Mercia Fund Management, a leading investment business in UK innovation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mercia Technologies PLC, is collaborating with the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) to help build and support healthcare start-ups across the West Midlands.
The new SME Innovation Fund is led by Mercia’s Head of Life Sciences, Peter Dines. It aims to grow spin-outs to improve healthcare services across the NHS, particularly those in line with the WMAHSN’s core strategic priorities; advanced diagnostics, genomics and precision medicine; mental health: recovery, crisis and prevention; long-term conditions; and wellness and the prevention of illness.
The WMAHSN brings together investment, energy and expertise from across the health science community. In collaborating with Mercia, it will help to provide repayable grants of up to £50,000 to at least ten new innovations each year. In so doing, the fund will support innovations that have the potential to deliver a high impact for society, grow the reputation of healthcare delivery within the West Midlands, both in the UK and abroad, and support the spread and adoption of patient-focused innovation across the region.
Mercia has a strong track record of financially supporting and building life science businesses across the UK, all of which provide a scalable and innovative way of streamlining services, improving patient safety and releasing the burden of cost on the NHS. In particular, Mercia focuses on supporting businesses within the Midlands, the North and Scotland, such as Manchester Imaging, a dental diagnostic spinout from the University of Manchester.
Commenting on the new fund and the partnership with WMAHSN, Peter Dines said: “This project has been several years in the making, and I am very pleased that we are now able to launch a fund with real potential to make a significant difference within the community.
“The NHS is constantly looking to improve patient care and deliver more for less. Given the current cost constraints, it is more important than ever that we build and fund businesses that can improve patient care in a cost effective and sustainable way.
“Mercia has already lent its support to start-ups and spin-outs across the spectrum of medical services, and we look forward to discovering further investment opportunities within the diverse healthcare sector. We have already identified a number of exciting companies in the region and we look forward to being able to support their future growth.
“We are pleased to be collaborating with the WM AHSN, which has a strong reputation for changing the way healthcare is perceived and delivered in the UK.”
Tony Davis, Commercial Director of WMAHSN, said: “We are delighted to be working with Mercia on the launch of the SME Innovation Fund. The fund is a sign of our continued commitment to SMEs in the West Midlands’ life sciences sector, helping to create wealth in the local economy through industry collaboration and attracting inward investment, as well as delivering improvements in healthcare across the region.
“The SME Investment Fund is now available to support the West Midlands’ healthcare challenges - as identified across the WMAHSN’s priorities and enabling themes – and aid the spread of innovative diagnostics, devices and services at scale and pace.”