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Your ideas can change people’s lives






WE ARE PROUD TO SUPPORT the 2011 Medical Futures Innovation Awards and the 2011 charitY PARTNER, STARLIGHT. We wish the best of luck to all of the nominees and hope you have a fun and enjoyable evening.


Welcome to the ninth edition of the Medical Futures magazine


hen Pankaj Maini and I started these Awards 10 years ago, our aim was simple - to connect brilliant life changing ideas with money and people that can make them happen. Fast forward ten years and it’s hard to believe that a Medical Futures Innovation Award has become a highly sought after healthcare and business accolade. Like most innovative ideas, our journey was not straightforward. We quickly realised that there are very few funds out there that are prepared to back ideas without management. In addition doctors fit into two categories - ideapreneurs (ideas people) and entrepreneurs, and that simply connecting ideas to money didn’t mean they would succeed. A bit like introducing a boy and a girl from two continents on a blind date. They may not like each other. Indeed they may not even speak the same language! In this magazine you will see a wealth of ideas that we first came across when they were concepts. It is wonderful to see that past winners have between them raised more than £100m and many of them that have now come to life - employing people, generating income and most importantly benefitting patients. This is, of course, our raison d’être and in the near future a Medical Futures fund shall hopefully enable many more ideas to change people’s lives.

Because diabetes matters

Not all ideas make money, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as important, and we write about Emma Samms whose ideas for Starlight has impacted on thousands of children’s lives, and also Dr Helen Lee, an amazing woman whose rapid tests for infectious disease are transforming lives in the developing world.


Medical Futures and its transparent peer review process was often considered to go against the traditional grain, but ten years in, it is clearly a process that is tried and tested and works. It’s great to see it thrive as one of pre-eminent fora for catalysing medical innovation in the UK and beyond.

Andy Goldberg OBE MD FRCS(Tr&Orth) Founder and Editor

Royal College Radiologists



Publisher Medical Futures Ltd Editor in Chief Andy Goldberg Sub Editor Natalie Leslie Art Director Graham Smith Awards Director Martine Morris Photographers Jan Letocha and Natasha Sutton Contributors Boyd Farrow, Giovanna Forte, Teresa Gleeson, Helen Lee, Danny Pine, Warren Puckett, Brian Thornes and Andy Vivian Published by Medical Futures, The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS Telephone +44 (0) 844 8700056 Facsimile +44 (0) 844 8700057 Email mail@medicalfutures.co.uk Web www.medicalfutures.co.uk



Background to Medical Futures T

he Medical Futures Innovation Awards is a unique British innovation that has now become Europe’s largest showcase of early-stage innovation in healthcare, conceived from those on the front line of care delivery. The Awards offers a bridge from what otherwise might simply remain inspirational ideas or academic research projects, and helps translate them into commercially attractive and viable business propositions that can benefit patients in the NHS and globally. The Medical Futures Innovation Awards were created from an idea by two doctors in 2001 and the team, headed by Martine Morris, now includes experts in business, commercialisation, PR and event organisation. The Medical Futures Innovation Awards are run on a non-profit basis in close collaboration with important stakeholders in the innovation space, including, angel investment networks, government organisations, industry, medical associations, non-governmental organisations, research charities, and the medical Royal Colleges and associations. The Awards are funded through sponsorship from organisations and companies at the forefront of innovation, and so we are hugely grateful and indebted to BOC (The Linde Group); The Department of Health; GSK; Medical Research Council; Medtronic; and the National Innovation Centre, without whose support we could not deliver this programme. By entering the Medical Futures Awards, front line clinicians, scientists, and entrepreneurs have the chance to pitch their ideas and businesses to a world-class panel of experts whose advice,



Jonathan Ross at a Medical Futures Awards

Fiona Bruce

Andrew Marr watches Vice Admiral Rory McLean in action

Gerald Scarfe and Jane Asher

David Mitchell

Tony Hadley supports Lowe Syndrome Trust

Guests at the Medical Futures Awards in 2008

Alistair Stewart & Joanna Lumley share a toast

Adrian Edmondson presents a Medical Futures Award

HRH Prince Michael of Kent greets Dr Gay Verdon-Roe

Melanie Sykes

Giles Coren and Esther Walker at a Medical Futures event

Alice Roberts

Mishal Husain

Esther Rantzen and Trevor Phillips OBE join forces

guidance and peer-review brings unparalleled validation and recognition. Medical Futures’ judges are some of the world’s most distinguished doctors and academics and alongside commercial experts they provide peer review of the ideas in a unique and transparent Dragon’s Den type process. The main selection criteria include, novelty; viability (clinical, technical and commercial); and most importantly, potential impact on patient care. As well as the critical recognition and endorsement of a Medical Futures Innovation Award, winners receive a bespoke package of support to progress their ideas into viable propositions that have credibility with investors. This may include assistance in articulating their idea; securing funding; and introductions to professional and commercial contacts vital in taking their idea to the next level. Medical Futures runs a series of Awards in every conceivable area of medical unmet need, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, dental and oral health, diabetes, ENT, mental health, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, and women’s health. Every four years the best of the best come together at an Oscar like event, in a showcase of medical innovation allowing cross fertilisation of ideas and contacts across geographical and organisational boundaries. Winning a Medical Futures Innovation Award significantly enhances the chance of clinical and commercial success. To date, past winners have secured over £100m of funding, and most importantly many have gone onto become successful services or products that are now changing people’s lives.



How ideas are brought to life H

ealthcare is the world’s leading industry, now worth in excess of £2.5 trillion. From penicillin to beta blockers, and hip replacements to coronary stents, bright ideas from medics have historically led to vast improvements in patient care – and have brought significant commercial rewards. Yet Medical Futures’ proprietary research has shown that, of the successful ideas to have stemmed from medics, they often languished inside the innovators mind for ten years or more before they hit the drawing board. Add to this the commercialisation lag and it means that it might be 20 or 30 years before a clinician’s idea benefits a patient, if ever. Whether this is because most innovators are fascinated by the journey of discovery and less so about the destination, or whether it is a case of trying to get somewhere without a roadmap, is a discussion for another time. Looking back in history, Medical Futures identified that many of the most successful innovations often came to fruition thanks to a serendipitous interaction between the innovator and a successful businessman. Yet, many ideas from clinicians and scientists are ill-formed and far too early for industry or investment; hence the chance of successful fertilisation is slim.



Yet there is no one better placed to drive forward improvements to patient care than those on the front line of delivery, and indeed each year Medical Futures receives thousands of ideas at all stages of development, and many whilst academically sound lack a market facing or commercial dimension. Indeed many of the advanced venture capital backed businesses we see lack clinical insights and the evidence necessary for market penetration.

