NHS spin out secures £0.5m to develop innovative blood recovery technology

Manchester-based SwabTech Limited, an NHS-spin out company, has secured £0.5m investment to further develop and commercialise their automated Surgical Swab-Washer, enhancing blood recovery and reuse during high blood loss surgical procedures.

The funding comes from Catapult Ventures, managers of the GM&C (Greater Manchester and Cheshire) Life Sciences Fund.

The investment will enable SwabTech to finalise the product design, secure a CE mark and press on with UK and international product launches. SwabTech’s patented Surgical Swab-Washer automates a process that is currently performed by hand; recovering blood from swabs used in the hospital operating theatre. This blood can then be processed and transfused back into the patient, an established procedure used in a wide range of operations associated with high blood loss, and is known to be a cost-effective means to improve clinical outcomes.

Swabtech collage

SwabTech was formed by a clinical scientist, a surgeon, and an engineer. With support from TRUSTECH, the North West NHS Innovation Service, SwabTech was “spun-out” from three North West NHS Trusts; the University Hospitals of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust; Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Their goal has been to commercialise the NIHR funded research led by Co-Founder, Dr Sarah Haynes.

James Corden, Engineer and Business Development Manager at TRUSTECH, who has informed the design and commercialisation of the product, said: “The inefficiency of the existing manual process for recovering blood from surgical swabs presents a barrier to reusing blood during surgical procedures. Our simple automatic device is designed to efficiently and consistently extract blood from surgical swabs for subsequent processing.”

Marcus Orton, CEO of SwabTech, said “I’m delighted to be working with Catapult Ventures to bring SwabTech’s Surgical Swab-Washer to market and have been impressed with the input from the Catapult team. This investment is a major step forward and I look forward to growing SwabTech into a leader in enhanced blood recovery”.

Professor Mohideen Jameel, Senior Surgical Consultant, Co-Founder and Medical Director of SwabTech, said “In my career as a vascular surgeon I’ve seen an obvious need to automate swab washing in the operating theatre – a process that is currently conducted manually, if at all. Automated swab washing is expected to increase blood recovery and return on investment in existing cell salvage systems, saving costs and eliminating many of the hazards related to manual swab washing”.

Gareth King, Life Science Partner at the GM&C Life Sciences Fund, said “I’ve been particularly impressed by the clear clinical need and simplicity of SwabTech’s Surgical Swab-Washer and broad experience of the management team and founders. I’m excited to be investing in SwabTech with a talented team and clear drive to bring their Surgical Swab Washer to market to benefit patients, the NHS and other healthcare providers”.


Gareth King, Life Science Partner

E: gareth@catapult-ventures.com

T: 01625 344300