Innovate UK: New £7 million fund to help UK health-tech SMEs navigate regulations

17 Feb 2022 | Network Updates | Update from Innovate UK
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

CPI and the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) have announced the Health Technology Regulatory and Innovation Programme, funded by Innovate UK.

CPI is part of the High-Value Manufacturing Catapult. This joint initiative with ABHI will help small and medium-sized HealthTech companies to navigate the HealthTech regulatory processes.

The UK has a vibrant and rapidly-growing HealthTech sector, supplying a variety of products such as:

  • syringes
  • wound dressings
  • surgical robots
  • digitally enhanced technologies.

SMEs will benefit

This £7 million funding programme will see many UK small and medium sized enterprises (SME) benefit from funds to help meet their regulatory needs.

Health technologies are highly regulated, with manufacturers needing to meet stringent requirements to sell goods into:

  • UK
  • EU
  • US
  • other markets

The UK’s regulatory landscape for HealthTech is changing, and manufacturers will need to prepare for a UK sovereign regulatory system. This is because the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)is currently consulting on the future regulation of medical devices and invitro diagnostics in the UK.

New regulations

Companies looking to sell into the EU market now must adhere to the new medical device regulations (MDR), and impending in vitro diagnostic medical device regulations (IVDR). This may lead to some UK companies finding their products no longer meet the regulatory requirements to be sold within the EU.

In 2019, according to the Office of Life Sciences, the UK’s HealthTech sector turnover was £25.6 billion.

SMEs play a vital role in this industry, representing:

  • 81% of the businesses
  • 20% of the turnover.

If SMEs are not enabled to meet regulatory challenges, there is a risk that innovators will be unable to commercialise their ideas and the UK could lose out on vital investment in the HealthTech sector. As such, patients would not benefit from potentially life changing new technologies and devices.

Providing assistance

SMEs seeking to commercialise their products often lack internal expertise and capacity to ensure regulatory compliance. This funding and support programme will help HealthTech SMEs access regulatory assistance and knowledge for medical technology and invitro diagnostics.

The programme also offers guidance and education on regulatory systems and an opportunity to engage with industry regulatory experts.

CPI has a wealth of experience in helping businesses of all sizes to develop and commercialise innovative HealthTech products that change lives.

ABHI brings experience and knowledge

ABHI brings HealthTech regulatory expertise as well as international market access knowledge.

Both organisations have strong connections with:

  • industry
  • government
  • the NHS
  • investors
  • academia
  • regulatory bodies.

Dr Arun Harish, Strategy Director at CPI, said: "At CPI, we have worked with many small HealthTech businesses and we know how hard it can be for SMEs to find the financial and knowledge resources to navigate complex and ever-changing health technology regulatory systems. We are therefore delighted to be working with ABHI and Innovate UK to offer financial support and a programme of education to small businesses who are ready to commercialise innovative health technologies of the future."

Richard Phillips, Director of Strategy at ABHI, said: "A defining feature of the HealthTech sector is its diverse and innovative community of small and medium sized businesses. But often the cost, and sheer complexity of regulatory compliance, is a hinderance to growth. By partnering with CPI and Innovate UK, we are delighted to announce this package of tailored support, so that UK-based HealthTech SMEs can develop safe and effective technologies that save and enhance the lives of patients."

Dr Michael Kipping, Health Innovation Lead at Innovate UK, said: "Innovate UK has a strong track record in supporting UK HealthTech businesses to develop novel products and services through our Biomedical Catalyst and SMART grant funding programmes. We’re delighted to partner with CPI and ABHI on this initiative that is a direct response to two reports commissioned by Innovate UK to evaluate the regulatory readiness of UK HealthTech businesses (IVDR report and MDR report)."

This article was first published on 14 April by Innovate UK/UKRI.

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