Health Enterprise East (HEE), a provider of business and innovation management services to the NHS and industry, has announced the sale of its portfolio company, Northwood Medical Innovations Ltd, to Allergan plc, a leading global pharmaceutical and aesthetics company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Founded in 2010 as a spin out of HEE and West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Northwood Medical Innovations has developed a pioneering implant technology, earFold, as an alternative to conventional otoplasty surgery in the correction of prominent ears.
A minimally invasive technique, the procedure takes 20 minutes under local anaesthetic as an outpatient, compared with the traditional 2 hours in general surgery. Overall patient outcomes are improved with reduced risk of keloid scaring and cartilage damage, less chance of infection, faster recovery times and improved symmetry when both ears are being corrected.
earFold received a CE mark in April 2015, and has been made available by Northwood Medical Innovation to trained and accredited surgeons, primarily in the UK. Upon closure of the deal Allergan intends to commercialize the product widely across Europe, in line with its CE mark, and will continue to explore the regulatory pathways and necessary clinical data requirements to commercialise this medical device in other countries, including the United States of America.
HEE funded the early proof of concept work including animal studies, provided ongoing IPR support and developed the company’s business plan prior to spin-out. Revenues due to HEE from the sale will be re-invested into ensuring that other pioneering innovations from staff across the NHS are identified, developed and commercialised.
Anne Blackwood, CEO of HEE, said: “We are delighted to see the first trade sale of an HEE backed company and to have supported the development and successful commercialisation of such an exciting innovation that originated from the NHS. Allergan is an excellent home for the earFold technology with its strong global presence and established range of medical aesthetics’ products. We look forward to seeing the procedure becoming widely adopted for the benefit of many more patients.”
Norbert Kang, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and creator of the earFold, said: “Following a complex outcome after a standard otoplasty procedure, early in my career, I was motivated to develop an alternative approach to correcting prominent ears. In my clinical practice, there are a significant number of patients who are reluctant to undergo surgery and so put up with accepting the social hindrance of prominent ears. The beauty of the earFold treatment system is that it offers an evidenced-based alternative to standard otoplasty surgery that may meet the needs of a wider range of patients, by delivering immediate and predictable results, without the risks associated with general anaesthetic.”
For further information on the procedure, visit www.earfold.com.