Three triumph at 2014 MediWales Innovation Awards
Dr Melanie Goward, Deputy Fund Manager in
Finance Wales’ Technology Ventures team on how Wales’ life science
sector is developing following the 2014 MediWales Innovation
Now in their ninth year, MediWales’ Innovation
Awards have been always been hotly contested and 2014 has been no
While these awards recognise the achievements
of Wales’ life sciences companies, this year’s awards ceremony also
clearly demonstrated how rapidly the sector is growing.
I was pleased to congratulate three of our
portfolio companies on their awards:
- Alesi Surgical (formerly
known as Asalus)
- Microvisk Ltd
- Jellagen Pty Ltd
The Innovation Award was won by Alesi Surgical which was
established to commercialise the inventions arising from Cardiff
University’s Welsh Institute for Minimal Access Therapy (WIMAT),
the leading UK centre for training of laparoscopic and other
This award recognised Alesi Surgical's Ultravision system which
handles the surgical smoke produced during laparoscopic surgery.
Ultravision clears surgical smoke to improve visibility by
accelerating the natural sedimentation of the smoke onto the tissue
in the body cavity.
Microvisk Ltd has developed a unique handheld medical device for
Point-Of-Care and Prescription-Home-Use monitoring of anticoagulant
therapy. The easy-to-use system makes INR (International Normalised
Ratio) monitoring simpler and more convenient.
The Start-up Award was picked up by Jellagen
which produces medical grade collagen sourced from jellyfish, a
sustainable and novel source of biomaterials. Jellagen supplies
Type II and V collagen for the medical device, regenerative
medicine, cell culture reagent and in vitro diagnostic markets.
Finance Wales is a long-term backer of both
Alesi Surgical and Microvisk. Microvisk’s win came on top of its
2011 triumph in the Start-up category.
We invested seed finance in Jellagen for the
first time in 2014 alongside angels from the xénos and SWAIN
business angel networks. The Wales Technology Seed Fund we
launched in April provided us with the capital to invest in even
more exciting start-up technology opportunities like
We can now provide £50,000 - £150,000 equity
investments to back technology start-ups, university spin-outs and
IP-rich companies with commercial potential and have already made
our first two investments from this fund in nudjed, a personalised
online health and wellbeing platform and subscription
video-on-demand platform, OobEdoO.
The diversity of the winners is also
impressive - from Alesi Surgical's surgical instruments and
Microvisk’s diagnostics to the medical grade collagen provided by
Jellagen - and a clear indication of the strength and depth of the
Welsh life science sector. With the wider range of funds we
now manage, we’re looking forward to building on our long-term and
on-going commitment to Welsh life science sector.