Three NUI Galway Start-Ups named Health Innovation Hub Ireland’s Health Innovations 2020

Jul 14 2020 Posted: 14:41 CDT

Three NUI Galway start-ups, Feeltech, Nua Surgical, BlueDrop Medical, are among the 2020 winners of Health Innovation Hub Ireland’s (HIHI) call for innovative ideas from companies, start-ups and SMEs. The nationwide health innovation competition is directed at companies who have an innovative product, solution or service that are at pre-commercial or late development phase with the potential to significantly impact Irish healthcare.

FeelTect’s technology, Tight Alright, is a wireless, pressure sensing device for measuring and monitoring sub-bandage pressure during compression therapy, primarily for the millions of people worldwide with venous leg ulcers (VLUs). Venous leg ulcers are chronic wounds that stem from venous insufficiency, which affects the circulation of blood to the lower limbs. The tiny valves that normally force blood back up towards the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool up in the legs, and the veins of the legs become distended, resulting in an accumulation of fluid in the lower limbs.

NUA Surgical are developing Stericision, a novel medical device in obstetrics to make caesarean delivery a safer and  superior surgery. The project has received significant support and funding from Enterprise Ireland through the Commercialisation Fund which will assist the team in taking the unmet need from idea through to concept and design development, in preparation for establishing a new MedTech start-up company.

Bluedrop Medical is focused on developing and commercialising an internet of things enabled device which can predict the formation of diabetic foot ulcers. Bluedrop Medical’s device can enable diabetic foot ulcers to be detected early; when treatment is easier and outcomes and costs are greatly improved. The home based system performs a daily scan of the patient’s feet and sends the data to the cloud for analysis through advanced algorithms capable of detecting abnormalities. By detecting skin damage early, the technology could enable healthcare providers to prevent hundreds of thousands of amputations, improving lives and significantly reducing costs.

There were 15 ultimate winners with strong competition amongst this year’s entries. HIHI will now match the winning companies with relevant clinical teams, overseeing a study of each product in an Irish clinical setting. These pilot and clinical validation studies provide critical test beds to support Irish companies going to market and can identify any further refinements in the development cycle.

The Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar said: “Irish start-ups are working at the cutting edge of healthcare, coming up with innovative solutions to improve the patient experience and patient outcomes. These successful 15 innovators have been chosen for their use of technology to make it easier for patients to manage chronic conditions, and to help with early diagnosis and prevention. I wish them the very best. The Government will continue to promote and invest in the life sciences sector, for the benefit of our economy and our wellbeing.”

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, said: “HIHI has done tremendous work over the last number of years in bringing industry and the health service together to validate innovative products and services. Innovation is essential as we reimagine our health service and implement Sláintecare and I am pleased to see the wide range of ideas put forward, including in the area of digital health, that have been successful in this call. The strength of the Hub is in collaboration and in developing enduring partnerships – both with industry and importantly with the health services - these are key to its success.  I wish all concerned well in the implementation of these ideas.”

Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Consultant Endocrinologist at Saolta University Healthcare Group, commented: “NUI Galway and Saolta University Health Care Group are happy to host the Galway component of HIHI, which is a major element of the medtech system in the West of Ireland. HIHI is a major part of the link between academia, business and clinic, a partnership which is so crucial to the translation of innovative ideas for patient and economic benefit.”

HIHI is a joint initiative of the Department of Health and Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation. Its activity is strengthened through the support of Enterprise Ireland and the HSE.  HIHI offers companies the opportunity for pilot studies and provides the health service with access to innovative products, services and devices. Since it was launched in September 2016, HIHI has managed 300 company engagements, 193 of these have resulted in follow-up support activities and 60 of these have developed into active projects within the Irish healthcare system. HIHI also recently triaged almost 200 innovative healthcare solutions through its Covid-19 Innovation Portal. Irish companies are developing innovative healthcare solutions for patients at home and internationally, by supporting these companies through HIHI, we are strengthening our economy while improving patient care.

For further information on the winning companies visit https://hih.ie/engage/health-innovations-2020/

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