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11/12/2014

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 Awards.

Now in their ninth year, MediWales’ Innovation Awards have been always been hotly contested and 2014 has been no exception. 

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

Innovation

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 surgical disciplines.

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.

Partnership with NHS/Academia

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.

Start-up

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 Jellagen. 

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.