LIFE sciences experts at law firm Shoosmiths are set to participate in a major project that has been awarded a share of a new £100m government innovation fund to catalyse health and medical technologies in the West Midlands.
Called the West Midlands Health Tech Innovation Accelerator (WMHTIA), the project has received £14 million in funding from the West Midlands Combined Authorities’ Innovation Accelerator, which is part of an Innovate UK funded programme.
The project is led by the University of Birmingham and is focused on addressing the challenges of bringing new medical and healthcare technologies into the UK market. It aims to unite key players in universities, hospitals, industry and government-funded ‘Catapults’ for manufacturing innovation to help companies navigate ‘pinch-points’ in the commercialisation process. Shoosmiths is one of many delivery organisations involved in the project.
Together these approaches support the West Midlands Plan for Growth by aiming to create a cluster of commercial activity, helping drive economic growth and enhance resilience. They will also ensure that local patients will benefit first from new medical technologies targeted at reducing healthcare inequalities in the region.
Shoosmiths medtech lead, Nichola Jenkins, together with partners Andrew Brennan and Victoria Bentley will lead the Shoosmiths’ team which brings legal expertise and deep sector experience to the consortium, having worked across areas such as drug development, biotech, medtech and digital health.
The consortium also includes international outsourcing, compliance, and advisory group Azets, bringing accounting, tax, audit and business advisory expertise, with a specialist focus on SMEs and owner-managed businesses; and Acuwomen, the UK’s first all-women business consultancy founded by Dr Angela Maxwell OBE.
Shoosmiths’ head of intellectual property, Andrew Brennan, said: “It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to work on this project alongside the University of Birmingham, Azets, Acuwomen and the other key stakeholders. The Midlands already has a thriving life sciences ecosystem, which will be further bolstered by this exciting initiative. We are looking forward to supporting the region’s health and medtech businesses with their growth journey and further raising the profile of the West Midlands as a leading life sciences cluster”.
Shoosmiths’ Legal Director and medical technology specialist, Nichola Jenkins, added: “The West Midlands provides health and medtech companies with some key benefits in the development and testing of new products, in particular due to the region’s ethnic diversity and the effective collaboration of leading university research departments and major and specialist hospitals. I am excited that the collaboration and investment into WMHTIA will accelerate vital medtech developments.”
UK Head of client services at Azets, Paul Clifford, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to make a meaningful impact and I am proud to lead the Azets team alongside the University of Birmingham, Shoosmiths, and Acuwomen. The WHMTIA as the potential to transform the healthcare industry and improve the lives of millions, as well as sparking new innovation and investment in the West Midlands. As an accountancy and business advisory firm specialising in SMEs, we recognise the importance of supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, and we are committed to providing our expertise and services to help the region’s health medtech companies thrive.”
Angela Maxwell, Founder of Acuwomen, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project. Acuwomen has an outstanding record in supporting dynamic and innovative entrepreneurs to succeed. We look forward to enabling and encouraging the growth of medtech companies in the West Midlands alongside our partners, Azets and Shoosmiths. ”West Midlands Health Tech Innovation Accelerator delivery organisations include:
University of Warwick (West Midlands Health and Wellbeing Innovation Network, Warwick Manufacturing Group), Aston University, Birmingham City University, Manufacturing Technology Centre, Medilink Midlands, Shoosmiths, Azets, Acuwomen, , The Technology Supply Chain, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham Health Partners, Bruntwood SciTech, Precision Health Technologies Accelerator, Cogniss, Element Materials Technology, Plug and Play and the West Midlands Growth Company.
For more information visit the WMHTIA website via www.wmhtia.com.
Find out more about Shoosmiths’ Life Sciences team and capabilities, here.