Manchester is the winner of Innovation award for wearable medical

A wearable medical device that monitors kidney function and could reduce the time spent by transplant patients in hospital has won a prestigious innovation award.

IF Sensing has claimed the Merseyside Innovation Award (MIA) for April 2017. The company was founded in 2012 as a spin-out from Central Manchester University Teaching Hospital Trust and University of Manchester by Professor Paul Brenchley and nephrologist Dr Sandip Mitra, who brought in biosensor expert professor Tony Turner.

With development led by former pharmaceutical researcher Andrew Roberts, IF Sensing is currently working to refine the diagnostic technology which is believed to be a world first for home-testing kidney function. Using novel painless and bloodless extraction techniques, the device tests the clear fluid under the epidermis of the skin, instead of using needles to access blood.

It was created in response to clinical demand and market research conducted by IF Sensing, which found that a kidney-transplant patient spends many hours in hospital waiting for and having vital post-operative check-ups. It is hoped that the new device could reduce both time pressures affecting patients and cost implications for the NHS.

Andrew Roberts, development manager at IF Sensing, said: “There are more than 350,000 kidney-transplant patients in the developed world and millions of individuals at risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). In the UK alone, there are an estimated 1 million people believed to have undetected CKD, so this device has the potential to positively affect millions of people.”

He added that in addition to kidney disease, the technology can also be used to test for chronic diseases like liver disorders and acute diseases such as serious infections. It could also be implemented in settings such as health checks, sports performance monitoring, GP surgery screening and military personnel health monitoring.

Anne Donnelly, business development manager of MIA sponsor the University of Liverpool, said: “The diagnostic potential of this innovative device is incredible and has the potential to benefit kidney-transplant patients all over the world. It is a cost-effective solution that will give patients greater control of their own health and recovery.

“With development and manufacturing to be based in Merseyside, the economic benefits could also be significant and establish the North West as a player in the medical device arena.”

In July, three finalists from this year’s MIA monthly winners will each present to a panel of judges on their innovative product or service at the awards final, in the hope of scooping the Merseyside Innovation Award 2017 and the £10,000 cash prize.

It will also be only the second year that the MIA presents its Prestige Award. This award category is open to businesses with a turnover of £1m to £25m that are continuing to innovate on Merseyside, creating jobs and investment on a larger scale.

MIA is driven by a group of locally-based sponsor organisations comprising Mitchell Charlesworth, Unilever, Trustech, Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce, Dewinter, Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, NatWest, Insider Media, the University of Liverpool, Village Software, WP Thompson, the North West Fund, O’Connors and BBC Radio Merseyside. These sponsors offer practical support to the entrants.

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