How to buy a care home

March 8th, 2013

The Business Sale Report has written an excellent guide on how to buy a care home, which is available on their website, in response to continued interest from its clients in making such investments.

Canny business buyers are demonstrating heightened interest in the care sector, which is likely to become more lucrative in the long-term given the accurate predictions of an increasingly elderly population in the UK.

In 2012, the Business Sale Report listed about 100 care homes for sale, as well as several care businesses entering administration.

As business practices have become increasingly subjected to rigorous reviews from industry officials with tighter regulations over the past decade, more care homes have come on to the market in a shake up of the care sector.

Just recently administrators at Grant Thornton were appointed to care home operator Castlebeck to sell its 20 nursing homes and hospital assessment centres after the abuse scandal uncovered at its Winterbourne View site in 2011 rocked the business.

The demise of care home giant Southern Cross in 2011 provided plenty of opportunity for buyers with the right resources who were ready to act. While this was on a grand and dramatic scale, similar care home failures are not impossible in the future providing unique opportunities.

New hearing aid technology being tested in the UK

October 16th, 2012

New hearing aid technology is being tested in the UK at the moment, taking the form of a small device that is fitted not in the wearer’s ears but, instead, in their mouths.

The new device, known as the SoundBite, is designed for use by people who are deaf in one ear. The technology works by using the bones of the head to conduct sound through the head and to the working ear.

It is thought that one in ten adults in the UK suffer from some degree of single-sided hearing loss, with the actual number affected being far higher, as many people dismiss the problem and fail to seek help.

The device, which could go on the market for around £600, is currently being tested at University Hospital Southampton, as well as at a number of other medical institutions on Continental Europe. Ear, nose and throat specialist, Andrew McCombe, said that the aid is a very interesting and clever idea and could prove to be a crucial advancement in helping people with partial hearing loss.

“The big selling point here is likely to be convenience and avoiding surgery,” he said. “It also indicates that bone-anchored hearing aid research has come full circle – the very first bone-anchored hearing aids arose from dental implant work, following a chance discovery when a drill hit an implant and a deaf patient reported being able to hear it!”

Chemical etching firm invests in new laboratory

October 12th, 2012

A Shropshire chemical etching company has made a range of key equipment purchases to furnish its new 20,000 square foot facility.

Advanced Chemical Etching Limited (ACE) has more than doubled its square footage with the expansion, including a new laboratory, and has sourced a number of new etching machines from a specialist manufacturer in the US.

The machines are due to be delivered in early 2013 and will allow the company to also double its output potential, allowing it to accept the new business that has recently surged in for its precision components and prototyping.

The company has also appointed a new managing director, Ian Whateley, who has been charged with overseeing a planned growth in annual turnover at the company from the current £3.5 million to £6 million by 2015.

ACE’s chairman, Alan Rollason, said, “This is a very exciting time for our business and the fact we have been able to double our floor space gives us the opportunity to attack new opportunities.

“All of the infrastructure and systems have been put in place and we’re just waiting now for delivery and installation of the new etching machines. Once these are up and running we’ll be able to etch many more millions of parts per year in a diverse range of materials.

The company’s new dedicated laboratory has been tailored to have state-of-the-art measuring capabilities that will allow its scientists to work with the most exacting tolerances of materials.

Bury medical equipment firm wins major NHS contract

October 9th, 2012

A major medical equipment firm based in Bury St Edmunds has successfully bid for a lucrative contract to supply the National Health Service (NHS).

Disposable Medical Instruments (DMI), which is based in the Hillside Business Park in the town, has been awarded a three-year contract with the NHS Supply Chain. The deal will see DMI provide Supply Chain with its full range of single-use pieces of medical equipment.

The company is one of the UK’s top suppliers of sterile medical procedure packs and disposable instruments for use in hospitals and surgeries. The awarding of the contract followed an intensive tender process orchestrated by the company’s medical sales staff.

The success of the bid now means that products supplied by DMI will be available for NHS Hospitals across the country to purchase through the organisation’s supply chain process.

DMI’s managing director and founder, Patrick Chancey, told the Bury Free Press that the success of the bid came as a tremendous validation for the whole company.

He said, “The tender process is rigorous, in accordance with European law, and we feel acceptance by NHS Supply Chain is an endorsement of our products and competitive pricing.”

Norwich hygienic equipment firm makes new appointments

October 5th, 2012

A Norwich company that makes stainless steel hygiene furniture and equipment for sterile environments such as hospitals and laboratories, has taken on a number of new staff, including one in a new scientific sales job.

Teknomek has made the significant expansion in its 25th year of business and one of the appointments includes bringing in a new managing director. Change management expert, Steve Mallett, has been brought in as the company’s new MD and has been tasked with establishing a system of continuous improvement throughout the business.

He has previously held director roles working on major brands including Pirelli, Waxoyl, Ford, Honda and Mazda.

Mallett has said that he is planning to further develop the Teknomek brand through the recruitment and development of specialist personal, which could pave the way for the creation of more specialist sales jobs. He is understood to be fostering the company’s apprenticeship scheme, with plans to cultivate Teknomek’s workforce from within.

Sandra Jones has been appointed to work with the existing sales team at Teknomek to work on enhancing the company’s customer service, while Rebecca Baker has been appointed to the position of financial controller and John Clark has been taken on as marketing executive.

