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Scottish medtech companies in healthcare innovation

Carcinotech, Waire Health and Talking Medicines are helping to grow the Scottish medtech sector. The prognosis? An £8 billion industry value by 2025 and global healthcare improvements. We’ve provided each with innovation insights, scale-up advice, overseas market guidance and a healthy dose of friendly encouragement. Learn about our work together so far.

8 June 2022 | 8 minute read

Scotland’s history in medical technology (medtech) and its reputation as a prime manufacturing location has made it a world leader in the development of tech-based health solutions.

A comprehensive supply chain, highly rated innovation centres and a robust online health records system provide invaluable data resources for research and development. Now, over 250 companies call Scotland home, and the sector employs over 9000 people.

It’s growing quickly too. The sector has grown 8% over the last decade – evidence of the ambitious, forward-thinking community.

The country also boasts one of the largest life sciences clusters in Europe, with a combined revenue estimated at £6.6 billion in 2018, forecast to grow to around £8 billion by 2025.

Supporting medical innovation

Our support has helped several Scottish medtech companies take off. From R&D stages, to dedicated innovation guidance and scale-up advice, our experts are helping medtech pioneers turn health data and technology into solutions with global reach and economic impact.

Most importantly, the companies we help have a shared goal of advancing health and medical treatment for people across the globe. Their outcomes can improve patient health and experience, reduce healthcare costs, and streamline services — all while increasing impact and ROI.

Three of the most dynamic Scottish medtech companies to emerge in recent years are Carcinotech, Waire Health and Talking Medicines.

Each different, with unique challenges and successes, they all have our organisation in common. Learn about how they’re making the world of medtech and patient well-being better, and what we’ve done to keep their businesses in good health.

Ishani Malhotra, founder and CEO, Carcinotech.

Carcinotech – 3D printed tumours

Carcinotech is a medtech pioneer in cancer research. The company makes 3D printed models using patient-specific cancer stem cells, whole biopsies and immune cells to mimic the cancer environment, opening doors to numerous research possibilities.

These models, or microenvironments, can be used for rapid, ethical, sustainable and accurate drug testing. The models can reduce animal testing in pre-clinical trials and can also be used as a personalised medicine testing tool. Printed models can test multiple drugs at once and can be made for any cancer type from human and animal cell lines.

Ishani Malhotra, founder and CEO, has worked with us since the company’s beginnings. We helped get the company off the ground in 2018, and we’re passionate about continuing our relationship in the future.

Investor guidance and intellectual property

Initially, we helped Ishani access R&D grants to validate the technology the company was developing before taking it to market. As well as start-up advice, we offered expertise on networking and investors.

Angus Robertson, Entrepreneurship, and Investment Manager at Scottish Enterprise, has worked on the strategic and operational development of the business since 2021. He describes the kinds of help we provide:

“As well as general business support, the team at Carcinotech has taken advantage of our excellent financial readiness, intellectual property and international support systems to aid the growth of the business. For me, it’s been great fun working with Ishani – her drive and enthusiasm are inspiring.”

During the challenges of recent years, we provided help accessing grants as well as additional guidance from our High Growth Ventures specialists. This team works with early-stage companies with the potential to scale up quickly and make a positive contribution to the Scottish economy.

Unlocking Ambition for peer support

Similarly, we encouraged Ishani’s involvement with the Unlocking Ambition programme, our flagship business growth and leadership project. It offers a line-up of entrepreneurial masterclasses and a much-needed community for entrepreneurs to connect and share their experiences.

Ishani describes these resources as “tremendous” because they allowed the company to keep developing. “That was crucial – it allowed us to do our research and progress”, she adds. “Scottish Enterprise has been a major part of our growth. We started making revenue more quickly than we expected because of them.”

The company has recently completed a period of fundraising to expand and hire more people. As the company advances, we’re looking forward to the next stage of our journey together.

Read more about Carcinotech Ltd on the company website opens in a new window  

Find out more information about the Unlocking Ambition entrepreneurial development programme opens in a new window  

Waire Health – wearable, medical-grade health monitor

Waire Health is a leader in producing easy-to-use yet sophisticated wearable vital signs motors.

