SBRI Healthcare has unveiled six UK companies in line for an award of up to £1 million each to help advance their products addressing a range of healthcare challenges.

The NHS England funded initiative, championed by the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN), is designed to encourage and accelerate the development of innovative products targeting unmet health needs.

From 14 companies awarded Phase I funding in May last year, six offering best value and greatest technical feasibility have now been selected for a second round of funding, which will underpin prototype development and product testing across diverse areas such as brain injury, mental health and outpatient services.

GSPK Design is developing EMGage, a wireless patient and control unit allowing small muscle movements to control ancillary assistive technology equipment. For brain injury patients with limited capability of movement, EMGage is being developed to help with communication and give a greater level of independence and a greater quality of life.

Obex Technologies is developing an integrated rehabilitation platform for long-term management, tracking and support of patients with brain injury. This project takes an existing, proven hospital-based and registry platform and extends its applicability into community-based healthcare including capturing quality-of-life information directly from the patient.

Advanced Digital Innovations is developing the child and adolescent mental health Open Outreach Platform (CO-OP) to provide children, young people and their families with a set of integrated, evidence-based digital resources to support their mental health and wellbeing. 

CaDScan is working on a low-cost, on-demand system to manufacture effective insoles to reduce the risk of people with diabetes developing foot ulcers, Medical Imaging Gold Standard Phantoms is developing a new device that will allow MRI scanners to provide images representing real numbers, for example, the amount of blood flowing through the brain, and Message Dynamics is developing an Outpatient Monitor which uses a patient's own phone to remotely monitor recovery and wellbeing. 

Any successful projects reaching the third phase of the competition could bank up to a further £1 million over a 12-month period to help accelerate product adoption, providing the opportunity for validation in NHS settings. 

"It's great to see so many innovations that show sufficient promise to warrant second stage funding," said Richard Stubbs, commercial director of Yorkshire and Humber AHSN and management board member of SBRI Healthcare. "The products being developed are going to make care better for patients in really critical areas such as brain injury and children's mental healthcare.”