Professor Patrick Bradley at the ENT Judging event

Professor Kevin Shakesheff talks to Alice Roberts

The Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) Football League

Frieda Smyth at the Cardiovascular Innovation Awards

John Proctor at a Medical Futures event

The Retvas Team

Sir James Black mentoring up and coming innovators

Roger Armour demonstrating his Mini Slit-Lamp

David Smith speaks about Positive Mental Attitude

Mark Koska OBE and Star Syringe

Noel Akers educates physicians on intellectual property

Nick Miller-Jones & Lawrence Fenelon, Urosens

Dr Archie Brain at a Medical Futures i2 Event

Peter Wrighton-Smith, CEO, Oxford Immunotec

Charles Potter, CEO, Glide Pharma and colleague

There is a clear need for an organisation like Medical Futures to bridge the gap and help brilliant but early stage ideas connect with the right people and the money necessary to make them succeed. Throughout the year a series of activities take place in the background that encourage, support and reward innovators in their aspiration to drive forward their ideas, including a series of workshops, called i2 Events™ that provide service transformation; legal; and market oriented commercial advice to healthcare innovators. They also are a platform to connect ideas with entrepreneurs. So far, thousands of clinicians have attended Medical Futures’ events - connections are made, and ideas are brought to life. www.medicalfutures.co.uk



Past and present Judges One of the unique features of the Medical Futures process is its world class panel of clinical and commercial experts, each keen on lending their support to the innovators of tomorrow. Over 100 clinical experts come together in specialist panels to judge

Mr Winfried Amoaku Acting President, Royal College Ophthalmologists

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore Past President, Royal College Physicians

Professor Mike Richards CBE Cancer Lead, Department of Health




Anonymous peer review is the enemy of creativity – they go for orthodoxy… many of the great 19 th century discoveries were made by men who had independent wealth – Charles Darwin is the prototype, they trusted themselves”

ideas in numerous medical areas reflecting key areas of health priority. Shortlisted nominees are invited to pitch to the judges in a “Dragon’s Den” style, offering a refreshing and transparent peer review process.

Dr Jane Barrett President, Royal College Radiologists

Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE Professor of Pharmacology, Oxford

Michael Sherwood Chief Executive, Goldman Sachs International

Sir Victor Blank Former Chairman, Lloyds TSB

Nicolaus Henke Head of Global Health Systems, McKinsey & Company

Sir Peter Simpson Past President, Royal College Anaesthetists

Sir James Black OM

Tony Bourne Chief Executive, British Medical Association

Baroness Hollins of Wimbledon Past President, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Sir Richard Sykes Former Rector of Imperial College London and Chairman, GlaxoSmithKline.

Dr Archie Brain Anaesthetist & Inventor of the LMA Airway

Professor Dame Janet Husband DBE Past President, Royal College Radiologists

Professor Keith Willett National Clinical Director for Trauma Care, UK Department of Health

Professor the Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Past President, Royal Society of Medicine

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh KBE NHS Medical Director & Cardiac Surgeon

Sir Magdi Yacoub Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Imperial College, London.



Case studies

Diagnostics for the Real World

Dr Helen Lee (above). The Diagnostics for the Real World Team (middle top). Dr Lee & team Demonstrating the First Burst Urine Collector in 2003 (middle bottom).

There is a desperate need to develop an HIV test for babies born to mothers infected with HIV. More than 450,000 babies die each year in Sub Saharan Africa because they are not diagnosed with HIV early enough or at all. Existing rapid antibody-based tests do not work due to maternal transfer of antibodies, so a robust, simple point of care test based on the viral nucleic acid is desperately needed. Step in Dr Helen Lee and co-workers, to help solve the problem, alongside a wealth of other pressing global health issues. Medical Futures first met visionary Dr Lee eight years ago, in the early days of her journey and explores whether she has achieved her vision.

Fast forward a decade and they are well on their way to achieving their vision. They run a spinout company from Cambridge University – Diagnostics for the Real World Ltd – with two manufacturing facilities, one in the Bay Area on the west coast of the USA and the other in Cambridge, UK, capable of validating and manufacturing market-ready tests.


They won a Medical Futures Award in 2003, when their ideas were at an early stage. “Winning a Medical Futures Award was a tremendous morale boost for us and gave us the validation we needed that what we were doing was right”, said CEO, Dr Lee. Since then they have won a multitude of further prestigious awards including the Tech Museum Award in the USA.

n the mid 1990’s, Dr Helen Lee and colleagues had a collective vision to deliver a new generation of simple and inexpensive, rapid diagnostics for infectious diseases such as HIV, Chlamydia or Hepatitis, to the parts of the world that need them most. At the time they were working in industry but quickly realised that to achieve their vision they had to take a huge risk, by leaving secure jobs and moving to the University of Cambridge to establish an academic unit to carry out development.



They have raised more than $70m from organisations such as NIH, WHO and CDC. A major support to the spinout company has been the Technology Transfer Division of the Wellcome Trust which has taken an equity stake. They employ 30 staff and have 4 approved products on the market for diseases such as Chlamydia and Hepatitis B, real products that are changing peoples’ lives.

Whereas most big pharmaceutical companies make money in developed markets and then plough some of their profits towards the developing world,

Diagnostics for the Developing World has turned this model on its head. Their business model is shrewd with a two tier pricing system to offer the developing and middle-low income countries the benefit of their tests essentially at cost and sometimes free, subsidised by a commercial pricing structure in western markets.

Dr Lee’s ten year plan includes growing the business year on year whilst continuing to provide equity to the developing world.

Testing in a Masai tribe community using the DRW Chlamydia Rapid Test

Diagnostics for the Real World is a fast growing company making phenomenal progress and is one to watch.

Company Highlights Diagnostics for the Real World (DRW) have recently signed a £10m term sheet to develop a nucleic acid based rapid test to diagnose HIV in babies born to infected mothers. DRW’s Chlamydia Rapid Test has become the number two rapid test for Chlamydia in France. Tests are also available in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, the Falklands, Malaysia, Seychelles and even Vanuatu.

DRW have developed and manufactured the first and only CE-marked rapid test for hepatitis B. There are 24 patents granted or pending for DRW’s signal amplification system (SAS) for protein based targets and simple amplification based assay (SAMBA) for nucleic acid based targets based on visual detection on a dipstick. There are 24 patents granted or pending for DRW’s signal amplification system (SAS) for protein

based targets and simple amplification based assay (SAMBA) for nucleic acid based targets based on visual detection on a dipstick. DRW tests have achieved widespread publicity, through trade press and international broadcast media, including features on BBC World; Spain’s Channel 4 programme, Power of One; and Channel 4’s (UK) “Embarrassing Bodies”. The team have forged valuable links with an array of international

organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières, the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology in Tanzania, and Western Visayas Medical Center in the Philippines. DRW’s pipeline is strong, including a test for influenza virus and tests for HIV (both qualitative and semiquantitative tests). A further £1.4 million competitive award was made by the UK Technology Strategy Board, to develop a combo SAMBA assay for Chlamydia and Neisseria gonorrhea.



