A new Oxford spin-out, OxeHealth, spun out from Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, will allow a patient’s health to be monitored using a webcam and a software application. The software will detect the patient’s heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation even in artificial light without the need for any physical contact or additional hardware.
Isis Innovation, which commercialises research from the University of Oxford, announced that the new company will receive up to £500,000 in funding from IP Group, subject to certain milestones being met. Professor Tarassenko, Director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, said: “Our research has transformed the ubiquitous webcam into a non-contact sensor for monitoring the most important vital signs. Our close collaboration with biomedical scientists in the University and clinicians in the NHS Trust has enabled rapid translation from the lab to the ward. We believe that our webcam software offers a step change in the way that the health of individuals can be assessed in the home or the hospital.”
The software has been validated in a clinical study with patients in the Oxford Kidney Unit, showing that respiratory rate, pulse rate and oxygen saturation can all be monitored accurately with a remote webcam. Tom Hockaday, MD of Isis Innovation, said: “Oxehealth’s product has the potential to make major healthcare improvements by reducing the number of times patients need to visit the doctor, and allowing doctors to adjust treatments quickly in response to real-time monitoring.”
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Executive, Sir Jonathan Michael said: “We are delighted that Oxehealth is the first spin-out directly linked with the Trust. The study in our Kidney Unit was essential to demonstrate that the technology works in a clinical environment, for the benefit of patients. Oxehealth is another example of the many innovative opportunities which the partnership between the Trust and the University is making possible.” Alan Aubrey, Chief Executive Officer of IP Group said: “Digital health is an exciting and growing area and IP Group is pleased to support Oxehealth as it seeks to develop new products that could transform healthcare and patient monitoring.”
Over the coming months, Oxehealth will refine its technology for remote monitoring of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder and other chronic disease patients in their homes. Oxehealth’s software will be available for license to technology, medtech and pharma companies and for organisations conducting clinical trials.
The research leading to the spin-out originated from Oxford’s Centre of Excellence in Personalised Healthcare, which is one of four Centres of Excellence in medical engineering in the UK, and is jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Research funding was also provided by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and University of Oxford.
This is the second Institute of Biomedical Engineering spin-out that IP Group has funded since acquiring its stake in Technikos LLP in January 2011.
For more information contact:
T: +44 01865 280850
Professor Lionel Tarassenko
IBME, University of Oxford
T: +44 0) 1865 617675
About Isis Innovation
Isis Innovation is the research and technology commercialisation company of the University of Oxford. The Technology Transfer and Oxford University Consulting divisions provide access to technological developments and expertise from University of Oxford researchers, through intellectual property licensing, spin-out company formation, material sales and consulting.
Isis is the highest University patent filer in the UK, has attracted investment into over 65 spin-out companies since 2000, and in the last financial year provided expertise to over 150 clients in 22 countries. Through the Isis Enterprise division, Isis offers innovation management to university, government and industrial clients around the world. For updates on innovations from Oxford, follow Isis on LinkedIn and Twitter or subscribe at www.isis-innovation.com
About IP Group plc
IP Group is a leading UK intellectual property (“IP”) commercialisation company, developing technology innovations primarily from its research intensive partner universities. The Group offers more than traditional venture capital, providing its companies with access to business building expertise, networks, recruitment and business support. The Company’s portfolio comprises holdings in over 60 companies including Oxford Nanopore Technologies, the DNA sequencing development company, Revolymer, best known for its removable chewing gum and Xeros, which has received many accolades for its revolutionary clothes washing techniques with a much reduced requirement for water. The portfolio includes early stage to mature businesses and has exposure to five main sectors – Energy & Renewables, Medical Equipment & Supplies, Pharma & Biotech, IT & Communications and Chemicals & Materials. To date, fourteen of the portfolio companies IP Group has backed have listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and one on PLUS Markets. Founded in 2001, IP Group listed on AIM in October 2003 and moved to the Official List in June 2006. The Group now has long-term partnerships with twelve core universities including those under its commercialisation agreement with Fusion IP plc. For more information, please visit our website at www.ipgroupplc.com.
About Technikos LLP
Technikos is a London based venture capital fund specialising in medical technology. In 2006, Technikos entered into a formal, long-term commercial partnership with Oxford University’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME). Under the terms of this agreement, Technikos receives half the University’s equity in any biomedical spin-out from the IBME, along with half the University’s share of any IBME-derived royalties from licensing income also.
About the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering
The Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME) is a research institute of the Department of Engineering Science, which is located on the University’s medical campus in Headington, Oxford. Opened in April 2008, the IBME offers a world-class venue for engineers and clinicians to work together on addressing unmet needs in the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of major diseases. The Institute’s core mission is to develop novel medical devices, technology and systems capable of delivering substantial healthcare benefit.
About Professor Lionel Tarassenko CBE FREng
Professor Tarassenko is the author of 140 refereed publications, 150 conference papers, 3 books and 24 patents. He was a founder director of Third Phase (now sold to Cmed) in December 1999, of Oxford BioSignals Ltd in May 2000 and of e-San Ltd (then t+ Medical) in February 2002. He is a member of the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Sub-Panel for the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment, and he is the Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Biomedical Engineering Panel. He is the Bioengineering theme leader for the joint NHS/University of Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, the Director of the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering since April 2008, and the Director of the Centre of Excellence in Medical Engineering jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and EPSRC since October 2009.
About the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.
About the EPSRC
The Engineering and Physical Sciences research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800m a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change.
The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via research Councils UK.
Notes for editors
The measurement of the cardiovascular pulse using light reflectance or transmission has been used clinically since the 1980s to monitor hospital patients using a finger probe sensor with in-built LEDs and a photodiode. Cardiovascular signals can be remotely acquired without the use of body-worn sensors by measuring the light reflected from an individual’s face using a webcam. However, the interference caused by ambient, artificial light has hampered the application of the technology outside the research laboratory, rendering it impractical and unreliable for commercial application.
The Oxford invention includes novel algorithms which remove the effects of ambient light interference, allowing the technology to be used in every-day settings such as a patient’s home. Other algorithms are used to process the image recorded with the webcam and extract heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation from it.
The NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Oxford is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, and is a partnership between the Oxford University Hospitals Trust and the University of Oxford. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world class facilities (both NHS and university), and conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients.