The year’s biggest achievements in the Welsh life sciences sector have been celebrated at the MediWales Innovation Awards.
Guests from industry, the NHS, government and academia gathered for the black tie event which was held at Cardiff’s National Museum of Wales and delivered with support from BioWales, the Welsh Government’s Healthcare Technology, Strategy & Innovation Team and Health & Care Research Wales.
Winners in the industry award categories were:
Innovation – AlgiPharma, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing novel therapeutics and transforming the lives of patients with chronic disease. By extracting molecules from seaweed, the company has identified an application in the treatment of respiratory disease and chronic infections.
Outstanding Achievement – Creo Medical, a medical device company focused on surgical endoscopy and minimally invasive surgery. Delivering life-changing outcomes, saving hours in surgery and reducing hospital stays, the company has secured worldwide use for its innovative Speedboat device and aims for a commercial launch in 2019.
Partnership with the NHS – SymlConnect, a healthcare informatics company with expertise in creating interactive, intelligent software solutions. Working with midwives at Powys Teaching Health Board and NHS Wales Informatics Service, the company has developed the Electronic Community Pregnancy Health Record as a digital alternative to the paper record currently used.
Start-up – QR Info Pod, which produces patient information hubs linking patients to health information through encrypted QR codes. Replacing the need for a confusing array of information posters in local GP practices, the hubs allow patients to scan codes and access a wealth of information from their devices.
Export – CellPath, a long-established family business specialising in the manufacture and worldwide supply of consumables, equipment and services to aid hospitals in cancer diagnostics. Through the opening of a new international distribution centre and the implementation of an aggressive export strategy, export turnover has increased by 37 per cent.
Industry Judges’ Award – Technovent, a supplier of maxillofacial prosthetic materials. By targeting emerging markets, exporting worldwide and providing training to international participants both in Wales and abroad, the company has increased sales and boosted worldwide knowledge of patient rehabilitation.
Winners in the NHS award categories were:
Innovation in the NHS – Debbie Thomas, IBS Dietitian from Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, who has developed the low FODMAP diet. This new diet improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in over 75 per cent of sufferers.
NHS Collaboration with Industry – Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Team, who have developed the Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation (VIPAR) service to connect standard lung rehabilitation services to local village halls and community independent living centres via video conferencing. They worked in partnership with Comcen and Polycom to deliver the technical needs for the system.
Efficiency Through Technology – High Impact – Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, which has implemented an innovative solution to provide medicines to a mobile workforce that is governed, secure and reliable. The Omnicell automated medicine cabinets improve the management and traceability of medicines and use biometric fingerprint technology.
Research Excellence in NHS Wales – Hywel Dda University Health Board, where a team has developed the LungCAST study to look at the immediate and long-term impact of continued smoking and quitting on patients with lung cancer.
NHS Judges’ Award – A PhD study undertaken by Rosie Roberts at Velindre Cancer Centre, in collaboration with the University of South Wales, which explored potential risk factors for the development of arm problems in patients receiving intravenous chemotherapy for breast cancer.