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SHIL spin-out secures £280,000 to develop portfolio of surgical device technology

SHIL spin-out secures £280,000 to develop portfolio of surgical device technology image

Clear Surgical secures £280,000 to develop their portfolio of surgical device technology and to scale its groundbreaking OpLight™ technology, making it the first client of the new Medical Device Manufacturing Centre at Heriot-Watt University

Clear Surgical, an ambitious Scottish-based medical device business spun out from NHS Scotland, has secured £280,000 of new investment from existing shareholders, in an oversubscribed funding round.

Led by the investment syndicate Kelvin Capital, and with Scottish Health Innovations Ltd (SHIL) and Scottish Investment Bank participation, the funding round will support the development of new advanced surgical devices and help build on the success of its first product, the OpLight™ which is currently used in Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and in European countries including Italy, Czech Republic and the Nordic countries.

The Kelvin Capital syndicate, led by directors John McNicol and Angus Hay, represents private investors in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Clear Surgical works collaboratively with surgeons to develop innovations that arise from issues highlighted by healthcare professionals. The OpLight™ was developed originally by former NHS Ayrshire and Arran clinician Dr Murali Subramaniam, a vascular surgeon who recognised the benefits of enhanced lighting during surgical procedures to remove shadowing that may come from traditional overhead lighting systems, headlamps or fibre optic systems.

The integral patented light guide designed into each OpLight™ disposable cartridge maximises and directs light into the cavity eliminating the possibility of shadowing by being attached to existing surgical devices like surgical retractors.

Next-generation Oplight products under development include a disposable surgical UV light to identify and treat bacteria during an operation to minimise or eliminate the risk of post-operative infection and another that uses near-infrared light that can highlight and excite malignant cells to guide surgeons during their removal. 

In addition, a new orthopaedic device which is the creation of Alan Johnstone, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, is being refined by Clear Surgical for optimum implant placement and corrective bone alignment surgery.

A significant reduction of time spent in surgery, with consequent cost savings, is facilitated by the OpLight technology because studies have shown that around 20% of theatre time can be spent adjusting standard theatre overhead lighting as the procedure progresses. 

Clear Surgical recently became the first client of the new £3.7m Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC) based in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh campus. Its mission is to provide expert advice on manufacturing engineering, regulatory issues and funding, coupled with technically-supported access to manufacturing facilities, to assist small and medium-sized companies in the translation of medical device concepts through to small batch commercial prototypes.

Michelle Ward, Chairman of the Board at Clear Surgical said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the business. Securing important new funding from an oversubscribed funding round and agreeing a development relationship with the new Medical Device Manufacturing Centre at Heriot-Watt University gives a clear pathway to build the business domestically and internationally.

“By working directly with frontline surgeons and turning their ideas into reality we create solutions that have real and immediate benefits. Our products are not speculative because they come directly from the very people who want them and who will use them.”

Angus Hay, Director of Kelvin Capital said: “Novel solutions to problems very often come from those who face those challenges every day and in the case of Clear Surgical and its portfolio of medical devices that is exactly true. The OpLight solves a major issue for surgeons, especially in countries where power supply is a problem and it is applicable and complementary to an extensive range of procedures and existing devices. Collaborating with front line surgeons and creating solutions to improve patient care is at the heart of this innovative business.”

Graham Watson, Executive Chairman of SHIL added: “SHIL has been working with Clear Surgical for some time. Our strong collaboration is testament to the value of supporting NHS-led innovation. Translating innovative ideas from health professionals into real-world solutions is central to our role at SHIL - in the case of Clear Surgical a successful medical device company has been established with global reach. This new funding, combined with ambitious development plans, will support further advances in surgical innovation and ultimately improve patient care around the world.”

Kerry Sharp, Director, the Scottish Investment Bank said: “The potential for Clear Surgical’s OpLight™ to greatly enhance surgical conditions and patient care by simply retrofitting existing instruments really captured the imagination of theatre teams the world over. We’re confident our continued support for the company will lead to the development of further healthcare innovations that create similar levels of recognition and excitement among medical professionals.”

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