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Health Enterprise East launches MedTech NAVIGATOR programme

Leading NHS innovation and technology consultancy Health Enterprise East (HEE) has launched its MedTech NAVIGATOR programme with a £1m grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Over a three-year period, HEE will deliver through the MedTech NAVIGATOR a range of events, initiatives and market reports aimed at driving innovating in the East of England and facilitating collaboration and understanding between industry and NHS experts in the region.

The East of England already has significant expertise in research and innovation amongst its 125,000 NHS employees, but collaboration with SMEs – who hold the potential to provide solutions to currently unmet needs in the NHS – still remains limited.

As such, HEE is looking to deploy the MedTech NAVIGATOR as a vehicle to build and revitalise connections between the region’s healthcare system, academic institutions and innovative SMEs. As well as delivering improved patient outcomes, this collaborative approach is also geared towards stimulating economic growth in the East of England and beyond.

The MedTech NAVIGATOR programme is set to be delivered through a number of components. In the first instance, research in areas such as market access and health economics will be undertaken around distinct themes, with three covered per year. Each will focus on areas of particular clinical or organisation need.

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Published in the form of a series of white papers, this analysis will be accompanied by dedicated workshops to give SMEs a more in-depth understanding of both unmet needs and potential commercial opportunities.

The first research theme for the programme is respiratory disease, following a report by HEE into the landscape for respiratory conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma and lung cancer within the NHS. The inaugural workshop took place on February 2020 and was an opportunity for clinicians, SME innovators and patients to explore areas for collaborative product development.

Looking to the future, the MedTech NAVIGATOR programme will see HEE launch Innovation Grants aimed at supporting companies seeking to engage in new research and innovation with clinical and academic partners. Finally, the programme will also involve the development of MedTech CONNECT, an online database that will allow SMEs to easily identify and make contact with clinical experts who are willing to collaborate with industry partners.

Speaking about the official launch of MedTech NAVIGATOR, HEE’s Director of MedTech Consulting, Joop Tanis, said: “In our experience, effective partnerships lie at the heart of successful medtech innovation. All too often, clinicians and developers with good ideas fail to connect and as a result potentially great innovations don’t make it off the drawing board.

“The MedTech NAVIGATOR is designed to make collaboration between NHS and industry innovators as seamless as possible, facilitating introductions and knowledge sharing at the very earliest stages of product development.

“The significant interest in our first workshop and the enthusiastic feedback we received are further evidence of the strong appetite for this kind of collaboration. What the MedTech NAVIGATOR will do is to harness expertise from all quarters and thereby act as a launchpad for innovation.

“We are thrilled to be working with the European Regional Development Fund to deliver this programme and are excited to find out what lies ahead.”


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