Case studies

Stanmore Implants Worldwide

The Sculptor (formerly Acrobot), part of the Saville Row system

The difference between a rapid growth company such as Google and one which has legacy and slow organic growth is difficult to define. Is it innovation or better management that differentiates them? Medical Futures uses Stanmore Implants Worldwide as a case study to explore the je ne sais quoi that defines the next big medical growth opportunity.


tanmore Implants started life 60 years ago, making it one of the UK’s oldest medical technology companies. Professor John Scales created the Centre for Biomedical Engineering at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore in 1948. Scales was convinced that there was a place for biologically inert plastic materials in orthopaedic surgery to replace major parts of bones and joints affected by disease. In the early 1950’s Stanmore Implants pioneered a prosthesis to replace the lower end of the femur affected by cancer and as a “world first” it was implanted at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital into a twenty year old patient, who survived and prospered. Stanmore Implants continued to pioneer new treatments but remained an academic department until the mid 1990’s when an independent company was spun out from University College



London. With modest sales and modest growth, however, it definitely belonged in the organic growth camp. In February 2008, Stanmore Implants was acquired from University College London Business by a private equity syndicate, led by Abingworth. The investment from the syndicate has enabled the Company, renamed Stanmore Implants Worldwide, to accelerate the commercial development of innovative products where there is a defined clinical need. Working closely with some of the UK’s leading orthopaedic surgeons, the Company develops products from an initial concept through to commercialisation. Having been at the forefront of a number of key British orthopaedic inventions that have significantly improved patient lives, Stanmore Implants Worldwide is now on a trajectory to rapid growth. The Growing Prosthesis Stanmore Implants developed the world’s first extendible bone implants in 1976. Since then the technology has been refined by electromagnetics which enables the prosthesis to be lengthened, non-invasively and without the need for further surgery. In 2002 the first patient received a noninvasive extendible implant, used to replace the end of the femur of an adolescent with bone cancer.

Case studies

The company will use new investment to build a global distribution structure, accelerate its regulatory approval programmes and further enhance its product platform.

ITAP, which has been implanted into ten patients at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust, Stanmore, UK

From its profitable and growing core business with £8m of revenues and adequate financing, the company will focus on growth sectors of the orthopaedic market, expanding market share in its core business of extreme orthopaedics which includes oncology, revision surgery and major trauma. Its future is exciting with a wealth of new innovations in the pipeline. Market entry into early joint intervention is planned with the Savile Row System and the placement of robotics.


Brian Davies, Justin Cobb, and David Sarphie of Acrobot, receiving their Award in 2002 by Mukesh Moorjani (top). Tim Briggs, Jay Meswania and Steve Cannon from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and UCL, receiving an Award from Andrew Vallance-Owen (second from left), and Esther Rantzen in 2003. The Growing Prosthesis (Right)


The patient attended a series of short outpatient appointments where the leg was lengthened remotely without the need for anaesthesia or sedation. Today, the patient is fully grown with legs of equal length. In 2003, the Growing Prosthesis won a Medical Futures Award for Innovation and now over 240 non-invasive extendible devices have now been implanted into patients worldwide. iTap iTAP stands for Intraosseous Transcutaneous Amputation Prosthesis, that allows direct attachment of a prosthesis to the skeleton of amputees without the need for suctions or straps. The idea was pioneered by Professor Gordon Blunn and his team at the Centre for Biomedical Engineering and funded by Stanmore Implants. The innovation mimics the deer antler which is a great natural example of non-living tissue penetrating through the skin, and living side by side with healthy tissue. iTap is an outstanding example of innovation and co-operation between a University, NHS Trust and Industry.

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time, a significant volume of clinical validation and technology refinement has taken place and the Acrobot has now been taken into Stanmore Implants Worldwide and renamed as Sculptor. Savile Row The Savile Row System for precision placement in orthopaedics is a unique, fully personalised approach to early knee replacement surgery, which combines novel patient specific implants with a proprietary robotic intraoperative system (the Sculptor). In the Savile Row system, each implant is designed by the surgeon using Stanmore’s online design service to exactly match the patient. Unlike other joint replacements which make the patient fit the prosthesis, Stanmore’s system makes the prosthesis fit the patient. The implant design is loaded into the Sculptor which uses a robotic arm to assist the surgeon to accurately place the prosthesis. The first implantation of this unique knee is scheduled for July 2011.

To date ten patients have been successfully treated in an on-going clinical trial at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital under the direction of Professor Tim Briggs. Patients report a life changing effect when compared to a traditional external attachment.

The Future Stanmore Implant Worldwide is under the direction of prolific serial entrepreneur, Brian Steer, who has more than forty years of experience in healthcare, most recently responsible for the turnaround of UK medical energy company, Gyrus Group and its sale to Olympus for in excess of $1Bn.

Robots in Surgery In the late 1990’s Professor Justin Cobb pioneered a new robot, called Acrobot to implant joint replacements more accurately. He was acknowledged with a Medical Futures Award in 2002. Since that

Stanmore Implants Worldwide draws on its extensive experience and knowledge in the sector, together with its technology and core competencies, to differentiate itself in a global and highly competitive market.


Commercial launch of iTAP will begin in 2013. This all coupled with Brian’s “Steer”, a buy and build strategy, accelerated revenue growth and HSBC Advert Final_CTP HSBC ADVERT London drives toward overall profitability means that Stanmore Implants Worldwide has a bright future.

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Case studies

The Peezy™


Dr Vince Forte & Team

Dr Vince Forte with a Peezy™ (right). A universal container used currently by patients to collect a sample (above left). George Blackledge presents the Award to Dr Forte in 2001.


fter repeated complaints from female patients asked to pass a urine sample into a tiny pot, Dr Vincent Forte, a General Practitioner in Suffolk, decided to do something about it.

the team decided to go it alone and secured investment through the LDA’s g2i scheme. Intensive R&D, precision engineering, market research and patient tests followed.

His first step was to phone his sister Giovanna Forte, a PR executive in London. “Make something,” she said, but Dr Forte didn’t know where to start.

Peezy™ launched its CE marked product in 2009, that collects an accurate mid-stream sample of urine. The Peezy™ is cost effective and significantly reduces contamination and retest rates. It also meets the requirements of the NHS QIPP mandate, and is on NHS Drug Tariff.

Roughly at that time, Dr Forte heard about the Medical Futures Awards; he took his paper prototype of the working title “Female Freedom Funnel” and sent it in with his submission. His idea was a disposable paper funnel that would serve to allow a female patient to pass urine into the traditional tiny container easily and without mess. In May 2001, he received one of the inaugural Medical Futures Awards at the Imagination Gallery in London along with a small contribution of costs towards patenting the idea. The journey however was just beginning and following a barrage of rejections from manufacturers in the UK and Europe, along with mounting costs,


Brian Thornes, Surgeon & Inventor


Peezy™ has since won multiple Awards, raised nearly a million pounds of investment and has been adopted by HCA Healthcare UK, one of the leading private healthcare providers. It is currently on trial in France, Portugal, and Korea. The Peezy™ promotes right-first-time analysis, diagnosis and treatment, can reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescribing and importantly, delivers patient hygiene and dignity. The team are keen to ramp up sales within the NHS and global export markets. www.peezy.co.uk


r Brian Thornes, a surgeon from Ireland developed a novel medical device and technique used in orthopaedic surgery to address a common problem in the operative treatment of broken ankles, where the ligaments are disrupted. He designed a suture-button device that holds the two bones together, replacing a metal screw which would often need to be removed in a second operation after about 6 weeks or, if left in, frequently would break when the patient started walking again. The device was licensed to Arthrex Inc, a multinational orthopaedic device company, with the first ankle TightRope® device being implanted in a patient in 2004. It has been successfully used in more than 60,000 ankle fracture patients to date, grossing multiple millions of revenue and sprouting numerous line extensions for Arthrex including an ACL Reconstruction TightRope®, a shoulder AC-joint TightRope® and AC-joint GraftRope®, and a small joint Mini-TightRope®.

