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Exeter start-up secures investment to commercialise health technology

Exeter SETsquared member, Thalamus Health, has raised a considerable, undisclosed sum to develop and commercialise a selection of medical devices designed by Founder and CEO Oliver Blackwell.

Oliver received part of his funding after attending the SETsquared Accelerating Growth investment-pitching event, which featured twenty technology ventures seeking investments of between £250k – £5m.

With a background in Human-Centred-Design, Oliver has spent the last five years working in the niche of medical technologies, an area in which he is fascinated.

Oliver explained: “I believe in the purest form of design, I’m driven by a desire for the perfect solution, constant dissatisfaction is the engine that drives my relentless questioning. I believe that my background as an Industrial Designer and not as a clinician has really provided a distinct advantage to us, we look at problems from a user’s perspective and not simply from a clinical one.”

He continued: “Our first product The Diagnosticap® System is a direct replacement for the current urine dip stick test, a key point-of-care diagnostic tool for clinicians worldwide with 2.8billion tests performed annually. The Thalamus Health system uses the same principle as traditional urine testing whereby a colour change in chemical regent paper indicates certain parameters in the urine. These colour changes are traditionally read manually and the results are very subjective.

The Diagnosticap® System provides a low cost, highly accurate digital results for clinicians. “Accurate and definitive results are available immediately on the clinician’s computer.”

An average GP practice tests over a thousand urine samples a month with a basic dipstick test costing around 35p each. Oliver revealed: “The Diagnosticap® System matches the price of the market leader whilst offering more definitive digital results and without the clinician getting urine on their hands. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

Oliver will be developing UK based production in the South West and already has senior clinicians who have endorsed his product in GP practices, NHS and Private hospitals. The technology will be integrated into clinical use in 2017.

The Thalamus Health team are currently based at Exeter Science Park and are working on a number of new technologies and currently have two other products in their portfolio.

Oliver said: “We have a number of potentially interesting technologies being developed in our Exeter facility. My aim is for Thalamus Health to use Design-Thinking as a tool to empower both patients & clinicians. We will use our insights of human-behaviour and clinical practice to design solutions that challenge existing healthcare practices.”

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SETsquared is a partnership between

  • University of Bath
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Surrey