering, said that he gained a clearer understanding of the market and where MARIO sits in it. With the support of MTSC he was able to update his business plan and pitch deck. The financial support also allowed he and his team register their company in preparation for the spinout process which he says “is not generally supported by any other translation programme.”.

NOAH Analytics

Sigourney Waibel, a PhD candidate working at the Brain Sciences Division of the Department of Medicine at Imperial, applied for MTSC in order to help translate the technology built by herself and her team – an AI-enabled wearable device used to monitor patient behaviour in hospitals and care homes. She says that “the funding and 1:1 expert support helped us to build a robust business case around a strong core product and team” which is strengthening the foundation for “a sustainable healthtech start-up”.


The cohort leave the programme with the confidence to regard themselves as innovators and not just ECRs. Hiten Thakrar, Head of MedTech SuperConnector, said: “It’s great to finally be back in person, and give this cohort the opportunity to pitch and present to a room full of people from all corners of our ecosystem – start-ups, mentors, industry and funders. They’ve been through an intense 6-month period of pushing themselves in an area they’re not familiar with, developing new skills, applying them to their technologies and iterating as they go. I’m really excited to see how they get on, and where this takes them, on the next step of your entrepreneurial journey.”

If you would like to get in touch with the MedTech SuperConnect team, please submit you interest on the Contact Us page of the website.

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