HealthTec Company of the Year 2023
Airway Medical has been awarded the prestigious HealthTec Company of the Year 2023 by Tech Southwest in recognition of our work with Sustainable Medical Devices.
You’ve won a Tech South West Award! What does it mean to you and your team?
Winning this award amongst some of our finest peers in the South West means a great deal. It was genuinely unexpected and a lovely surprise to hear we had won!
What core values or principles have guided your team to get to where you are today? We have sustainability at the heart of everything we do. It is sadly quite unusual in the Medtech realm and so we encourage others within our industry to join us in making Sustainable Impact the primary goal.
Can you share a pivotal moment or challenge your company has faced and how you overcame it to achieve success?
Being a start-up, finance (cash flow) is a continual issue. We have been successful at being awarded a number of grants, the latest being from SBRI, the NHS version of Innovate UK.
How do you foster a culture of creativity and innovation within your organisation?
It comes naturally, as we all have a passion for Saving Lives Sustainably. Being small allows for agility and inclusivity that is perhaps lost in larger companies. We all feel very passionate about what we do and how we do it. Being the world’;s first Sustainable Medical Device company, developing the World’s first Sustainable Medical Device motivates us all.
Can you highlight a specific use case or success story where your technology has made a
meaningful difference in peoples lives or businesses?
We are developing a number of products. The SBRI are funding a personal use device; CAMSUtm, for oral cavity suction with Chronic conditions such as Brain Injury, Respiratory and Neurological conditions for example. We are reaching out to Ukraine in order to develop a Combat Medic version free of charge to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Our Airway clearance use AMSUtm is developing a following amongst all manner of Emergency services.
What advice would you give to aspiring tech entrepreneurs or startups aiming to make a significant impact in the industry?
Be true to yourself.
What makes the South West tech sector a great community to be a part of?
The South West is bursting with creativity and a pioneering spirit that is so essential in innovation. The sustainable community in particular is really strong and we feel fortunate to be right in the middle of it all.
Finally – are you happy to share a testimonial to help us promote the Tech South West Awards,and encourage others to get involved?
Winning this award has made a HUGE difference to Airway Medical. We cannot over emphasise the impact in particular to the visibility and new opportunities that are developing since the announcement. We would encourage ANYONE to apply for the 2024 awards, after all you have to be in it, to win it.
Airway Medical Limited complete first working prototypes of their emergency airway suction device manufactured from plants.
Airway Medical in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth and Versarien PLC are pleased to announce the conclusion of their project to further the development of The AMSU™ – our novel airway suction device that will soon be helping to save the lives of patients with blocked airways and improving the well-being of people with a multitude of chronic conditions. The project was part funded by a grant from Innovate UK, in their Sustainability category, recognising breakthrough new technologies.
“The grant supported the employment of a research graduate (George Bulac, MSc) at the University of Portsmouth to study and optimise the design of the medical device. The University team (Dr Andrea Bucchi, Dr Martino Pani and Dr Afshin Anssari-Benam) used computational fluid dynamics modelling to guide the 3D printing prototyping of the Venturi, and this additional experimental testing closed the loop of the design process.
Dr Bucchi said: “It has been very exciting to be part of this project, which started in the middle of the first Covid-19 lockdown, especially in collaboration with a vibrant company such as Airway Medical, with whom we share the same ethical values and vision. Translating our engineering medical research into a device that can be beneficial to people all over the world is extremely rewarding for all of us.”
The second aspect of the research project was conducted by Airway Medical to explore the possibility of designing a Class IIa medical device that utilised plant based biopolymers to ensure that the fundamental product components were sourced from renewable materials. Indepth research has been carried out to establish which materials are capable of producing a medical grade device. Several design ideas were considered before commencing prototype studies using 3D SLA techniques and Eco-Resins.
Simon Hall, Founder & CTO comments, “Our intent is to produce medical devices in conjunction with people who will actually use them and to ensure we do so with maximum social and minimal environmental impact as our driving forces. I am proud of the team for delivering on our promise to Innovate UK. We believe this will be the world’s first net zero class IIa medical device made from plants and a demonstration to all medical device manufacturers that there are no longer any barriers to adopting medical grade biopolymers.”
The team at Versarien PLC under the direction of their Head of Sustainability, Paul Denney, have been working closely with us on the development and integration of a graphene based antibacterial and antiviral coating. Our independently verified initial results are very promising with better than 99% effectiveness against S Aureus, E Coli and MS2 Phage virus. There is still much work to be done to optimise the coating performance in order to reach greater than 99.99% across the board, develop an industrial scale application process and register the coatings active ingredients as a biocide but it is clear this technology has huge potential not only for The AMSU but in a wide range of other applications”. “We very much look forward to our continued collaboration with Airway Medical not just in making the coating but as their device manufacturing partner via our subsidiary company AAC Cyroma” Paul Denney, Head of Sustainability, 2-DTech.
Glenn Kenworthy, Airway Medical CEO, stated, “This is a significant milestone in our journey, completing our project with Innovate UK sets our company and the technology we are working to create, on a clear path to clinical adoption. It demonstrates that we have moved forward from proof of concept, with an idea that we believe can be easily utilised and brought into clinical practice. Our working prototypes will now be evaluated in the field, with clinicians and potential users to inform our next steps and contribute to the development of our MVP. We are very pleased to have been associated with the University of Portsmouth and Versarien PLC to carry out this project and thankful for the support from Innovate UK.”