Arthrex continues to launch other innovative sports-surgery products, developed in conjunction with orthopaedic surgeons from around the globe. The ankle TightRope® has helped several professional athletes across the globe return to the top of their game weeks earlier than would otherwise have been the case. This includes British and Irish international rugby players, NFL American footballers and soccer professionals in the Premiership and Champions League.

Surgeon, Mr Brian Thornes (top, right), receiving his Award in 2003 from fellow entrepreneur and surgeon, Mark Goble (Founder of Gyrus Group Plc).

“I cannot understate the significance Medical Futures has had on my career path,” said Brian Thornes, who is currently in advanced progress of another novel orthopaedic device project to treat fractures in the elderly with osteoporosis. “I am grateful to have been one of the earlier recipients of the Awards”, he continued. “The Judges recognised the potential for my TightRope® device, several years before its market success.” www.arthrex.com www.ankletightrope.com



The Cardiovascular Innovation Awards


Professor Keith Fox President, British Cardiovascular Society

Paul Bateman CEO, Veryan Medical

Sarah Clarke Clinical Director Cardiac Services, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust



Professor Stephen Greenwald Professor of Cardiovascular Mechanics, Royal London Hospital

Professor George Hamilton Professor of Vascular Surgery, Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh KBE Cardiothoracic Surgeon and NHS Medical Director

Professor MARTIN ROTHMAN Professor Martin Rothman, Vice President Medical Affairs, Medtronic Inc

Professor Peter Sever Professor of Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Imperial College London



The Cardiovascular Innovation Awards WINNER



Artists impression of the BASICS Trolley

A patient using Limbs Alive during rehab after a stroke


Limbs Alive


Best Innovative Concept Award in the Cardiovascular Innovation Awards

Best Innovation in Service Redesign in the Cardiovascular Innovation Awards

Mr Samer Nashef and Mr Stephen Large Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Andrew Weeks, Dr Andrew Gallagher & Dr David Hutchon, Liverpool Women’s Hospital, University of Liverpool, and Memorial Hospital, Darlington.

Professor Janet Eyre and Mrs Janice Pearse Royal Victoria Infirmary and Newcastle University

Dr Will Nicolson, Dr G. Andre Ng, Dr Geoff Whiteley, Dr Gerry McCann, and Dr Fernando Schlindwein University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and University of Leicester

What it is? The Bedside Assessment, Stabilisation and Initial Cardiorespiratory Support (BASICS) Trolley is a novel redesign of a newborn resuscitation trolley to take place at the mother's bedside, unlike the current devices which are usually placed in a corner of the room, meaning that the baby has to be taken away from mum and carried over the remote trolley.

What it is? This is a novel technology solution to rehabilitate patients after a stroke. If a stroke (blood clot to the brain) damages the part of the brain that control movements, patients are often left with weakness down one side of the body. Therapy after a stroke is important but there are not enough therapists to meet demand and the statistics show that less than a fifth of patients regain independence after a stroke. The Limbs Alive system allows patients to work hard on their rehabilitation under the close review of a therapist.

What it is? This is a medical device used for the treatment of patients following open heart surgery. When a patient is having open heart surgery their heart is put on a bypass machine, which carries out the work of their heart and lungs. After coming off the bypass machine, some patients’ hearts struggle for a short while in returning to normal function and at present these patients may require a very expensive balloon pump to be inserted to assist the heart. What’s new? This innovation involves a modification to the heart lung machine, a machine to which the patient is already connected. In this new system, once the bypass machine is switched off, if the patient’s heart is struggling then the machine is simply switched back on, in a different mode that listens to the patient’s heart beat and when it is not beating the machine pumps blood backwards to the heart keeping it supplied with vital oxygenated blood all the time. This new machine will remove the need for a proportion of the patients to have to have a balloon pump inserted, which is currently a very invasive and costly procedure and also means that a solution is available at press of a button, unlike current systems which take time to organise. Who will use it? It will be used by cardiac surgeons. The US Perfusion market is $304m in 2008, although the biggest growth in this area is in India & China.




What did the Judges say? This is a very novel idea that has come from an experienced team of heart surgeons, who have spotted a clear unmet need. As with all innovations validation will be costly and we urge them to work closely with manufacturers of heart-lung machines to make this innovation happen, as it could have a significant impact on patient care.

What’s new? The-state-of-the-art BASICS trolley can be manoeuvred alongside the bed for a normal delivery, as well as next to a caesarean section or assisted forceps delivery. This means that the baby can remain close to the mum at a time when she most wants them to be within sight. In addition, it means that the baby's umbilical cord can be left intact, ideal for doctors who believe delayed cord clamping offers benefits to babies, especially those that are weak or premature. Who will use it? There are 700,000 live births in England and Wales each year and more than 4m in the USA. Approximately 10% of these babies need some form of resuscitation at the time of their birth and the team would like to see the BASICS trolley become the de facto standard in delivery rooms around the world. What did the Judges say? This is a great example of service redesign and the sort of innovation that is essential in the modern NHS where improved quality and efficiency play a vital role. This is the sort of innovation that will struggle to succeed without financial assistance from the NHS in its early proof of concept stage, but once developed and proven, the Judges have no doubt that a manufacturer and distributor will be keen to take this on.

Best Innovation to Improve Patient Care in the Cardiovascular Innovation Awards

What’s new? The Limbs Alive system is a combination of NHS expertise and the latest state-of-the-art video games in an integrated package to rehabilitate patients after a stroke. Using Cloud server technology it means patients can take their therapy home, and be closer to their family whilst still getting the benefit of NHS therapy. Who will use it? More than 150,000 people have a stroke in the UK each year occupying around 25% of hospital beds. Stroke has a greater disability impact than any other chronic disease and costs the economy in excess of £6Bn. It is envisaged that hospitals will initiate therapy using Limbs Alive and patients will continue therapy in their homes using consumer consoles and their bespoke accessories. What did the Judges say? Innovation in delivery of stroke rehabilitation is one of the key priorities in stroke research and the Limbs Alive system is an excellent example of research led innovation that can be translated into treatments that benefit patients in most need. The system has been pump primed by public funding and has made excellent progress and now needs to be taken into its next phase of professionalization and commercialization.

Angiogenesis-regulating Peptides

Best Innovation in Diagnostics in the Cardiovascular Innovation Awards

Professor Chris Shaw, Professor Brian Walker, and Dr Tianbao Chen Queen’s University Belfast This patent protected innovation is a series of proteins discovered from frog skin that have the potential to manipulate blood vessel growth and become highly-effective tools to treat cancers and assist in wound healing.

What it is? LifeMap is a technology solution to predict patients at risk of sudden cardiac death. Every six minutes someone has a cardiac arrest and some of these patients, whose heart rhythm is unstable, require an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) at a cost of £20,000, but predicting which patients would benefit from an ICD is at present not possible. What’s new? LifeMap uses a bespoke computer algorithms to assess a property of the heart muscle known as restitution. It uses a non invasive test to assess the normal and abnormal areas of the heart to create an electrical instability map, something that previously required invasive techniques to achieve. Who will use it? Worldwide three million people die annually of sudden cardiac death (SCD). Implantable ICDs are effective at preventing these deaths and more than 250,000 ICDs are implanted worldwide each year although there is currently no way each method to determine which patients are at risk of SCD. It is predicted that the LifeMap system will be used on every patient at risk of SCD. What did the Judges say? Research has shown that fewer than 50% of people getting ICDs ever use them and the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellent (NICE) have recommended research into ways to “better establish risk factors”. This is therefore a perfect example of an innovation that meets an NHS need. A 160 patient prospective trial is underway and should the results of that be positive we would urge the commercialisation of this technology, which has the potential to transform treatment and risk stratification of sudden cardiac death.

