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Tie-up links growth firms with NHS experts

Neil Gray with robot at Bioliberty’s Edinburgh lab (pic: Terry Murden)

Companies developing new drugs and medical devices will be able to trial them in clinical settings following a link-up between the Scottish Government’s innovative techscaler programme and the NHS.

The Scottish Government has today confirmed that selected firms will get access to NHS Test Beds.

The programme, first reported by Daily Business last month in an interview with chief entrepreneur Mark Logan, enables entrepreneurs to work alongside experts and patients.

Firms already using the NHS Test Beds will automatically become part of the techscaler network of incubators which were among Mr Logan’s recommendations to government.

He said: “By making this connection between health testing and business support, we create an environment for innovation which enables Scottish companies to compete effectively, whilst bringing much-needed treatment solutions to the NHS.”

Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray announced the new programme during a visit to Bioliberty at the National Robotarium on the Heriot-Watt university campus. Bioliberty creates robotic gloves and other devices to provide rehabilitation and assistance for stroke survivors.

National Robotarium at Heriot-Watt (pic: Terry Murden)

It has created a ‘home’ within its labs where families can live for a short period alongside robots to trial the technology.

The company will be one of 14 firms from sectors including healthtech and life sciences to join a Scottish Government-funded visit to New York to showcase their work next week.

Mr Gray said: “Scotland’s life sciences sector has an annual turnover of more than £8 billion and is one of our key sectors for transformative economic growth.

“This partnership will be able to leverage our world-leading universities, life sciences hubs and excellent healthcare systems to support the growth of the sector and development of entrepreneurs.

Neil Gray: life sciences is a key sector (pic: Terry Murden

“Testing products in a real world environment and accelerating development is vital, and will enable a broader reach of the techscaler programme.

“This in turn will benefit patients and medical staff as they develop cutting-edge technology for use across the NHS, from stroke and rehabilitation through to reducing drug-related deaths.

“It is a further example of the steps we are taking as we develop a sustainable, high-skilled economy that works for everyone.”

Chief Scientist (Health) Anna Dominiczak said: “I welcome this collaboration, which will result in transformative innovations for the NHS and help to ensure that Scotland is the best location for life sciences companies.”

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