Current Health Ltd (formerly Snap40) completed a £9 million investment round led by MMC Ventures at the end of 2019, and the company has been nominated for "Investment of the Year" at the Life Science Awards. Christopher McCann, CEO and co-founder of Current Health left his studies in medicine to build the company in 2015. A former award winner from the Scottish Institute for Enterprise, it is fantastic to see Christopher scale the company to this level. Current Health provides an advanced remote patient monitoring platform which recommends specific interventions to physicians and nurses. 13 of the largest healthcare systems in the US and UK use Current Health to manage patient care.
Clinspec Diagnostics Limited, a recipient of the "Innovation" award at last year's Life Science Awards, has recently received a commendation at the KPMG Best British Tech Pioneer competition. Clinspec Diagnostics has developed the world's first cost-effective blood test for brain cancer, and the company's liquid biopsy for brain cancer has successfully completed its first clinical study. The company raised £1.2 million last year from a syndicate of investors including EOS and Mercia.
In February Edinburgh BioQuarter unveiled its plan for a £750 million investment to create Edinburgh's Health Innovation District. An estimated 9,000 new jobs could be created as part of the transformation of the BioQuarter site.
An Edinburgh BioQuarter based medical tech firm Calcivis Limited received its pre-market US FDA approval for its unique Calcivis Imaging System on the 5th March. Calcivis focuses on preventive dentistry by detecting tooth decay at an early stage and the company is working towards a US test launch of its product in 2021.
Current Health and Calcivis have each identified the US as a key market for their respective products. Back in 2013 I noted in a blog that Optos, Mpathy Medical and Touch Bionics (like Calcivis, all backed by Archangels) developed products in Scotland but commercialisation in the US was a significant factor in each company's success. A report published in 2018 by the Health and Sport Committee of the Scottish Parliament (Technology and innovation in health and social care) stated that the authors had been advised that "there is currently a lack of a strategic approach to technology and innovation within the NHS and social care. Issues were raised with us around the adoption and spread of new technologies, in particular medical devices." It is wonderful to see Scottish medical device companies scaling up in the US, but it would be great to see more innovative products developed in Scotland adopted by our NHS.
Business Insider reported last month that the Scottish Government had released figures showing that employment in Scotland's life science sector had increased by 20% over seven years (2010-2017). The number of life science companies in Scotland has increased by 19% in those seven years. I have noted from my own practice that new companies are emerging utilising the wealth of health data now available and innovations in artificial intelligence. Another industry which appears to be expanding is aquaculture and agritech given the drive for sustainable food.
There is a sense of optimism that Scotland's life science sector will continue to grow and provide the innovations that we need to harness health data and make diagnostics more efficient and cost effective, and I hope to hear more stories of success when I attend the Life Sciences Dinner and Awards.