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Sky Medical Technology is a leading innovator in medical devices. The company has applied patented technology to create a product that addresses multiple medical issues: from reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) to wound healing. The company’s medical technology (medtech) devices have helped patients around the world to reduce the risk of serious medical issues and to benefit from faster healing. CEO and founder Bernard Ross explains why the decision to locate the global headquarters within the Liverpool City Region at Sci-Tech Daresbury has been an important element in helping the business grow, develop and internationalise.
Sky Medical Technology is a pioneering company in the fast-growing global medical technology sector. The company has patented a neuromuscular electro-stimulation technology – called OnPulse™ – which it has applied in a medical device called the geko™ device. This wearable, watch-sized device attaches to the leg and uses electricity to stimulate nerves, creating blood flow equal to 60 per cent of walking without the wearer having to move.
The device can be applied to address multiple medical conditions including the reduction of swelling in pre and post operative patients, reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in immobile patients and improved wound healing. The technology is currently being used in the US, Canada, Middle East, Far East and the UK.
A technology with multiple applications
Bernard Ross explains the foundation of the company was driven by the opportunity for one technology platform to be deployed in many medical scenarios: “We set the company up to commercialise our technology. We wanted to help deliver safer, cost-effective care that saved lives and saves healthcare systems money,” says Bernard. “The technology was born from the work of two doctors – one knew a lot about blood flow, the other nerve stimulation. My background is in converting innovation in healthcare into products of value to large companies.”
Although Bernard and his colleagues were based professionally in the South East, they decided there was only one place for their business to be located.
“Over the years I’ve received huge support from John Leake and Paul Treloar at Sci-Tech Daresbury,” comments Bernard. “They’ve been instrumental in helping us build our networks – with academia, clinicians and scientists, as well as ICUs at Manchester hospitals – it became apparent this would be a prime location for Sky Medical Technology. Just being associated with the campus accelerated our traction and provided legal and patent support that was instrumental for a young business.”
Joining the dots to develop new markets
While the primary focus of the company was to create a product that could be applied in healthcare environments, both hospitals and outpatients, Sci-Tech Daresbury was instrumental in enabling Sky Medical Technology to address a further market: that of professional sports people.
After attending a meeting where Dr Scott Drawer – then head of research and innovation at UK Sport – discussed how he had used technology to provide a competitive advantage to British sporting teams, John Leake arranged a meeting between Dr Drawer and Bernard.
Dr Drawer subsequently used prototypes of the geko™ device to undertake a study with Bath Rugby Club which demonstrated how the use of these products could enable recovery after one day rather than three.
As a result, Sky Medical Technology’s products are now being used to help professional athletes in all of the major sports franchises across the USA to accelerate recovery after events and training by helping muscle groups recover quicker.
Bernard explains how this experience reflects the ethos of the campus: “This is a very concise example of what they do at Sci-Tech Daresbury – it’s not just a business location but a network of informed individuals that want businesses to thrive in the region and so they go out of the way to support other businesses in the area.”
A region embracing innovation
The ongoing success of Sky Medical Technology is an example of how life science businesses in the Liverpool City Region can flourish. Bernard is passionate about what the region has to offer.
“When it comes to investing in new healthcare companies, investors are looking for technology that can be applied in multiple scenarios,” says Bernard “Your company value is built on proving that the technology is effective, delivering improved health economics and demonstrating adoption. Getting companies to hit those important milestones more quickly is what Sci-Tech Daresbury is about.”
“Life science companies will thrive in the Liverpool City Region if we get to a position where companies here achieve these key milestones quicker than elsewhere in the UK.”
Bernard believes that Sci-Tech Daresbury is uniquely positioned to support innovation: “It’s a well thought out campus. Great meeting space is available even at short notice. The office and wet labs are superb, and it’s an impressive campus to look at from outside. It’s a brilliant place to work, and as our business develops we want our North West headcount to outweigh numbers in the South East.”
In the years ahead, Bernard and his colleagues will be rolling out clinical trials both in the UK and overseas. 2022 is expected to be a year of progress in terms of demonstrating the geko™ device’s viability in new markets, including wound healing.
“We’re committed to getting our life-changing products – developed right here in the Liverpool City Region – into hospitals quicker so they can help change the lives and wellbeing of people across the UK and throughout the world.”