Based in Liverpool city region, Inovus Medical supplies simulators for medical and surgical training and has secured new investment of £5.6m to expand its overseas presence. Tony McDonough reports
A Liverpool city region surgical training simulator developer has secured £5.6m of new investment as it looks to grow its business overseas.
Based in St Helens, Inovus Medical designs and manufactures simulators used to train medics. It was set up in 2012 by Dr Elliot Street and Jordan Van Flute. Employing around 30 people, it supplies a number of NHS trusts and exports to more than 70 countries worldwide.
On Tuesday it announced it had completed a £5.6m fundraising round. The bulk of this – just under £5m – is coming from Norgine Ventures, an investor backed by private, European healthcare company Norgine that offers debt funding to innovative healthcare firms.
This new investment follows the successful launch of the company’s laparoscopic simulation platform, LapAR. Since its launch during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, LapAR has become the platform of choice for laparoscopic skills training across the UK. Laparoscopic surgery is often referred to as keyhole surgery. It allows surgeons access to the abdomen or pelvis for diagnosis or treatment without having to make large incisions.
LapAR uses augmented reality that enables ‘hybrid, headset free’ surgical simulation. The technology also utilises computer vision and machine learning algorithms combined with a cloud-based digital training platform.
Earlier this year, Inovus announced that the novel technology used in LapAR has also been applied to its new high fidelity hysteroscopy simulator, HystAR. Hysteroscopy is where a doctor will examine the inside of a woman’s uterus.
Inovus will use the new cash injection to expand its direct commercial presence in key international markets, strengthen its global customer support capacity and significantly increase the capacity of its in-house development teams.
The business deploys a novel approach to delivery of surgical training by combining soft tissue phantoms with digital platforms. This allows surgeons to train using real surgical instruments, generating ‘natural haptics’ (feel) within a highly immersive environment.
The investment will allow the company to accelerate the commercialisation of a suite of surgical training technologies that utilise this unique approach, adding to its existing portfolio of laparoscopic and hysteroscopy simulators.
Dr Elliot Street, co-founder and chief executive of Inovus Medical, said: “In addition to the acceleration of our scale-up activities that this funding brings, we are lucky to have the backing of Norgine Ventures and all the market insights and expertise such a partner adds.
“At every interaction with the Norgine Ventures team it has been clear they understand and support our vision for driving a paradigm shift in the way we train surgeons to improve surgical care, it promises to be an exciting partnership ahead.”
The investment from Norgine Ventures follows an initial $(US)1m financing from Mercia Asset Management and high net worth investors in late 2018. All original investors remain with Inovus following receipt of this new financing.