Airway Medical Ltd have completed their Innovate UK Grant project using biopolymers from Arkema. Read about their Advanced Bio-Circular (ABC) Materials, the next generation of sustainable biopolymers for industry.
We are thrilled to accept the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ for 2021 from Medilink South West, here’s what they said..
This year’s Outstanding Achievement Award goes to a company who are developing a range of patented, novel, emergency airway suction devices. The first of these is the Airway Medical Suction Unit (AMSU) which is aimed at developing countries where the demand is for a low cost, light weight, easy-to-learn-and use device which is biodegradable and intrinsically anti-viral yet compliant with all international standards
The AMSU is ideally suited for use in developing countries where it is intuitive to use and requires no training, does not require a reliable electricity supply, does not use expensive Lithium batteries, is intrinsically anti-viral so does not need alcohol-based sanitizer and is biodegradable. This outstanding achievement award is presented in recognition of the fact that this young company was able to secure significant funding from Innovate UK alongside partnerships with leading Universities, the NHS, advanced manufacturing and materials organisations together with local business support agencies. Congratulations Airway Medical!
Medilink South West is part of Medilink UK; a national health technology business support organisation. Medilink South West supports innovation, new product development and diversification into the sector by providing focused events, identifying potential research and commercial opportunities and providing details of the latest funding competitions.
The network includes hundreds of companies and organisations across every aspect of the medical and healthcare sector, including product manufacturing; supply chain; materials and design; food processing and packaging and support services. Medilink provides the knowledge and support to help your business grow and exploit opportunities.
We bring together the NHS (clinical need), academia (technology), business (innovators, suppliers) and investors to drive industry competitiveness.
An Article from Our Intern Rosie
Runner Up – Medilink 2020
Early in the Airway Medical journey; back in February 2020, we attended the Medilink SW Healthcare Awards Evening at the Royal West of England Academy. We were surprised and delighted to be recognised by Medilink in the Start-Up Category. To be presented with the award by Hassan Chaudhury from The Department of International Trade was a real boost and convinced us we were on the right path. An extra bonus was the friendship I have developed with the wonderful Alan Bec from The Wib, whom was also presented with a an award at the same time.
Tech South West Awards Finalist
We were very honoured to be selected in the Start-Up category Finalist in the prestigious Tech South West Awards 2020 from a large list of worthy companies. We attended a fabulous ‘virtual’ gala evening on the 26 November with the all the other finalists. We ultimately didn’t win, but will take away some great memories.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic a few friends began to ask if the AMSU could help in anyway. I wasn’t convinced it could at first, but then began to develop an idea for a Wall-Mounted, Hospital based version that could provide a back-up to the primary system. The regulatory body opened the door to fast-track certification; an important aspect of any medical device, as part of the Governments ‘Ventilator Challenge’. This enabled innovative devices to enter into use much faster than would ordinarily be the case. I started to talk to designers, manufacturers, suppliers, business experts, logistics, and very quickly built a team of around 30 people, mostly working ‘Pro-Bono’.At the time I was self-funding the business and so decided to begin a crowdfund campaign to be able to fund the aspects of the project that required paying for. kindly waived the usual fees and so off we went! I badgered friends and family at first, then people I didn’t know started to donate. It was incredibly humbling to have this happen and to read the comments, some of which talked about personal experiences during the early days of the pandemic. Amazingly, we reached the target of £10,000 thanks to generosity of so many individuals. The design was completed and testing began in earnest, ready to submit to the MHRA for certification. Then the bombshell hit. They closed the door without any notice and so the possibility of getting a fast-tracked certificate was firmly closed. The ‘WAMSU’ is still a live project and we hope one day to be able to certify it for use in NHS Hospitals. Unfortunately, Brexit and various other factors have made this process very difficult; with a waiting list of up to 2 years just to get on the list! We’d like to thank everyone that took part in the project and of course for the kind donations to the crowdfund. Be assured we will supply free devices to the NHS one day; as promised.
Innovate UK Sustainability Grant
Three months into the nine month project and all things considered, we are pretty much on track to complete this stage of the AMSU™’s design on time. Half the team have had to Self-Isolate at some point. Thankfully, we are all well once more and enjoying the work. It is strange to have worked with people for four months or so and to have not actually met them!
Sustainability is at the core of the grant call and is very much in the DNA of Airway Medical. We are working hard to ensure the project has minimal impact on the environment. We are very pleased to announce the AMSU™ will be manufactured from a renewable, certifiable, medical grade organic plastic made from Castor Bean Oil.
The technology of the AMSU™ is fairly unique, in that it is ‘Innovation by Simplification; rather than adding complexity. We will be offering a completely novel, effective alternative to current technology; with far less impact on the environment. This has been recognised within the Innovation Network and we hope to have some exciting news to follow soon.
In November 2020 we were one of just 16 companies chosen by the organisers of the WISH conference in Doha Qatar to exhibit as a “Spark Innovator” at the WISH virtual global conference.
WISH ‘SPARK’ INNOVATORS Archives – WISH Virtual
The event had a stellar list of speakers:
Speakers – WISH Virtual
From our virtual exhibition booth over 5 days we had the chance to meet with exhibition visitors from over 50 countries and network with other exhibitors and international medical technology vendors.
We now have firm interest from 35 countries in North Africa, Sub Saharan Africa, the Middle East, far east and Latin America.
The level of interest in our emergency airway suction device has been sustained since the event with many exhibition delegates contacting us after the main event had finished.
The Prevention Foundation
We are pleased to be a part of The Prevention Foundations campaign to produce a booklet to hand to every school child concerning bullying and road, fire and online safety.