The new Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC) had its grand opening on 17/01/2018. The event, held at the Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM), featured a tour of the facilities, and speeches by the Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, Chair of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) and Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor.
The Centre, the first of its kind in Britain, will accelerate the development of medical innovations and devices for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area. Its establishment is supported by £3.5million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Roger Mendonca, Director, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), said:
“The Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre is another important addition to Greater Birmingham and Solihull’s capacity to accelerate the rate at which medical and healthcare innovations reach patients.
This new facility further strengthens the city region’s attractiveness to global life sciences investors and the supportive environment in which companies in this sector can start up and grow.”
The Centre will be housed on the third floor of the ITM, based on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) site. Facilities at MD-TEC include purpose-built replicas of key clinical areas, key med tech materials, and the expertise and support of leading medical technology professionals.
MD-TEC will be led by Dr Tom Clutton-Brock, Clinical Director of the NIHR Trauma Management Healthcare Technology Co-operative and Deputy Director of the ITM, with a particular focus on medical device usability and safety testing. Biomaterials development will be led by Professor Liam Grover, Professor in Biomaterials Science at the University of Birmingham’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. MD-TEC will help bring medical devices to market at reduced costs and timescales for SMEs, which will also benefit the NHS.
The collaboration between UHB, academia and SMEs is indicative of the growing reputation the West Midlands has for medical device development. Dr Clutton-Brock said:
“The new Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC) promises to be a game changer, in terms of ensuring medical devices are fit for purpose and successfully reach market faster. Evidence suggests that the majority of device-related adverse incidents are user related, so it is crucial that usability testing is included in a device’s technical file.
Many devices undergo significant re-design after introduction into clinical practice, which is very costly to the life sciences industry. The MD-TEC will provide a dedicated test facility for med tech companies to test the usability of their technology in a realistic environment, using real clinical staff without placing patients at risk.”
The ITM was delivered through Birmingham Health Partners, an alliance between UHB, the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
Led by UHB, key delivery partners for MD-TEC are the University of Birmingham and Aston University, with Birmingham City University, Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust and the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network as supporting partners.