Spinout deal offers dialysis hope

An Edinburgh spinout whose innovation could save kidney patients’ lives is the first to benefit from a new funding deal.

Dialysis technology company Invizius has secured £500,000 from Mercia Fund Managers, which formed a partnership agreement with the University in November 2017.

Invizius stems from years of research by chemist Andy Herbert and his team in the University’s School of Chemistry, and will be hosted in the School of Chemistry.

Reducing risk

The researchers believe they have found a way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among patients undergoing long-term dialysis.

The investment will allow the company to build its team and take the product to the next stage of development in preparation for clinical trials.

Exciting partnership

Edinburgh’s partnership agreement with Mercia included hosting Mercia staff on campus.

Mercia earmarked funding for investment in technologies and business opportunities developed by the University.

It is wonderful to see the first fruits of this exciting collaboration. The investment reflects the great potential of this technology to change many people’s lives. It is typical of the innovation emerging from our research.

Hugh EdmistonDirector of Corporate Services

Dialysis treatment

Despite improvements in dialysis therapy, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for dialysis patients.

Today, almost half of all dialysis patients die from cardiovascular complications, and life expectancy on dialysis is one-third of that for the general population.

The patient’s immune system sees the dialysis filter as a foreign body, creating inflammation that damages the cardiovascular system over time.

Immune response

Invizius’s H-Guard product is a powerful anti-inflammatory used as a primer to coat the filter surface. When mixed with the patient’s blood, it makes the surface seem less foreign to the patient’s immune system.

Unlike some other proposed solutions, H-Guard does not shut down the immune system but instead effectively ‘hides’ the device from it to prevent an immune response.

While the first product is aimed at kidney dialysis, there is also potential to use the technology with other devices or procedures such as catheters, stents, organ transplants and vascular grafts.

Invizius is led by Chief Executive Officer Richard Boyd, who previously founded VueKlar Cardiovascular, with Dr Herbert as Chief Technology Officer.

The team has spent six years developing the technology with support from world-leading dialysis manufacturers, Kidney Research UK, and £600,000 from Scottish Enterprise’s High Growth Spin Out Programme.

Industry engagement

Edinburgh Innovations, which manages industry engagement for the University of Edinburgh, has supported the researchers throughout the commercialisation process.

Staff, students, businesses and other organisations can contact Edinburgh Innovations to explore linking the University's work with industry’s and society’s needs.

I’m delighted to see this substantial investment in a University spinout, whose work holds such promise. Edinburgh Innovations looks forward to working with Mercia and our researchers to support further such opportunities.

Dr George BaxterChief Executive Officer, Edinburgh Innovations

Invizius is an excellent choice for our first investment under our partnership with the University. This technology could revolutionise kidney dialysis and the funding will take the company one step closer to bringing it to market.

Dr Nicola BroughtonHead of Universities at Mercia

Related links

Edinburgh Innovations