Just over two years ago we launched the extension of the P4 Precision Medicine Accelerator for South Yorkshire. Originally based on the P4 model, which I co-founded in 2019, this new accelerator – dubbed P4SY for its location – was designed with a three-pronged approach,
1. To support our existing portfolio to scale across the country using South Yorkshire has a hub;
2. To support the local Health & Life Science innovations in South Yorkshire;
3. Attract international companies to land in South Yorkshire and leverage the clinical and academic expertise in the region and beyond.
The programme sped up development of the region’s nascent health tech and precision medicine cluster. It was an experiment to see if we can replicate what we had done virtually on the P4 programme in accessing the health innovation network in South Yorkshire and the surrounding regions with a local team. Successful accelerators are often tied to the ecosystem and geography that they grow out of. However, I felt it was a worthwhile challenge to adapt the P4 approach to a new location and its success shows that our model is highly adaptable to new locations.
With Phase I of the programme complete, it is safe to say P4SY has made a significant impact on South Yorkshire’s medtech ecosystem. We worked with 29 different companies as they launched a total of 21 new products, in the process creating 32 new high-value jobs. An excellent example of the programme’s success in encouraging startups to locate in the region and create jobs locally is Gold Standard Phantoms, a UCL spinout working to bring a new level of precision and interoperability to the MRI machines used by hospitals worldwide. With our support, Gold Standard Phantoms opened a R&D office in Sheffield where it is building out its team.
One of the key successes of P4SY has been the connections it forged between medtechs on one side and researchers and healthcare providers on the other. This type of partnership is essential for any healthcare startup to succeed – after all, access to patient data is essential.
I am very happy that we performed exceptionally well in this area by helping many of our companies build lasting collaborations which have measurably improved their ability to commercialise. For instance, Planet Nourish, a wellness platform targeting the South Asian community, needed access to patient data for the specific communities it sought to serve – and thanks to P4SY, they were able to do exactly that in South Yorkshire.
P4SY has also helped them to raise investment. Thanks to the successes of P4, we have a strong pre-existing network of seed and early-stage investors and a high level of experience supporting fundraising. Medwise, a search platform for doctors, raised a £1 million pre-Series A, and MedQ, which helps clinicians digitise patient-reported outcome measures, successfully raised a £146,000 seed round while on the programme.
By attracting innovative medtech companies to South Yorkshire, helping them to scale and successfully raise investment, P4SY has played a key role in development of a more vibrant medtech ecosystem which in turn strengthens the region’s ability to attract future entrepreneurs. We delivered the programme with support from TEAM SY, an ecosystem acceleration programme aimed at the South Yorkshire region more broadly, part-funded by the ERDF and delivered by Capital Enterprise and Barnsley Council.
Here are key takeaways from P4SY’s success:
- By working with 29 medtech companies, we strengthened South Yorkshire’s health tech and life science cluster;
- We used our network of researchers and healthcare providers to build relationships locally, giving them the support they needed to scale;
- We tapped into our investor network to help them raise funding;
- Creating a more vibrant medtech ecosystem in South Yorkshire makes the region more attractive to future entrepreneurs in turn;
- By connecting our existing network across the country and internationally, we created an even stronger local ecosystem by leveraging the wider ecosystem;
- Above all, we showed the P4 model can be adapted to a national level as well as a local level, new geographies and regions;
- With centres of research excellence located all over the UK, there is high potential for many more medtech clusters to develop.