Representatives discuss Scottish device, diagnostic biz

FierceMedicalDevices recently caught up with representatives from the Scottish Enterprise at BIO 2011. And while there was much to discuss on the biotech side, the Scottish representatives also offered a glimpse into what's going on in the device and diagnostic sector.

Dr. Mike Capaldi, director of Edinburgh BioQuarter, briefly mentioned a few of the technologies under investigation, including a brain cooling helmet. It operates by preventing further damage to the brain after an accident or stroke by cooling the brain. Research has shown that brain cooling may help traumatic brain injury patients and stroke victims, and several companies and scientists worldwide are looking to advance this technology.

Capaldi also discussed i2eye Diagnostics, a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Bioquarter that is developing eye-care tools, particularly for young children and those with physical or mental disabilities that make it difficult for them to interact with medical equipment. Its first product is non-contact visual field analyser that will be launched in Europe and the U.S. in 2012, according to the company's website.

He also discussed an acetaminophen overdose diagnostic that can be used to detect liver failure. He explained that liver failure can't always be predicted when someone who has overdosed comes to the hospital. They may be sent home and then die the next day if not treated properly. This diagnostic aims to prevent that from occurring.

One of the companies in attendance was Ocutec, which was represented by Jim Reid. The company, formed in 2001, is looking to exploit the potential of polyethylene glycol-based materials in biomedical applications and has selected contact lenses as its lead program. Reid pointed out that the production process for the lenses would reduce costs significantly, allowing contacts to become more accessable in such markets as China, India and Latin America, where they are not widely used. The first lens received the CE mark in the fall of 2009.

The company currently has 15 people and is growing, Reid told FMD, adding that getting a major partner would be a plus.