The devices can detect the vital signs of a patient in hospitals, care settings and at home. Waire’s team also recently developed a gadget for monitoring Covid-19.

The company's global growth potential and innovative technology is supported through our Scaling Services programme, in which the company receives an account team service with intensive support in innovation, overseas market development, internal systems development and investment.

We’ve also helped the team across other areas, such as navigating tricky importing and exporting regulations, and providing practical support with branding and digital expansion.

Tailored sustainability guidance

Kathrina also highlights our work in making the company as sustainable as possible:

“We’ve been put on a Scottish Enterprise carbon savings programme. It gives us free licence to use a climate impact forecast tool which helps you evaluate any new ideas you have for sustainability. You can measure how much your carbon footprint would be reduced by taking different options.”

Account Manager Paul Crookshanks has enjoyed exploring the sustainability of Waire Health, helping the business work towards net zero.

He says: “This is such a key area in the modern business environment because we are all aware how vital it is that we do as much as we can to reduce climate-damaging emissions. But it is also a valuable tool for companies since it's a validated record which allows them to promote themselves with authority.”

Attracting green investors

Along with the obvious environmental benefits, tailored sustainability advice also allows the company to include its low carbon credentials in an investment pack for prospective clients. “It gives us validation because it comes from Scottish Enterprise,” adds Kathrina.

The team's looking forward to continuing the company’s relationship with us – the feeling is mutual. Kathrina is impressed by what we’ve achieved together so far.

“The team has helped us in the innovation stages, in looking at markets, in scaling-up and in our efforts to be more sustainable – making sure we can measure our carbon footprint as we go forward. It just keeps going – the amount of help is phenomenal.”

Visit Waire Health online to learn more opens in a new window  

Talking Medicines leadership team: Elizabeth Fairley, Founder and COO, Jo Halliday, Founder and CEO, and Scott Crae, Founder.

Talking Medicines – improving patient care through AI 

The pharmaceutical industry wants to know what patients really think of products so it can innovate, develop, and produce better treatments – that’s where Talking Medicines comes in.  

The Glasgow-based company uses AI technology to “clean up” online conversations about medicines and treatments to gain insights and feedback on what customers are saying about products.  This allows pharma companies to spot opportunities or identify barriers and put the patient voice into decision making, driving more efficient product marketing and awareness.

Finding funding and improving strategy

CEO Jo Halliday has used our help throughout the company’s development. She says: “The Scottish Enterprise team has helped us from the beginning of our journey, and we have always had a really good relationship with them.”

She explains that Graeme Clark, Account Manager at Scottish Enterprise, really helped with accessing funding in the initial stages, but adds that it went well beyond finance. “Graeme and his colleagues also did a lot of strategy work with us in our in the early days.”

Graeme has been working with Jo for five years and is proud of all they have achieved.

He says: “It has been great to see their journey and play a part in that. We have a close relationship with the company, and it is the strength of that link with the management team that has allowed practical help and advice to take good effect.

“The Unlocking Ambition programme helped Jo to develop as an entrepreneur with expert peer support and guidance. We also work with the wider team to support the next phase of the company’s scale up journey.”

Unlocking Ambition gave Talking Medicines access to a wide peer network. “It gives you a huge mentor group”, explains Jo. She adds, “I’m still part of that group, even though my cohort has now graduated."

Inspiring credibility and investment 

As an institutional investor, we have a role on the board. Jo says this gives her and her team confidence. “Having Scottish Enterprise on the board gives investors peace of mind, it inspires credibility.”

Overall, she sees us as integral to her work, now and in the future. “Scottish Enterprise will be part of our journey as we grow internationally. We’re proud to be Scottish, but the team’s also helping us reach new heights overseas.”

“Working with Scottish Enterprise gives you an added support network. The team is always looking at ways to help. They bring GlobalScots into the mix if they think there’s someone who can help us or advise on any funding that we can access. They’re definitely part of the extended team.”

Visit the Talking Medicines website for more information opens in a new window  

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