© Gary Thom 2007

Cardiac bypass connected to the heart during open heart surgery

Temporary Cardiac Assist

Since its formation in 1922 the society has set standards of excellence for individuals, organisations, and the care of patients with cardiovascular disease. The BCS works in collaboration with patients, the public, and partner organisations and is committed to training and education.

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Medtronic is the global leader in medical technology alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for people with chronic conditions around the world.



Dentistry & Oral Health

Innovation Awards



Professor of Restorative Dentistry, University of Birmingham

DR Mary Lynn Bosma Medical Director, Clinical Research Aquafresh, GSK

AMARJIT GILL President, British Dental Association

22 www.medicalfutures.co.uk

DR ALAN SEGAL CEO, Astek Innovations Ltd

JAMES STEELE Professor of Oral Health Services, Newcastle University

TIM WATSON Director of Research, King’s College London Dental Institute

Professor Nairn Wilson CBE Dean of Dental Institute, King’s College London



The Dental & Oral Health Innovation Awards WINNER


Reduced discomfort dental injections


Professor Margaret Cox, Dr Jonathan San Diego, Dr Barry Quinn and Team King's College London

Dr John Meechan, Mr. Chris Lawrence and Mr. Philip Harley, Newcastle University

Professor Susan Higham, Dr Phil Smith, Dr Elbert de Josselin de Jong and Team University of Liverpool and Inspektor Research Systems

What is it? This is a new virtual reality dental school to teach the next generation of dentists. This system uses 3D screens, a head tracking device to allow views to reflect what would actually be seen in real life, and a foot pedal to control the speed and settings of the dental drill.

What is it? This is a modification of a dental local anaesthetic cartridge that allows a buffer solution to be mixed with the anaesthetic so that it causes less pain to the patient when injected.

What is it? This is a digital camera system to be used in a dental practice to take close up images of the patient's teeth. The images are relayed wirelessly to a handheld tablet device to provide immediate information to patients and dentists.


Best Educational Innovation in the Dental & Oral Health Innovation Awards

A dental student using HapTEL

A reduced discomfort dental syringe. The clear liquid at the front (the anaesthetic) is being mixed with a separate green liquid (buffer) as the plunger is pressed at the time of injection

What’s new? Although there are competetive systems on the market the HapTEL team believe their system will beat them on performance as well as cost as its unique software platform allows their haptic unit costing £200 to outperform the advanced haptic systems used by competitors, costing in excess of £15,000. The overall unit will sell for £10,000 as compared to £30,000 for the nearest competitor. Who will use it? There are nine dental schools in the UK and 67 across north America. There are more than 150 countries across the world who provide dental education and with more than two million dentists world over that shall require revalidation, the opportunity for training and educational companies is significant.

iDENTifi - a patient is shown detailed images of his teeth on a handheld


What did the Judges say? This is a great example of academic led excellence in training and education which has been validated on more than 300 dental students over a two year period with public funding of more than £1.7m. Although this is a competitive market the team appear to have a major advantage in cost but they need to professionalise and commercialise this product as soon as possible in order to gain a share of this attractive market.

Best Blue Sky Idea in the Dental & Oral Health Innovation Awards

What’s new? The patent in this innovation is for a new design of syringe that allows two substances to be kept separate within the syringe until the moment before injection. There is a lot of evidence that buffered injections are less painful, but mixing the two substances at the time of injection is time consuming and costly. Manufacturers have been unable to produce buffered anaesthetics as they require them to be acidic to preserve the activity of adrenaline and to enhance shelf life. Who will use it? The US market for dental anaesthetic cartridges is worth in excess of $150m. The injection market generally is huge with more than 16 billion injections administered per year globally. The market is dominated by a small number of large players and the team’s strategy will be to initially tackle the dental injection market by licensing the technology to an existing manufacturer. What did the Judges Say? As with many of the best ideas, the simplicity of this innovation is what caught the Judges attention. This forms a platform innovation that could have many potential uses outside of the dental market and the Judges would like to see this being taken into clinical trials.

Best Innovation in Patient Engagement in the Dental & Oral Health Innovation Awards

What’s new? The iDENTifi system also uses a patent protected fluorescent lighting system and bespoke software that enables visualisation of very early dental caries and dental plaque that is normally invisible to the eye. The system also forms an electronic patient record to allow longitudinal comparisons of the health of the teeth and provides a new system for preventive dental management. Who will use it? A percentage of the two million dentists worldwide who wish to be at the forefront of technology and innovation, in particular those dentists that wish to empower their patients to proactively look after their oral health and evaluate their preventive dental strategies. What did the Judges Say? This is an advancement of a technology commended by the Judges in a previous Medical Futures Awards. Since that time the team have successfully licenced part of the technology to a global commercial partner as a consumer product. The iDENTifi system is the professional version of that technology and the Judges believe that linked to an electronic patient management system, and executed well, is likely to be a significant commercial success.

Preventing cavities the SMART way

Synthetic Peptides

Best Translational Research Innovation in the Dental & Oral Health Innovation Awards

Professor Nikolaos Donos, Mr Harsh Amin and Professor Irwin Olsen UCL Eastman Dental Institute, London

Professor Charles Kelly, Professor Thomas Lehner, Professor Julian Ma and Professor Raman Bedi, Kings College London and St George’s Hospital, University of London

This innovation involves two novel synthetic proteins that can be used for the treatment and regeneration of bone, blood vessels and nerves by inducing the patient’s own stem cells.

What is it? The innovation is a topical gel placed around the teeth to prevent infection with the bacterium (Streptococcus mutans), the main cause of dental caries. The compound is a synthetic peptide (p1025) that mimics the site of attachment of the bacteria but has no effect on other healthy microorganisms in the mouth. What’s new? This is the first pharmaceutical product specifically targeted against the main bacterial cause of dental caries. Built on a novel patent protected molecule, first reported in the Journal, Nature Biotechnology by the lead innovator, it has now gone through preclinical and three human safety & efficacy trials including a Phase I study. Who will use it? Dental caries is the most common disease in humans affecting 90% of people and can destroy teeth and gums. Chief Dental Officers around the world have declared elimination of early childhood caries as the main priority for dentistry in the 21st century. The team envisages a dental gel as their first product, followed by a toothpaste as the second generation of product, a market worth in excess of $9 billion. What did the Judges say? This innovation stems from a high class team of academics and the pilot studies in the UK and China have been encouraging. The Judges believe this innovation serves a major unmet need and deserves to succeed. Because it is likely to require a new drug application and be costly to commercialise the Judges would encourage the team to join forces with a commercial partner to take this product into Phase II studies.

Founded in 1880, the British Dental Association has over 20,000 members and is the professional association and trade union for dentists in the UK.

