West Midlands Health Tech Innovation Accelerator launched to support regional innovators

Multiple organisations from across the region unite to drive new healthcare technologies towards commercialisation.

May 23, 2024

This article was originally published on the University of Birmingham website.

Called the West Midlands Health Tech Innovation Accelerator (WMHTIA), the project has received £16 million in funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Innovation Accelerator which is part of an Department for Science, Innovation & Technology and Innovate UK funded programme.

The project 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.

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.

Project lead, Professor Liam Grover, of the University of Birmingham’s Healthcare Technologies Institute, said: “Commercialising new healthcare and medical technologies can be fraught with regulatory hurdles and big funding gaps. Our approach will help companies make sure they are taking the right steps, addressing a clearly defined healthcare need and working with the right partners to achieve success in the marketplace.”

Professor Rachel O’Reilly, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Birmingham, said: “The West Midlands Health Tech Innovation Accelerator will not only generate commercial activity in the healthcare and medical technologies sector, it will supercharge a cluster of activity in the West Midlands, boosting the regional economy by attracting in excess of £80M in private investment over the next 2-3 years.”

Dr Kath Mackay, Director of Life Sciences, Bruntwood SciTech said: “We are proud to be part of the West Midlands Health Tech Innovation Accelerator, leveraging our experience to create the ideal environment for fledgling businesses to thrive.

"Our two Birmingham campuses, Innovation Birmingham and the new Birmingham Health Innovation Campus, will offer exciting startups access to specialist, world-class workspace and infrastructure, along with expert business support to access highly skilled talent, funding, new markets and product development; in short, everything they need to become investable propositions, as well as being fully plugged into our national network of life science hubs in Cambridge, Cheshire and Manchester.”

Dr Graham Hoare OBE, Chief Executive Officer, the MTC, said: “We’re excited to be a part of the West Midlands Health Tech Innovation Accelerator. Our innovative ideas and expertise will help businesses to launch and manufacture their products with ease, supporting economic growth in the Healthcare and Medical Technology sectors.”

Plug and Play, a leading innovation platform, is set to join the West Midlands Health Tech Innovation Accelerator to contribute to the growth and scaling of health technology within the programme.

Kieran Borrett, Director of Plug and Play UK, said: “We are proud to bring Plug and Play Health to the UK and be selected as one of the delivery organisations of the WMHTIA. Plug and Play have been investing, accelerating and supporting startups to scale for over 30 years; we are excited to support a new generation of world changing companies through our global healthcare ecosystem.”

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, University of Birmingham, Manufacturing Technology Centre, Medilink Midlands, Shoosmiths, Azets, Acuwomen, Smallfry, 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, West Midlands Growth Company and Health Innovation West Midlands.

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