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The People’s Choice Award winners

A ground-breaking invention which clears smoke created during keyhole surgery has won the inaugural ‘People’s Choice’ Award at this year’s Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Awards.

The win makes up a hat trick of honours for UltravisionTM in 2014, including the Royal College of Surgeons Cutlers’ Surgical Prize and a Business Impact (Aspiring) award from PraxisUnico – a UK network that drives the commercialisation of academic and public sector research.

Edwina Hart AM, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, presented the People’s Choice Award to Dr Neil Warren, Chief Technology Officer at Asalus Medical Instruments – the spin-out company behind Ultravision.

Dr Warren said: "We are delighted Ultravision has been recognised as an excellent example of collaborative commercialisation. The University instantly recognised the potential value of Ultravision and provided translational funding to create prototypes. The commercialisation team then secured funding to create a spinout Company. Four years later we have a launched product and are attracting distribution partners worldwide."

The product, conceived by Dr Warren, also picked up the University’s New Ventures Award. The device is based around ‘electrostatic precipitation’, technology used in industrial applications to remove airborne particles from waste gases. It silently and unobtrusively clears the visual field of surgical smoke and prevents its release in to the operating theatre during laparoscopic (or keyhole) surgery.

Dominic Griffiths, Managing Director of Asalus, said: "We are honoured that UltravisionTM has won the New Ventures Award at a time when we’re bringing Ultravision TM to market. The overwhelming interest we are receiving from the surgical community and global distributors makes it all worthwhile. There are around six million laparoscopic procedures performed each year globally. Smoke is an issue in the vast majority of these procedures and so we are confident that we have developed a totally unique product in a huge market."

The People’s Choice Award was presented to Dr Neil Warren, Dr Dominic Griffiths and Dr Peter Bannister (Asalus) by Edwina Hart AM, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport; the New Ventures Award was presented by Geldards Law Firm – Ceri Delemore, Partner.

The Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Awards – sponsored by Geldards Law Firm and IP Group Plc – also celebrated four other winners.