Sponsored by

GSK’s mission is to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

Preventing cavities the smart way






Innovation Awards


DR SYED JAFRI Clinical Director, Global I&D - Linde Healthcare

DR DAVID BALDWIN Consultant Respiratory Physician Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

DR PASCALE GRUBER Consultant in Critical Care Medicine, Royal Marsden NHS Trust

26 www.medicalfutures.co.uk

Professor ANN MILLAR Chair of Respiratory Medicine, University of Bristol

DR MICHAEL RUDOLF Consultant Physician, Ealing Hospital NHS Trust

SIMON STOCKLEY Director, MBA Programme, Imperial College Business School

Professor Wisia WEDZicha Professor of Respiratory Medicine, University College London

DR DAVID WHITAKER Consultant Anaesthetist, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust



Respiratory Innovation Awards WINNER




Best Business Proposition in the Respiratory Innovation Awards

The PneumaScan™

Best Therapeutic Innovation in the Respiratory Innovation Awards

What is it? PneumaCare’s product, the PneumaScan™, enables clinicians to assess respiratory function in a whole series of new ways using 3D imaging technology, similar to that used in the entertainment industry. It can tell you how you breathe as well as how well you breathe.

What is it? This is a novel MRI that uses inhaled inert gases to produce very high resolution images of the lungs. The gases include helium and xenon whose signal is boosted by a special technique called “hyperpolarisation” using the teams custom built equipment.

What is it? This will be a new medical treatment for cystic fibrosis, a disease which clogs up the lungs and digestive tract with thickened secretions causing difficulty breathing and digestion of food, with progressive disability and often early death.

What’s new? The group has the only MHRA (regulatory) licence for polarised gas manufacture for human lung imaging. Although there are lots of other imaging modalities available most focus on lung structure and carry the risks of ionizing radiation. In contrast POLARIS has developed techniques to offer a wealth of information on both lung structure and function. In some cases it is so sensitive that it can pick up disease before spirometry.

What’s new? The innovation is a novel ‘friendly’ virus that delivers a normal version of the faulty cystic fibrosis gene into the lungs of patients. One dose generates large amounts of the normal protein; an effect sustained for at least two years in animal models, and can be given repeatedly for life-long therapy.

Jim Wild illustrating the high quality images and new information that can be obtained using hyperpolarised gas MRI

Professor Eric Alton & Team (Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy)

Who will use it? Lung disease results in more than 24 million visits to their general practitioner in the UK and is a major challenge. Chronic obstructive airways disease is the fourth biggest killer in Europe with more than 250,000 deaths per year. There are around 30 million people in Europe suffering from asthma. PneumaCare’s first product targets a world-wide addressable market of $357m.The company will have a range of products for both the specialist, generalist and consumer markets.


Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy

Professor Jim Wild University of Sheffield

What did the Judges say? This is an impressive example of translational research emerging from the University of Cambridge, with a clear market orientated commercialisation strategy. It is a great example of a physician based idea being taken to fruition to benefit patients. A market that the Judges were particularly excited about was its potential in the consumer baby monitoring space.


Best Translational Research Innovation in the Respiratory Innovation Awards

Dr Richard Iles, Dr Ward Hills, and Dr Bill Mason PneumaCare Limited, Cambridge

What’s new? Its main novelty is that it is totally non invasive and uses Structured Light Plethysmography (SLP) imaging technology to observe chest wall movements and calculate the volume changes over time. PneumaScan™ also offers new information that existing clinical systems are unable to provide.

A patient on a ventilator - with more than a 30% likelihood of developing a chest infection


Who will use it? The technology has significant utility as a research tool for pharmaceutical companies in evaluating therapies with lung imaging biomarkers. A clinical service is also being developed to assist respiratory physicians to pick up early disease and also help manage complex patients suffering from asthma, obstructive airways disease, and cystic fibrosis. At present that service is only available locally but the team is keen to widen their presence nationally and internationally. What did the Judges say? There is an unmet need for improved technologies to assess lung function. As a research tool this technology has a clear market. The more complex commercial play is turning this into a cost effective and commercially viable clinical tool. The Judges would encourage the group to develop this in partnership with an existing industry player, focusing on its added benefits over existing technologies.

Professor Eric Alton, Professor David Porteous and Dr Stephen Hyde Imperial College, London, University of Edinburgh and University of Oxford

Who will use it? Cystic Fibrosis affects more than 70,000 people worldwide. Only half of those with the disease are expected to live past their mid 30‘s. In the UK alone, more than two million people carry the faulty gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis. The cost of care for a patient varies between £20,000 to £100,000 per year with existing treatments. What did the Judges say? Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is one of most common life-threatening inherited diseases and causes great disability for patients and their carers. The preclinical data for this group to date is both encouraging and exciting but the challenge in progressing to costly clinical trials is significant. The Judges would urge the Research Councils & Charities to fund Phase I studies and for a commercial partner to license this technology thereafter so that it can provide benefits to patients and demonstrate the UK as a world beater.



Dr Joanne Stewart, Dr Arthur Tucker, Professor Charles Hinds and Team Queen Mary University of London & Barts and the London NHS Trust

Inverseon is looking to commercialise the use of beta blockers to treat respiratory disease. This is counter-intuative as up until recently beta-blockers were contraindicated in this area, however the company have discovered that in chronic use the effect is the opposite and they are now set to take their therapies into clinical trials in chronic airways disease as well as other consumer markets.

Best Blue Sky Idea in the Respiratory Innovation Awards

What is it? This is a new therapy to prevent pneumonia associated with patients being treated on a ventilator. This innovation is a therapy consisting of a liquid of nitric oxide, a chemical that plays a key role in defense, but whose levels are ignificantly reduced during illness. What’s new? The team are the first to look at the the restoration of normal physiological levels of these natural defenses by delivering a liquid solution into the mouth and stomach of patients whose lungs are being mechanically ventilated. This is in stark contrast with previous work which has looked at the use of Nitric Oxide in the respiratory system, something the team wishes to avoid as it is potentially toxic if it gets into the lungs. All current therapies involve the use of antibiotics which carry a major issue with resistance. Who will use it? More than 60,000 patients are mechanically ventilated in UK intensive care units annually, with an average stay of five days and a cost of more than £500m. Up to a third of these patients develop pneumonia. The team envisage that their treatment will be administered to all patients being placed on a ventilator to try and prevent them developing pneumonia. What did the Judges say? This is a novel concept in an area in which the unmet need is large. Although their work is at an early translational research stage, their pilot and phase I studies have been encouraging and the Judges would like to see this technology move into Phase II studies.

Professor Richard Bond and Dr Heather Giles University of Houston, USA

The British Thoracic Society’s objectives are to improve the care of people with respiratory and associated disorders. We promote optimum standards of care as well as advancing knowledge and research about the causes, prevention and treatment of respiratory disease.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists is responsible for setting standards of clinical care, administering examinations and the continued education of all practicing anaesthetists.

Sponsored by

BOC is the UK’s leading supplier of medical gases and related services for healthcare professionals. BOC is a member of The Linde Group as the global market leader for medical gases and associated hospital therapies.



Special Awards WINNER

NHS Innovation Awards The NHS Innovation Award recognises a business or team that can demonstrate excellence in healthcare efficiency and utilisation with demonstrable effectiveness, impact & patient outcomes in the NHS and overseas. The National

Innovation Centre (NIC) works nationally and internationally with innovators in industry, academia and the NHS to speed the development and diffusion of healthcare technology innovations and is delighted to support this Award.

