Surgeon turned award-winning entrepreneur hails Metro Mayor’s commitment to supporting innovation.
Based in St Helens, Inovus Medical was established in 2012 by surgeon Dr Elliot Street, and engineer Jordan Van Flute, who together built a prototype surgery simulator. In contrast to most existing solutions, their first product provided affordability, accessibility and portability.
With the help of the Innovation Agency, the med tech company went on to win major funding to develop and market low-cost keyhole surgical simulators, based on their original model, which is now used by nearly 100 hospitals in the NHS. The company has also received funding from the Combined Authority’s Future Innovation Fund to enable expansion into North America.
Their training equipment is now used in 72 countries.
The provision of affordable and accessible medical simulation products creates wider opportunities for simulation-based training and learning throughout the NHS. Simulation training in the development of clinical skills allows learners to better understand clinical situations and reduces risk to patients. Learners are able to practice skills and role-play different scenarios, providing valuable preparation for real-life situations.
Usually, training in laparoscopic surgery is based on using high-cost surgical simulation devices which are hard for medical staff to access. Existing medical simulators can typically cost up to £100,000 and are often only available to trainees through universities or hospital clinical skills labs. This represents both a significant cost to the NHS and a barrier to wider medical simulation training for learners.
Inovus now employs nearly 30 people, including founders Jordan Van Flute and Dr Elliot Street, and has won a number of awards. The company’s business model includes a focus on recruiting local people into entry-level roles and providing the necessary training to progress into more senior roles. This has included award apprentices who have moved into senior product engineering roles and graduate product designers who now manage global product development projects with some of Inovus’ key customers.
Dr Elliot Street said:
“I know from my experience as a clinician with an innovative idea just how important early stage support is in turning that idea into a commercially viable reality. The Innovation Agency has opened doors to funding, supported our funding bids and helped spread the word on the innovative work we are doing at Inovus.
“LCR Ventures represents both a new source of funding for health and life sciences start-ups and a commitment to innovation from the Metro Mayor and the Combined Authority. This is an exciting development and should help with the commercialisation of our city region’s undoubted strengths in innovation.”