Heriot-Watt University-based firm secures funding for advanced surgical devices

An Edinburgh-based firm that is developing advanced surgical devices has secured significant funding as it looks to expand globally.

Michelle Ward of Clear Surgical, which recently became the first client of the new multi-million-pound Medical Device Manufacturing Centre based in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh campus, with the OpLight advanced surgical device. Picture: Julie Howden

Clear Surgical recently became the first client of the new multi-million-pound Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC) based in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh campus.

The firm has now secured £280,000 of fresh investment from existing shareholders, in an oversubscribed funding round.

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Led by the investment syndicate Kelvin Capital, and with Scottish Health Innovations Ltd (SHIL) and Scottish Investment Bank participation, the funding round will support the development of new advanced surgical devices and help build on the success of the company’s first product, the OpLight, which is currently used in Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and several European countries.

The Kelvin Capital syndicate, led by directors John McNicol and Angus Hay, represents private investors in the UK, Europe and the US.

The OpLight was developed by former NHS Ayrshire and Arran clinician Dr Murali Subramaniam, a vascular surgeon who recognised the benefits of enhanced lighting during surgical procedures to remove shadowing that may come from traditional overhead lighting systems.

Next-generation products under development by the company include a disposable surgical UV light to identify and treat bacteria during an operation.

In addition, a new orthopaedic device which is the creation of Alan Johnstone, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, is being refined by Clear Surgical for optimum implant placement and corrective bone alignment surgery.

Michelle Ward, chairman of the board at Clear Surgical, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the business.

“Securing important new funding from an oversubscribed funding round and agreeing a development relationship with the new Medical Device Manufacturing Centre at Heriot-Watt University gives a clear pathway to build the business domestically and internationally.”

She added: “By working directly with frontline surgeons and turning their ideas into reality we create solutions that have real and immediate benefits. Our products are not speculative because they come directly from the very people who want them and who will use them.”

Angus Hay, director of Kelvin Capital, said: “Novel solutions to problems very often come from those who face those challenges every day and in the case of Clear Surgical and its portfolio of medical devices that is exactly true.

“The OpLight solves a major issue for surgeons, especially in countries where power supply is a problem and it is applicable and complementary to an extensive range of procedures and existing devices.

“Collaborating with front line surgeons and creating solutions to improve patient care is at the heart of this innovative business.”

Kerry Sharp, director at the Scottish Investment Bank, which forms part of Scottish Enterprise, added: “The potential for Clear Surgical’s OpLight to greatly enhance surgical conditions and patient care by simply retrofitting existing instruments really captured the imagination of theatre teams the world over.

“We’re confident our continued support for the company will lead to the development of further healthcare innovations that create similar levels of recognition and excitement among medical professionals.”

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