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.
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.
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.
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.