Innovate UK grant award

Conditional award to fund development of virtual reality aid for ultrasound-guided needling

MedaPhor Group plc (AIM: MED), the intelligent ultrasound software and simulation company, announces that it had been awarded a conditional grant offer from Innovate UK to fund the development of a new augmented reality imaging device to improve ultrasound-guided needling.

The grant of £464,000, which is conditional on a financial review by Innovate UK, was awarded as part of Innovate UK’s Digital Health Technology Catalyst competition. The grant will part-fund the development of MedaPhor’s NeedleGuideTM product, which the Company believes has the potential to revolutionise interventional ultrasound-guided needling.

Doctors use interventional needling in a variety of medical procedures including tissue biopsy, cannula insertion and administering regional anaesthesia, in a procedure known as peripheral nerve block (PNB).  For many of these procedures, including PNB, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that ultrasound guidance should always be used.

The NeedleGuideTM product, which is in the early stages of development, combines existing technology developed by MedaPhor, with expertise brought to the Group through the recent acquisition of Intelligent Ultrasound Ltd. The augmented reality headset projects the ultrasound view over the patient’s anatomy, highlighting the pathway the needle needs to follow to the target and then automatically tracks the needle tip to ensure that the operator is always aware of the needle’s position in relation to the key anatomical structures.  This minimises the potential for user error and offers the opportunity for considerable savings to the hospital.

Commenting, Nicholas Sleep, Chief Technology Officer of MedaPhor, said: We are delighted to have been awarded the Innovate UK grant, which will not only cover the majority of our development costs, but also provides strong external validation of our technology and market need. NeedleGuideTM has enormous potential to improve patient outcomes, reducing the time and cost of these difficult procedures. We believe that this technology could reduce the cost of needling to all hospitals and have significant export potential as a new and world-leading digital health technology.”