Report shows shift in medical device funding strategies

October 2nd, 2012

The methods of raising funding for developing medical and scientific technology have changed significantly due to the recession, according to a new report by Ernst & Young.

The report indicates that companies are reevaluating their financial structures and operations because venture capitalists – which have long been a crucial source of financing for medical technology firms – are growing increasingly tentative about the sector.

The head of Ernst & Young’s global life sciences practice, Glen Giovannetti, said that young companies are struggling to obtain financing, hindering the emerging companies and forcing the development of new financing and sales structures.

“Young companies are really struggling to get financial deals,” Giovannetti said. “There is less dry powder ready to be deployed in the coming years than in the last cycle.”

European and US medical technology firms saw $4.34 billion invested in them by venture capitalists in the 12 months to June 2012, which is up from the $4.03 billion of the year to June 2011, but far below the $5.40 billion peak seen in 2006-07.

Giovannetti said that companies are now having to prove that their work could improve health outcomes and reduce payer costs in order to obtain funding. He explained, “The net effect is there is a higher bar being placed on the kinds of deals to back with an investment.”

New laser microscope could revolutionise cancer diagnosis

September 28th, 2012

A new kind of microscope with the potential to cut cancer diagnosis times could go into commercial production.

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Daylight Solutions, which pioneered the quantum cascade laser (QCL), $420,000 to investigate how the new laser could be commercialised. Experts say that the device could mean cancer diagnosis results may be available in minutes rather than days.

The latest funding is the second phase in the research programme. The first phase has been completed and, according to, its aim was to “demonstrate that broadly tunable infrared microscope based on QCL sources and microbolometer detectors was feasible”.

Daylight Solutions will develop a commercial prototype over the next two years, in preparation for a production scale-up. The NSF has described the device as a potential ‘game changer’.

An NSF abstract states, “The QCL microscope to be built in Phase II will revolutionise infrared microscopy instrumentation.”

It adds, “Based on demonstrated performance of components in Phase I, it is estimated that the time to screen a tissue array for signs of cancer will be reduced from six days with a FTIR microscope to just three minutes with a QCL microscope.”

New app aims to make medical sales jobs easier

September 25th, 2012

Those working in the medical sales industry could find that a new app helps to make their job that bit easier.

The 3D Techniq, which has been developed by EnHatch, part of health care accelerator BluePrint Health, promises to aid medical sales reps during client pitches.

The app uses 3D simulation to allow the medical sales professional to demonstrate exactly how a medical device works during surgery. It provides easy to follow, extremely detailed, step-by-step 3D video footage, and can be quickly downloaded by the medical professional.

The app also enables surgeons and other medical professionals to interact with each other and the sales rep.

President & CEO of EnHatch, Peter Verrillo told Med City News, “It seems that the way we are engaging the surgeon goes beyond the 3D … Inside the app you can invite a clinician – nurse, physician assistant – hospital administrator.”

Perhaps the key element in terms of medical sales reps is the ability to see exactly how surgeons are interacting with the app, Verrillo added.

“Imagine that I am looking over your shoulder as you are using the app. I can see what you are zooming in, what you are scrolling through. If I understand that there is one part of the video that a surgeon is watching over and over and over, I am going to come to you the next day and say ‘Doc are you having problems with the surgery,’” he went on to say.

‘Snake’ operating device showcased at cancer conference

September 21st, 2012

A Bristol-based medical engineering company has demonstrated a ‘mechanical snake’ that will allow doctors to look and ‘feel’ inside patients bodies without having to carry out invasive surgery.

OC Robotics showcased its snake robot at the International Conference on Oncological Engineering at the University of Leeds this week. The device is still only a prototype and has only been used in laboratories so far, but the company is confident that, once ready and approved, it could help find and remove tumours in cancer patients with only a tiny incision needed.

Speaking at the conference, Safia Danovi, from Cancer Research UK, said that the devices on display at the conference would play important roles in the future fight against cancer.

“Surgery is a cornerstone treatment for cancer so new technologies making it even more precise and effective are crucial,” she explained. “Thanks to research, innovations such as keyhole surgery and robotics are transforming the treatment landscape for cancer patients and this trend needs to continue.”

OC Robotics’ Rob Buckingham said that a key area of research that they are now looking into for the ‘snake’ is making it work with other technology, such as sensors that can identify and hone in on target objects such as tumours.

Johnson & Johnson to open London innovation centre

September 19th, 2012

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is establishing four new innovation centres in four of the top biotechnology locations in the world, to try to hunt out new relationships and investment opportunities in medical devices and diagnostics.

The company is setting up one of the bases in London, with three others in California, Boston and China. It is hoping that each of the centres will have local deal-making capabilities and will further the conglomerate’s chances of becoming a “partner of choice” for smaller biotech companies.

Global pharmaceuticals head for J&J, Paul Stoffels, said that it was a priority of theirs to have people on the ground in medical technology centres and in dedicated scientific sales jobs in the bioscience hubs.

“We want to get better at interacting with the outside world and we are going to do it in a different way, closer to where the innovation is happening,” Stoffels said in a telephone interview,” he explained. “We want to get a significantly higher number of external opportunities, which we can identify and bring into the company.”

J&J already has an impressive track record of reaching beyond its own operations to track down innovations, with 50 per cent of its products resulting from external collaborations.