The boss of a fast-growing medical technology firm believes that Leeds must establish its own science park to ensure the brightest business and academic talent stays in Yorkshire.
Steve Parker, the chief executive of Leeds University spin-out Creavo Medical Technologies, has helped his company secure £13.4m in equity funding to develop technology that could save the lives of thousands of people with heart conditions.
However, Mr Parker told The Yorkshire Post that the lack of a science park in Leeds is one of the reasons the company’s operations are based in Coventry.
Mr Parker emphasised that Creavo still carries out “fundamental” research in Leeds and the company’s first patient studies are taking place at Leeds General Infirmary. But he felt very strongly that Leeds should have its own science park to ensure spin-outs stay in the region.
Mr Parker described his role with Creavo as “once in a lifetime opportunity to work with a company that can make a real difference.”
The latest funding round was oversubscribed and “exceeded Creavo’s funding target, reflecting strong investor support and endorsement of Creavo’s strategy and team”, the company said.
Led by IP Group plc, and working with investors from Coutts Private Bank, the round was supported by existing shareholders including the University of Leeds, and new, private and institutional investors from Europe, the US and China. The investors included the Chinese venture capital firm, Puhua Capital.
Creavo is a privately held medical device company that has developed a diagnostic technology, using magnetocardiography (MCG) to measure, display and store electromagnetic fluctuations caused by heart activity.
The technology can save time and money by helping physicians to quickly rule out serious heart-related problems at the point of admission to emergency departments.
“Financially, the device has the potential to save the UK healthcare system alone £200 million a year,’’ Creavo said in a statement.
Creavo’s core technology has a range of potential applications outside of emergency detection and diagnosis.
It could play a major role in helping to understand and predict the arrhythmias that can result in sudden cardiac death, as well as helping to diagnose conditions in other organs.
Robert Barr, the chairman of Creavo Medical Technologies, said: “The funding will be used to continue growing the Creavo business and move towards a full commercial launch in Europe.
“We will conclude our clinical study in the UK, build our US operation and associated clinical study and conduct further research to expand the use of our technology into other applications. It will also enable us to develop a fully commercial device encompassing all of the learnings from the initial clinical studies.”
Mr Parker said the company hoped to launch in the European market in the fourth quarter of 2018, and in the US six months later.
It currently has 24 staff, and hopes to have grown to 54 employees by the time of launch, Mr Parker said.