A North Wales medical devices company, which has developed a hand-held system to monitor the blood-clotting status of patients taking the drug Warfarin, has been boosted with two heavyweight appointments.
St Asaph-based Microvisk Technologies has recruited medical industry veteran Bill Moffitt as chairman and Peter Whitehouse as its chief finance officer.
The company has also announced the broadening of its patent portfolio with the grant of its second patent in the US and first patent in Japan, as additions to its existing European and US patents.
The new appointments come as Microvisk gears up for the launch of its SmartStrip device on the UK market this autumn. It follows the company’s recent fundraising which saw it secure £6m from existing investors, including Finance Wales, in an oversubscribed round.
It was the third successful funding round for Microvisk, which secured £10.5m within 12 months – the largest amount raised by a UK life science company.
A spin-out company from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, Microvisk has developed the world’s first medical diagnostic strip based on a Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) that was created as a movement system for nano-robots.
MEMS technology is used in the computer projector, iPhone and Nintendo Wii as well as in car engines.
Microvisk’s SmartStrip is a disposable strip that uses embedded sensors to measure the clotting speed of blood from a finger prick sample and the results are displayed on a handheld reader.
The company is completing clinical trials in the UK and has expanded its research and manufacturing facilities. The company is also preparing to begin trials in the USA and Germany within the next six months, with product launches in both countries anticipated to follow in 2012.
Bill Moffitt has more than 30 years’ experience in the diagnostics and medical devices industry and is the president and chief executive of Nanosphere in the US and the chairman of Glysure in the UK. Listed on Nasdaq, Nanosphere offers breakthrough technologies to simplify diagnostic testing and was recently ranked by Massachusetts Institute of Technology as one of the world’s top 50 technology companies.
Mr Whitehouse joins from Iota NanoSolutions, a Unilever Ventures backed nanotechnology company, where he was commercial and finance director.
John Curtis, chief executive officer of Microvisk, said: “I am delighted that Bill and Peter have joined the Microvisk team."
Bill has a track record of managing high technology companies that have shaped the industry and generated significant shareholder value.
He and Peter combine commercial expertise with substantial medical diagnostics experience that will prove invaluable as we gear up to launch our SmartStrip product in the UK this autumn and follow on with product launches in the US and Germany during 2012.
“We are also delighted to have strengthened our patents portfolio with the grant of additional patents in the US and Japan."
“These intellectual property rights are central to Microvisk’s proprietary position on MEMs and its application to the SmartStrip product.”
Mr Moffitt said: “SmartStrip is a proven technology that could transform the way that blood-testing is carried out. Microvisk now has the opportunity to capture a substantial share of the market for doctor’s office and home tests for Warfarin patients. I am delighted to join Microvisk and look forward to working with John and the rest of the team.”
Mr Whitehouse said: “This is an exciting time to be joining Microvisk and I look forward to supporting the expansion of the company as we take our innovative SmartStrip device to market.”