SBRI Healthcare awards £4 million to support older people with complex health needs


Five exciting innovations have received the financial backing of NHS England in a competition seeking solutions for positive aging.

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SBRI Healthcare, an NHS England funded initiative to develop innovative products that address unmet health needs, has announced five companies that have successfully reached the next phase (Phase 2) of the clinically-led competition. Improved management of continence, monitoring and support in the home, and a dynamic new powered wheel chair have been selected with each successful company receiving financial backing of up to £1 million to develop products that focus on addressing the challenges faced by older people suffering with complex health conditions. 

People are living longer than ever before with the number of people in the UK aged 60 or over expected to pass the 20 million mark by 2031 and those over 75, to double in the next 30 years. As people age they are more likely to live with complex long term health conditions, disability and frailty.

The five companies selected by SBRI Healthcare for the second tranche of investment were drawn from a shortlist of 11 companies that received six months development funding (Phase 1) in December 2015. The successful companies demonstrated best value and greatest technical feasibility to a panel of experts looking for game-changing technologies with the highest potential value to patients and the health service. The companies will be supported and fully funded to continue with prototype development and product testing.

With awards of up to £1 million each, the successful companies (and supporting Academic Health Science Networks) are:

  • Incontinence: Lucid Group Ltd (Greater Manchester AHSN) and JVS Products Ltd (Wessex AHSN)
  • Functional Ability: Ally Labs Ltd (Imperial College AHSN), Inclusiviti Ltd (Imperial College AHSN) and 11 Health & Technologies Ltd (Oxford AHSN)

SBRI Healthcare is run by England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs).

Steve Feast, Managing Director at Eastern AHSN, commented: “It is abundantly clear that technology isn't something for just the young to embrace - it is instead transforming how those of all ages lead their lives. Older frail people want to be supported to remain independent and where possible be cared for in their own homes. SBRI Healthcare has identified technological solutions which will meet the needs of people who will benefit from it the most. This will transform the lives of older frail people.”

Alistair Williamson, Managing Director, Lucid Group said: “SBRI Healthcare has been essential in the development of An-i-sys, our diagnostic device for the causes of faecal incontinence. The programme is resourcing thorough research into patient and clinician needs, development and testing our product.  The resulting credibility has helped Lucid leverage essential validation from senior stakeholders in the NHS, continence specialists and clinical physiologists.

“We have been able to better resource our team, attract other investment and generate interest from potential customers. Phase 2 project funding is providing the opportunity to significantly improve healthcare outcomes for people, by reducing the impact of frailty, with real cost benefits to the NHS.”

In the last year, SBRI Healthcare has launched 11 new clinically-led competitions and awarded £19.5 million to 67 companies to develop products focused on specific NHS unmet need. The programme has seen an economic impact of £33 million through job creation and £45 million of additional private sector investment as well as offering the £1 billion savings opportunity for the NHS.

The opening of the autumn SBRI Healthcare competition has recently been announced with entrepreneurs invited to apply for up to £1.1 million investment to develop and commercialise innovations with a focus on building general practice of the future. The deadline for applications is 24 November 2016 with briefing events taking place in Cambridge on 25 October and Bristol on 27 October 2016.

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About the winners

Lucid Group Ltd: Developing a unique 3-in-1 diagnostic device for intuitive, fast and economic measurement of bio-physiological markers (pressure, sensation and muscle contractility) via Electromyography (EMG). This will enable a more precise diagnosis in primary care of the functional deficits in faecal incontinence.

JVS Products Ltd: Investigating the anti-microbial activity of a novel biocide and assessing its acceptability as a one-step cleaning treatment for intermittent catheters (IC). This development will lead to an easy to use, evidence-based alternative to single use IC in the UK and provide a scientifically robust cleaning solution for implementation globally.

Ally Labs Ltd: Developing an in-home early warning system for detecting increased frailty in elderly individuals. The product consists of a hub and peripheral attached to a person’s keys. These two products work together to track daily living patterns - identifying unusual changes in routing and alerting carers to immediate and potential health concerns via a mobile app.

Inclusiviti Ltd: The Inclusiviti wheelchair delivers improvements through intuitively controlled Mecanum wheels achieving omnidirectional movement. This allows unrivalled manoeuvrability - crabbing and diagonal movement in a compact footprint.

11Health&Technologies Ltd: Ostom-i Alert is a sensor that clips onto any ostomy bag and sends Bluetooth alerts to an app on a patient's mobile device telling them when their bag is filling. This device allows patients to set personalised alerts and also captures useful information on volume of output which can be emailed to patient and clinicians.


About SBRI Healthcare

The Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare) is an NHS England initiative, led by the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), whose role is to promote UK economic growth by spreading innovation and best practice across the NHS. Winners receive fully funded development contracts between the awarded company and NHS England to meet known healthcare need.

Generally taking a three-phased development approach, projects start with a 6 month feasibility phase and can then move on to more detailed product development. Phase 1 contracts for feasibility testing are valued at up to £100,000 and last for six months. Phase 2 contracts for prototype development are worth up to £1 million over one year. Phase 3 contracts are intended to accelerate product adoption, with up to a further £1 million over 12 months, providing the opportunity for validation in NHS settings. While the public sector has the right to license the resultant technology, its intellectual property (IP) remains with the company, thereby enabling successful businesses to grow.

Funding for SBRI Healthcare has been secured from NHS England. The programme is directed by the Eastern Academic Health Science Network (EAHSN) on behalf of NHS England and the other regional AHSNs. Health Enterprise East is the management partner and supports the EAHSN to handle the applications, assessments and delivery against contracts.

About Academic Health Science Networks

There are 15 AHSNs across England. They connect academics, NHS, researchers and industry to accelerate the process of innovation and facilitate the adoption and spread of innovative ideas and technologies across large populations. They are driven by two imperatives: improving health and generating economic growth in their regions. SBRI Healthcare competitions are designed, supported and promoted in partnership with the AHSNs

About Health Enterprise East and Competition details

Health Enterprise East (HEE) is committed to improving healthcare through the provision of professional business and innovation management services. The HEE team works with NHS organisations nationally and Med Tech companies globally to support the development of innovative products and services which meet currently unmet healthcare needs.

Having pioneered and successfully run the initiative for the East of England since its launch in 2009, HEE now oversees the national SBRI Healthcare programme bringing together businesses, the healthcare industry and the NHS. Information on future competitions can be found on the SBRI Healthcare and the Health Enterprise East websites.



Media contact
Sarah Jeffery
Zyme Communications
Phone: +44 (0) 7771 730919


SBRI Healthcare
Danielle Luciano
Eastern AHSN
Phone: +44 (0) 1223 661490



Eastern AHSN (Academic Health Science Network) turn ideas into health impact by bringing together all partners in the health sector to develop and deliver innovative care.

Eastern AHSN