An Edinburgh-based medical device manufacturing centre has been awarded £3.35m ($4.2m) by a Scottish government agency to step up its sustainable development plans, developing degradable and reusable medical devices.

The Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC), based out of Heriot-Watt University, is a consortium of universities aiming to address medical device sourcing problems for the National Health Service (NHS), with the £3.5m ($4.4m) from Scottish Enterprise dedicated to investigating the inclusion and development of degradable or reusable polymers.

The group says that devices developed using these kinds of polymers could be significantly more sustainable in terms of their development but would be more likely to harmlessly degrade once it was no longer needed, as well as reduce the carbon footprint of the device’s overall development.

MDMC manager Marc Desmulliez said: “This significant funding from Scottish Enterprise will enable us to continue to support and elevate Scottish medical device innovation, creating new and ground-breaking medical devices with global impact.

“We believe that companies are unable to fully realise the potential value of their medical device technologies due to the high costs and limited access associated with conducting clinical investigations, consulting health economists, and utilising cadaver models.”

Alongside the development of more sustainable medical devices, the money is also set to be used to further support early-stage businesses in healthcare as part of Scottish Enterprise’s High Growth Spinout programme.

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Besides Heriot-Watt University, the MDMC comprises the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, and Robert Gordon University, with the University of Dundee announced as the group’s newest member.

Lindsay Methven, head of major programme management at Scottish Enterprise, said: “This latest award of £3.35m from Scottish Enterprise takes our total project funding to almost £5m and demonstrates our ambitions for MDMC and its role in transforming Scotland’s economy by helping to grow the number of entrepreneurs building stronger, scalable innovative medical technologies businesses.

“Integrating MDMC support with our Scottish Enterprise entrepreneurial services means a more seamless approach for companies to help them significantly scale up their operations and accelerate their growth journey, regardless of whether that’s launching a fundraising round, bringing innovative products to domestic or international markets, securing a first major contract, or developing or reshoring manufacturing facilities to produce their devices.”

It follows shortly after another Heriot-Watt University-based institution, the National Robotarium, announced that it was awarded £435,000 from Innovate UK to develop a robotic glove intended to help rehabilitate stroke victims.

It also follows after the MDMC partnered with Technology Scotland in a bid to drive access to technology and design capacity for small and medium businesses across the nation.