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NIHR-funded innovators pitch to investors in live-streamed showcases

Published: 20 May 2020

Four companies funded by NIHR put their pitch into practice at an audience of investors and industry in one of two live-streamed showcases, hosted by the Knowledge Transfer Network last month (28 and 30 April).

The showcases, organised by the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement’s SBRI Healthcare and Innovate UK, were due to have been face-to-face networking events in Alderley Park/Macclesfield and London, building on last year’s inaugural Angels in Medcity Entrepreneur Pitching Event, with the move to online being in response to the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Health Investment Showcases 2020 were the culmination of a programme to prepare innovators with promising ventures, spanning some of the most pressing healthcare market needs, for progression to the critical stage of attracting investors.

Director of NIHR’s i4i programme Martin Hunt said: “The life sciences sector is one of the UK’s greatest assets. The Health Investment Showcases provided an important gathering of innovators, investors and other stakeholders – working collaboratively across funders towards de-risking disruptive technologies, to accelerate innovation into the NHS and the wider market for increased patient benefit.”

Supporting investment readiness

The investment readiness programme, delivered by experts and entrepreneurs experienced in raising investment, preceded the Health Investment Showcases.

Companies based in the UK who had received funding from NIHR i4i, SBRI Healthcare or Innovate UK, and who were considering raising seed or series A investments between £100,000 and £2 million in the near future, were eligible to apply.

Twenty-eight of the 75 companies applying were shortlisted to attend the programme, including four funded by NIHR's i4i programme, gaining insights on how to raise private investment, deliver strong presentation pitches, and participating in a pitch critique session to practice and obtain valuable feedback from peers.

Andrew Woodhead, Director, Business Development at Invitron comments: “The Health Investment Showcases initiative has been very useful. The initiative was delivered by experts and entrepreneurs with real-life experience in raising investment and introduced us to several VC firms.

“The benefits of the training programme extend way beyond guidance on best practices for preparation and delivery of an investment pitch. Through real examples, the programme helped us understand the ‘investors’ view’ of technology businesses and provided a fresh way of thinking about our commercial plans and objectives.”

How companies benefited

Manjul Rathee, CEO at BfB Labs comments: “The health investment showcase is a great platform as it asks experienced investors the big question of how investable the product or company is at this point in time.

“It has helped us refine our value proposition, do a sense check on finances, understand the value we are offering to buyers and quantifying it – and being able to tell a good story about our product.”

Dr Alastair Buchanan, Managing Director at Cadscan comments: “The Health Investment Showcase was really useful in helping us understand the detail of what investors need to see, and to place an emphasis on this in our pitching material.

“We were able to practice and refine this, initially with our peers, followed by a critique from a panel of investment experts. This meant we were well prepared before pitching at the showcase event.”

Profiles of companies at the showcase events

Celsius Health is a medical technology company, spunout from the UK’s National Physical Laboratory. Celsius have developed a world leading platform technology that unlocks the potential of medical thermal imaging. Reducing current uncertainties tenfold, to enable rapid, clinically significant data and image analysis with an uncertainty of ± 0.2 °C. Funding – NIHR i4i

Cortirio are developing portable brain imaging to diagnose head injuries at the point of care. Traumatic brain injuries kill 1 million people and leave 7.5 million people disabled each year. By assisting clinicians to diagnose patients earlier, we will reduce delays to treatment and save lives. Funding – NIHR i4i

Stent Tek Ltd t/a Pathfinder Medical is developing a novel electronic guidance system that will enable clinicians to connect blood vessels in a minimally invasive way. This platform technology has a variety of clinical applications including vascular access creation for dialysis patients, which represents a £2.9 billion yearly market with significant recent M&A activity. Funding – NIHR i4i

Cadscan combines advanced 3D imaging, 3D printing and 3D visualisation technologies to create high-value products. We invest heavily in R&D and collaborate with sector-specialists, using advanced technology to develop cost-effective, cutting-edge products. Funding – NIHR i4i and SBRI Healthcare

Aseptika Limited began developing Activ8rlives in 2010 and is currently developing its third generation of integrated systems, which can be used by consumers and their healthcare service providers using a wide range of platforms or devices to better enable effective and easy self-monitoring. Incorporating sensors and monitors ranging from consumer accessories to in vitro diagnostics (IVDs), the systems currently focus on respiratory and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, promoting physical activity and weight management. Funding – SBRI Healthcare

BFB Labs develops digital interventions that deliver support for young people to help build resilience and alleviate symptoms of poor mental health. This includes Lumi Nova, an immersive mobile game that facilitates exposure therapy to tackle anxiety, and Champions of the Shengha, a heart-rate driven biofeedback mobile game to improve emotional self regulation skills. Funding – SBRI Healthcare

Invitron is an early-stage biotechnology company developing an innovative detection technology for use in “Point of Care” diagnostics. The first product is a portable, handheld medical diagnostic device that will enable healthcare workers in hospitals and doctors surgeries to make a definitive diagnosis of Heart Failure in around 5 minutes. Funding – SBRI Healthcare

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