IiM Case Study: Alesi Surgical / Ultravision

19 distributors in 25 countries…the impact of Ideas in Medicine on Alesi Surgical’s Ultravision.

Alesi Surgical was established in 2009 to commercialise inventions arising from the Welsh Institute for Minimal Access Therapy (WIMAT). Based in Cardiff, WIMAT is one of the UK’s leading training centres for laparoscopic surgery. Alesi Surgical intends to lead the world in the development of new devices for advanced minimal access surgery.

The company works with leading surgeons and surgical trainers to identify common issues encountered in surgery, and designs products to resolve these issues – resulting in safer, faster, more cost-effective procedures and a smoother operative flow.

Alesi’s lead product is Ultravision, a revolutionary product for handling surgical smoke created during laparoscopic surgery, a technique for performing minimally invasive surgery in the abdominal cavity. It is the invention of Dr Neil Warren, the head of WIMAT and works by immediately precipitating surgical smoke which builds up in the abdominal cavity, fogs the lens of the laparoscope, and causes delays in the procedure while the surgeon removes the laparoscope for cleaning.

Alesi Surgical initially worked with funding from the University’s own seed fund. A prototype developed in 2009 yielded promising results, and development continued following a further equity investment. After much hard work the product was awarded a CE mark and approved for launch in January 2014.

At this point the company underwent a fundamental shift in business focus from innovation to sales, and this is where the Ideas in Medicine team got involved. Graeme explains ‘An old friend and colleague, David Frederick, now the Chairman of Alesi Surgical, asked me to get involved and do what I do best – build a distribution network to drive sales for Ultravision.’

Distribution is key to sales success and the Ideas in Medicine team used its global connections to identify and appoint suitable distribution partners. The final result – 19 distributors across 25 territories – has provided multiple entry points into the worldwide market for surgical technologies.

Dr Dominic Griffiths, Managing Director of Alesi-Surgical commented ‘The appointment of a distributor network was an important step for us and our funders. Although we had already raised substantial equity to develop the product, it is the latest funding round which raised over £2million that will bring us to full commercialisation – and establishing a distributor network was critical to achieving this.’

Graeme commented ‘This is what Ideas in Medicine is all about. An innovative idea addressing a real, surgical need, a really clever piece of kit and a world out there waiting to embrace it. Perfect!’

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