Best Educational Innovation Award WINNER

The Best Education Innovation Award recognises an individual or team that have demonstrated a novel and outstanding initiative that has made a positive impact in healthcare learning amongst students at any level, including undergraduate

and postgraduate teaching, professional development and public outreach. The winning initiative should be evidenced based and scalable to have the maximum output and benefit to students, patients or the public.

Rory Bremner inspired by a wealth of simple but life-changing ideas

Translational Research Innovation Award WINNER

The Translational Research Innovation Award recognises an individual or team that have translated basic research and applied it in the clinical setting, in order for it to benefit patients. The MRC promotes research into all areas of

medical and related science with the aim of improving the quality of life of the UK public and contributing to the wealth of the nation. As such, the MRC is proud to sponsor the Translational Research Award.

The Best Business Proposition WINNER

Business Guru Luke Johnson, and TSB Boss Iain Gray present an Award to Horizon

Michael Buerk presents the Lifetime Achievement Award

The Best Business Proposition Award is searching for exemplars of clinical and commercial excellence and will go to a Start-Up demonstrating an exciting business opportunity with significant growth potential, that is clinically, technically and

commercial viable and that has the potential to benefit patients in the UK and around the world. Past winners of this Award include Oxford Immunotec, Glide Pharma, & Horizon Discovery.

Lifetime Achievement Award WINNER

The Lifetime Achievement Award goes to an individual who has made a contribution of outstanding scientific or technical significance to the field of medicine, or widespread impact on Sky News Sunrise presenter Charlotte Hawkins



global healthcare and the lives of people in the UK and around the world. Previous recipients of this Award include Dr Archie Brain, and the late Sir James Black OM.

Sir John Chisholm and Anthea Turner present a Special Award to Moorfields MDT





rive, determination and chutzpah are often touted as the classic entrepreneurial traits. Motivational talks from the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or James Dyson usually urge perseverance. “Believe in yourself” and “Don’t give up” are advised time and time again. But what if you are not a born entrepreneur? What if you are a visionary rather than a go-getter? Donald Trump feels that in society no more than one or two per cent of people are entrepreneurs. So it begs the question, can ideas people really be game changers? The late Sir James Black was regarded as the father of analytical pharmacology, who changed the face of pharmaceutical medicine in inventing not one but two blockbuster drugs. In reducing the hearts requirement for oxygen his idea for beta blockers was radical, and diametrically opposed to traditional thinking which was looking for ways of increasing the oxygen to the heart. The young Black persuaded ICI to take on him and his idea and the rest is history. His second idea, for the ulcer healing drug cimetidine rapidly racked up more than $1bn in sales. Black however needed the corporate world to unleash his groundbreaking ideas outside of the laboratory. He became a game changer by living symbiotically with Big Pharma; the suits needed his ideas; he needed their deep pockets and their marketing skills.

An idea is just an idea and is pretty much worthless unless acted upon. In each generation, there are no more than a handful of individuals who have ideas that change the course of history. In celebrating the Medical Futures Lifetime Achievement Award winners, Andy Goldberg considers what these extraordinary game changers may have in common. Photograph of Sir James Black OM taken in 2008. Professor Rodney Perkins (opposite, above) and Archie Brain. © Medical Futures



Photograph by Natasha Sutton

Game Changers

Genius rarely comes packaged with entrepreneurial acumen, particularly in the medical field. Consider Archie Brain, who set about to produce an airway management device that was safer, more reliable and easier to insert than the devices he had been using as a practising anaesthetist. In typical inventor fashion, he ploughed away with prototypes in his bedroom, not entirely clear what he needed to do to get the device into widespread use. Rejection after rejection from manufacturers ensued. It was only a chance meeting with Robert Gaines-Cooper, a successful British businessman that changed the game. Gaines-Cooper had made his fortune selling jukeboxes to pubs, and knew little about healthcare. Archie knew even less about business. However, thanks to this peculiar union, more than 350 million of Brain’s Laryngeal




Sir James Black OM, in his laboratory at ICI (black & white). Sir James provides feedback to tomorrow’s innovators at the Medical Futures event as he receives his Lifteime Achievement Award in 2008. Archie Brain in his bedroom with prototypes for his LMA (illustrated) in the 1980’s. Robert Gaines-Cooper and Archie Brain in 2007 (bottom left).


Genius rarely comes packaged with entrepreneurial acumen”

Mask Airways (LMA’s) have now been used around the world over the last twenty years, and the field of anaesthesia has been revolutionised. Nevertheless, even in medicine, there are a handful of people who possess both the intuition to recognise needs and the determination and passion to ensure those needs are fulfilled. One of the most successful healthcare serial entrepreneurs ever is Rodney Perkins, an Otologist from Stanford, who has created more than ten companies, several listed, and with a combined value in excess of $3bn. Perkins’ drive might have been fueled by the passing away of his mother, when he was just nine years old. His gift for invention was clear even in elementary school, where he created a method to swipe baseballs from the local minor league home team, perhaps driven by necessity as he couldn’t afford to buy them new. In medical school he developed a device that oxygenated blood during surgery, and as an Intern he developed an air filled balloon to splint broken limbs. None of these ideas made him any



money, but they taught him one important lesson: to trust his own judgment and instinct. He had learned how to coral resources and create value. Fast forward 40 years, and his Midas touch glows. Perkins has developed and brought to market solutions in fields ranging from hearing aids to injectable collagens, and from lasers in surgery to the non-surgical hysterectomy. Most game changers don’t really set out to ‘innovate’. They set out to solve a problem because they either see nobody doing anything about it, or they are personally dissatisfied with the alternatives. But though it is tempting to look at a successful innovator and see a brilliant individual, relying on supernatural intuition to create breakthroughs, the people who get innovation right, time and time again, are the ones who intuit what developments people want, who feel how other people will feel. Black’s interest in heart disease came after his father passed away from a heart attack. Likewise, Brain would watch as tubes were traumatically passed through the vocal cords and couldn’t understand why you couldn’t rest the airway above the cords. Perkins’ passion was hearing, indeed as Professor of Otology at Stanford, it was his day job too.


Archie Brain was born in Kobe, Japan to a British diplomat family. After qualifying from Oxford and Barts, he worked abroad before returning to the UK in 1980 to accept a post at the Royal London Hospital as a Consultant Anaesthetist. Brain worked on several research projects, one of them being the prototype laryngeal mask airway, for which he received a patent in 1982. Although there was initially little interest among the anaesthesia community in this new airway device, Brain saw its potential and developed several prototypes. Commercial production began in 1987 through a company, LMA International, which now has sales of more than $100m per year.


James Black was the son of a mining engineer from Cowdenbeath, Scotland. After reading Medicine at St Andrews he embarked on a career as a physiologist. In the 1960s, he developed a new class of drugs the beta-blockers that have been used to treat high blood pressure, migraines and heart attacks. Sir James then went onto discover the anti-ulcer treatment cimetidine which in the 1970’s even overtook beta blockers in terms of prescription drug sales. Sir James was awarded a Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988 and was knighted for services to medical research in 1981. Sadly, Sir James passed away in March 2010, aged 85.

