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SCOTTISH ENTERPRISE HIGH GROWTH SPINOUT PROGRAMME

ABOVE: Dr Andy Herbert says his H-Guard technology would never have got to the stage it’s at without the support and funding received

RIGHT: Sandy Enoch spotted a gap in the robotics market and came up with Marty the Robot, who is fun, easy to use and affordable

The Scottish Enterprise High Growth Spinout Programme (HGSP) supports the precommercialisation of leadingedge technologies emerging from Scotland’s universities to help researchers to export their ideas and inventions from the lab to the global marketplace. Project delivery is split into three phases with total funding of up to £1 million available to demonstrate proof of commercial opportunity, viability of spin-out company operation and ability to secure significant private investment to support the company’s high growth ambitions. Dr Andy Herbert’s H-Guard is a technology for recruiting the body’s own inflammatory regulators onto a polymeric surface coating to provide unprecedented natural protection. “H-Guard came out of a question that I asked myself around 10 years ago,” said Andy. “How do pathogenic bacteria evade the immune system in general and the complement system in particular? This led me to start looking at the interactions between the Pneumococcal surface protein C (a virulence factor for S. Pneumoniae) and the complement regulator Factor H. This fundamental academic work led to the filing of a patent for H-Guard. I could always see its theoretical benefits, but without further funding we’d never have been able to turn it into reality. “Phase 1 of HGSP allowed me to recruit a commercial champion for the project, and that was instrumental in getting some world leading companies interested. This in turn helped me to tune the development to the specific types of device that had the greatest commercial interest. The phase 1 funding also allowed for significant technical development and to derisk the technology. “That work helped us to secure phase 2 HGSP funding, which allows me to recruit a development scientist, get expertise in the necessary regulatory processes and

further technical and commercial development. That will get us a long way to converting one or more of our current industrial partners into our first customers. “Without HGSP funding, the project would probably have ended and the expertise dissipated. “Through a number of mentors, meeting up with the people behind other potential spin-outs, and assistance in applying for HGSP funding, I have been helped by the various teams and programmes at Edinburgh Research & Innovation (ERI) at the University. Without that support, H-Guard would not be at the stage it’s at now, where we have the opportunity to make the most of its potential.”

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ROYAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING ENTERPRISE FELLOWSHIP The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) Enterprise Fellowship scheme aims to stimulate creativity and innovation in engineering in the UK. The award supports outstanding entrepreneurial engineers working at a UK university to commercialise their technology-based business ideas into spin-out companies. The host university of the RAEng Enterprise Fellow receives up to £35,000 in funding for a year of salary support of the Fellow, and an additional £25,000 for continued

development of the innovation and associated spin-out company. While working on his PhD in robotics, Sandy Enoch became aware of a gap in the market between robot ‘smart toys’ with limited features, and expensive robots designed for hobbyists or researchers. He made a prototype robot and attended a 3 Day Startup weekend organised through ERI’s LAUNCH.ed programme. “My prototype wasn’t very good, but it got me engaged with the market and helped me to figure out what was needed – something fun, easy to use, affordable and customisable,” said Sandy. “I came up with the mechanism for Marty the Robot, which lets us make a walking robot that’s cheaper to make and easier to use. Since finishing the PhD, the RAEng Enterprise Fellowship has allowed me to start Robotical and work on Marty full-time. The Fellowship gives you a year to commercialise your idea, including funds for business development. In our case this is useful for prototyping, IP protection, and even marketing. It also provides a useful way to expand my network outside of Scotland. “The training provided is excellent, including a week at the Cambridge Judge Business School, and workshops on business development, pitching, negotiations, recruitment, and getting ready for investment. “The teams at LAUNCH.ed and ERI have supported me all the way. Initiatives such as the Inspire Launch Grow competitions and the annual 3 Day Startup weekends provide good engagement for earlier stages of business development, and I’m grateful I had them there to help me through the formative months of the company and provide encouragement with an appropriate amount of critical feedback.”

Infinite | 37

Profile for Edinburgh Research & Innovation

Infinite magazine 2016  

Edinburgh Research & Innovation’s Infinite Magazine highlights some of the exciting industry engagement, innovation and enterprise activitie...

Infinite magazine 2016  

Edinburgh Research & Innovation’s Infinite Magazine highlights some of the exciting industry engagement, innovation and enterprise activitie...

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