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University spin-outs get major boost

14 December 2011

Fusion logo - web

Fusion IP, the University’s business management and investment partner has announced a number of key developments significantly boosting the prospects of Cardiff spin-outs.

The IP commercialisation company which turns world class research into business has conditionally raised more than £5M through a share placing, allowing the company to continue investing in early stage technology companies. These include ultrasound simulation business Medaphor, medical device innovators, Asalus Medical Instruments, and RF test and measurement technology company Mesuro – all of which have spun-out of Cardiff University research.

In the same week, Fusion IP and University spin-out Medaphor, which specialises in the development and sale of advanced virtual ultrasound training systems for the healthcare service, announced that the University of Washington Medical Centre in Seattle is the first US hospital to install its revolutionary Scantrainer ultrasound simulation system. A further announcement was made that Medaphor had sold its first system into Europe, with its sale of a ScanTrainer into Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen.

ScanTrainer is a virtual ‘real feel’ ultrasound training simulator which provides students with a 24/7 educationally driven training programme that replicates the real scan experience. Trainees can literally ‘feel’ what they see on the computer screen in order to develop the complex mix of cognitive skills and eye-hand movement coordination; but without the need for an ultrasound machine or a patient and with considerably reduced direct supervision by an expert.

The University of Washington Medical Centre is one of North America’s leading hospitals. The system has been installed in their Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies (ISIS).

Rigshospitalet is one of Scandinavia’s leading hospitals and the system has been installed in their Obstetrics and Gynaecology department as an advanced simulation-based training aid for the teaching of obstetrics and gynaecology skills to sonographers, OBGYN trainees and specialists.

Medaphor - webMr Nazar Amso, School of Medicine; Prof Nick Avis, School of Computer Science; and Mr Stuart Gall, Fusion IP.

Professor Nazar Amso, Clinical Senior Lecturer in the School of Medicine and Founder and Non-executive Chairman of MedaPhor, said: "It's gratifying to see that MedaPhor has been able to transform, in a relatively short time, virtual ultrasound simulation for training from a concept into state-of-the -art ScanTrainer, that is recognised world-wide. We're grateful for the support we have received from Cardiff University and our Principal investors Fusion IP and Finance Wales."

David Baynes, CEO of Fusion IP, said: "This is excellent news for MedaPhor. Following on so quickly from their first US sale, the installation in Copenhagen demonstrates the potential for MedaPhor to grow sales of its revolutionary ultrasound training simulator in both the US and Europe."

Also announced was the appointment of Dr Godfrey Ainsworth as non-executive Chairman of Mesuro, the University’s spin-out which sells RF testing equipment and device measurement services to the semiconductor industry.

Dr Ainsworth, a Chartered Accountant and corporate financier, has more than 20 years experience in the compound semiconductor industry with the AIM-listed compound semiconductor manufacturer, IQE plc, where he is currently non-executive Chairman. He is also a Board Member of the Cardiff Partnership Fund (the seed venture fund which was awarded to Cardiff University in 2000) and Cardiff Business School International Advisory Board.

Dr Ainsworth said: "Mesuro is an exceptional company, with world beating technology addressing the immediate needs of device manufacturers to obtain the very highest performance from their designs, maximising their efficiency, reducing power consumption and accelerating time to market. I am delighted to be taking on the Chairmanship at a time when the company is building an impressive sales pipeline with leading global players in the semiconductor industry. With sales already made or confirmed to the US, Europe and Japan it is clear that we will need to look for strategic partners to leverage Mesuro’s potential. I look forward to building on the relationships with our existing partners and to forging new opportunities for collaborative international partnerships."

Richard Emsley, CEO of Mesuro, added: "Mesuro has had a transformational year and has secured significant sales, released a number of new products, including our VNA-based active load pull system, has a strong order book and a healthy pipeline of sales for 2012. It is a testament to the quality of Mesuro’s business, position and prospects that we have been able to attract someone with Godfrey's financial, international and sector experience to head up the Board and I am looking forward to working closely with Godfrey to further expand Mesuro’s business."

The University signed a 10-year year agreement with Fusion IP for the exclusive right to commercialise all of the University-owned intellectual property, through the creation of spin-out companies.

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