So it’s understandable that he was driven by unmet need, witnessed on a daily basis. Perkins feels, “The entrepreneur’s job is to bring in support entities, perhaps lawyers or accountants; get a management team to help keep this engine running; bring in a scientific advisory board and, of course, the fuel of the entrepreneur: money. The entrepreneur cajoles them all closer until they realise they all have a common goal. “Innovation gives people the most leverage in business they can have”, insists Perkins. In healthcare, this is particularly rewarding, “because one can leverage exponentially your contribution.” He cites three other game changers: Fred Banting, Charles Best and John McLeod, who isolated insulin in the 1920s. “They leveraged themselves tremendously to affect millions and millions of people,” he marvels. In essence, game changers don’t have to be entrepreneurs. Some work well in big companies. Some need dynamic business partners. For others, serendipity – a chance encounter, say, may play a large part. However, what all game changers do possess is confidence and a steadfast belief in their idea and, more often than not, the charisma to propel others along for the journey of their lives.

Rodney Perkins speaking at a Medical Futures i2 Event™ in 2005 (left). The California Ear Institute at Stanford (below left).


Rodney Perkins was born in Evansville, Indiana. He qualified in Medicine from Indiana University, in the early 60’s and went on to become a Professor of Surgery at Stanford, and founded the California Ear Institute. His first company, Collagen Corporation developed injectable collagens and went public, although started out to create the first ever implantable eardrum, but had to change tack several times before market success. Two further companies went public, Laserscope and ReSound. He has a wealth of highly successful companies including, Sound ID, Surgrx, DFine, and Pulmonix. His latest company, EarLens, claims that it will do for hearing what the contact lens did for sight.




Dream Maker

In 1986, British born actress, Emma Samms, co-founded the Starlight Children’s Foundation with film producer Peter Samuelson in order to grant wishes to sick children. Twenty five years on the charity is going from strength to strength. Andy Goldberg explores Emma’s drive and determination to make a difference.


ou are most famous for playing Fallon in Dynasty, and Holly in General Hospital. Was it something in those roles that led you to set up a charity? No I don’t think so. The reasons are quite personal to me. I was one of four children. I was the second oldest with 18 months between me and my younger brother Jamie. We were very close. When I was nine and Jamie was eight, he became quite unwell. I remember being on holiday when my mother noticed some strange bruising on his skin and a burst blood vessel in his eye.


“Today Starlight moves mountains so that moves a sick Today Starlight child can have whatever mountains so that a sick they wish child for.” can have whatever

On our return, our GP instantly knew something was wrong and soon afterwards Jamie was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia. At that time an incurable, fatal blood disease.

they wish for.”

It’s only since having my own children that I can even begin to comprehend what this must have been like for my parents. To watch helplessly as your child is hospitalised, subjected to painful tests and treatments and knowing what the inevitable, unimaginable outcome is going to be – I think I would be all-consumed with anger and grief. Inevitably, following Jamie’s diagnosis and until his death, my siblings and I spent a lot of time away from home, split up from each other, with different members of our extended family. I found this a terribly isolating experience and one in which we all struggled. Children are moulded and shaped by life events like losing a sibling. As I grew up the frustration of not being able to help my brother or my parents stayed with me for quite some time.



Sadly, the doctors were unable to remove the tumour fully, so everyone including Sean, knew he didn’t have long to live.

© Prince Power.

Emma Samms with two of Starlight’s children - Zach, 4 and his sister Sofia, 6. Zach, whose wish was to see the real Father Christmas on his sleigh in Lapland, has a brain tumour.

Many years later in 1978, at the age of seventeen, I was cast in my first ever film, “Arabian Adventure” alongside Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. I was invited to visit Great Ormond Street Hospital for a special screening. After the film, I went round the wards and asked a young boy if he had enjoyed the film. “Not very much,” he responded. His name was Sean and he was just 11 years old and was about to have surgery for a brain tumour. I remember it like it was yesterday. Although I tried to defend the film, he was insistent that it was “rubbish”. The next day I got a call from his nurses saying he’d love to see me again after his operation, and of course, I agreed. Emma Samms and Dynasty co-star Joan Collins in London in 2009.




John James Anderson (playing Jeff Colby) with Emma Samms (Fallon) in the 80’s hit TV series Dynasty.

One day, when we were chatting, he told me that his dream was to visit Disneyland. He was desperate to go and although the only Disneyland at that time was on the other side of the world, I suddenly realised that I could make that happen. At that point I was living in Los Angeles but in a very small apartment. My cousin Peter Samuelson had a much larger condominium and he agreed to let me, Sean and his mum stay with him. He even helped arrange for a surprise helicopter ride for Sean. So that was your first granting of a wish? Yes, and although it was exciting to see the look of pure joy and excitement on Sean’s face, it was also amazing to see the look on his mum’s face as she watched Sean having the time of his life. Sean died shortly after returning to the UK. Devastated as I was, at least I knew I had been able to do something to help. It was then that we set up Starlight, with the aim of helping other families going through what my own family and Sean’s family had experienced. So what does Starlight do? The Starlight Children’s Foundation is unique in that it works throughout the UK to bring much needed fun, laughter and distraction to poorly children and their families across the country. It provides entertainment in hospitals and hospices and grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes for children with life-threatening and life-shortening illnesses. We move mountains so that a sick child can have whatever they wish for. Whether


it’s a shopping spree, meeting a celebrity or a trip to Disneyland – whatever they want - but we always include the whole family, as their parents and siblings are also having a tough time.


The frustration of not being able to help my brother or my parents stayed with me for quite some time.”

How has Starlight changed over the years? Well in its first year, Starlight granted just four wishes. Twenty five years later, we are working on over 1,000 wishes a year, although our core values and focus on the family is still central. We have also broadened our offering by bringing entertainment and distraction to children in hospitals and hospices across the UK. How does that work? Children often feel isolated and frightened as a result of their illness especially if they are undergoing treatment in hospitals and hospices. We try and brighten their stay because we believe that happy children respond better to treatment. Poorly children are entertained by Starlight’s pantomimes, parties and escapes and the charity has developed special equipment to help the medical community in the treatment of children, such as the Starlight Distraction Boxes which are colourful toolboxes full of games, toys and fun items. These then provide nurses and play specialists with ways of distracting a child during medical procedures, like taking blood. We also provide Starlight Fun Centres. These are mobile entertainment units that incorporate a Nintendo Wii console, four Nintendo DSi’s, DVD/ Blu-ray player, internet access and a flat screen TV. Again

the aim of these is to provide entertainment and distraction to children in hospital. So are you proud of what you have achieved? Yes I think so, but I always want to do more. I’ve always had a fascination with medicine. In my early days of acting I even enrolled on a course at UCLA and qualified as an Emergency Medical Practitioner. I even invented a suction device for ambulances, although never made that happen. Since then I’ve been cast in loads of medical dramas like General Hospital, Holby City, and Doctors, and yet never as a medic! I guess I didn’t quite make the impact I would have liked medically, but at least, through Starlight I guess I’ve been able to make a little difference. Starlight brightens the lives of over half a million children every year and with the kind donations of our loyal supporters I hope we can continue to increase the amount of wishes and grow our hospital entertainment programme so that we can bring smiles to many more children. In fact, any smile for a frightened, sick child is worth any amount of effort. It’s the least we can do.

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