A pioneering endoscopic surgical device, backed by the Medtech Accelerator, has been licensed to medical device company Medovate who will be responsible for bringing it to market. The new device, ENDOVAC, has the potential to dramatically improve survival of patients with life threatening infection following a leak from the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract whilst significantly enhancing current treatment methods.
Developed by a team led by Mr Andrew Hindmarsh, Consultant Oesophagogastric Surgeon at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, ENDOVAC is also backed by a £1.2m grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which has a number of regional specialist partners including Health Enterprise East, the Hospital, the Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit and Suffolk-based JEB Technologies Ltd.
Funding of £125,000 from the Medtech Accelerator was used to allow the team to enhance the initial design concepts, develop further functional prototypes of EndoVac and generate some pre-clinical data. Medovate’s role will now be to complete regulatory approval and commercialise the technology, with a view to beginning clinical evaluation as early as 2021 and market launch thereafter.
ENDOVAC is designed to revolutionise the treatment of holes in the upper GI tract, a problem experienced by around 2,800 people in the UK each year. These holes may occur on their own; arise from problems such as stomach ulcers; or be caused through surgery or other medical interventions. The presence of a hole allows leakage of gastrointestinal contents into the body which quickly leads to infection – a serious medical emergency that can be fatal if not treated.
In the past, the standard treatment for these holes has been surgery, but this was often unsuccessful. More recently surgeons have developed an alternative treatment strategy for this problem called Endoluminal Vacuum Therapy (EVT). However, this treatment still requires multiple technically difficult procedures under general anaesthesia in an operating theatre.
ENDOVAC is a ground-breaking progression of EVT that allows easier delivery of treatment without the need for general anaesthesia, meaning the procedure does not need to be performed in an operating theatre. ENDOVAC makes EVT safer, quicker, easier and cheaper, and importantly is far less traumatic for patients. It will also enable patients to be mobile during treatment, unlike standard EVT, where patients are often confined to their hospital beds.
Tim Fishlock, Head of Technology Transfer at Health Enterprise East which is a partner in the Medtech Accelerator, said: “ENDOVAC is an excellent example of the world-class innovation that can be generated by the NHS with the right support. With proper financial backing and access to technical expertise, clinicians’ innovative ideas to enhance patient care or deliver cost-savings are far more likely to become a reality.”
Mayor James Palmer from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, a Medtech Accelerator Joint Venture Partner, commented: “This is a great example of where the Local Growth Fund can really make a difference to local business. I am proud that the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has helped bring such an innovative and potentially lifesaving product closer to market. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is a real hotbed for innovative thinking and technological advancement, which makes it a great place for the Medtech industry to establish and grow. The Mayoral Combined Authority is dedicated to fostering that spirit and providing businesses with a platform for growth in these difficult times.”
Robert Donald, New Business Manager at Medovate, commented: “ENDOVAC is a natural addition to the Medovate portfolio of innovations in the fields of surgery, anaesthesia and intensive care. We are excited to be working with Mr Andrew Hindmarsh and his colleagues to bring such a ground-breaking product to market, and we fully expect to see ENDOVAC in use in our hospitals in the not-too-distant future.”