National network of health businesses and organisations generates £500 million of investment

Academic Health Science Network

A national network which launched in 2013 to bring together academic, health and social care institutions across the country, to help drive better communication and innovation in healthcare, has generated almost £500 million inward investment into the country, according to figures just released.

There are 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England, including Oxford, South West, West Midlands and the West of England. Each one works across a distinct geography serving a different population in each region

Their stated purpose is to improve patient outcomes and generate economic benefits by promoting and encouraging innovation in healthcare. In 2019 the AHSNs were issued with a new five-year licence to continue their work.

Healthcare and technology businesses across the UK have been pivotal in supporting national efforts to tackle the virus and support NHS staff and patients. Investment and support for this growing sector has never been so crucial.

The figures released today show that the AHSN Network has generated almost £500 million inward investment during the past two years (2018- 2020), and that close to 2,000 jobs have been created or protected during this time. The latest round of company surveys conducted by the AHSN Network show remarkable progress in the health innovation sector.

Nicola Hutchinson, Innovation Exchange and Economic Growth Director for the AHSN Network said: “The value of health innovation has never been so evident than it is now. The dynamic way many companies we work with have been able to grow and work with health and care providers has been inspiring. I am extremely proud of our AHSN teams across the country who have played a vital role in delivering transformation of key NHS services and pathways. Every day our teams support health innovators from idea to implementation, so that they can in turn support our NHS staff and improve the lives of patients.

“In this difficult economic climate, it is more important than ever to provide the right kind of guidance to companies who can prosper and help our nation to recover from this crisis.”

Healthy.io is one such company. Having turned the smartphone camera into a regulatory approved clinical device, it has attracted more than £50 million in investment during 2019/20 alone, with ongoing support from nine AHSNs around the country plus the NHS Innovation Accelerator.

Katherine Ward, Chief Commercial Officer, Managing Director UK and Europe, Healthy.io said: “Primary and secondary care settings are under extreme pressure, and our technology can help significantly reduce pressure on limited NHS resources. The support the AHSN Network gives to diffusing innovation at scale is helping us ensure more patients who require urgent attention can be managed and treated rapidly.”

Since 2018, the AHSNs have supported 5,145 companies, entering into 322 long term strategic partnerships.

The AHSN Network says its positive contribution to ‘UK PLC’ far exceeds the £13 million annual funding received from the Office of Life Sciences for their economic growth commission, with impacts growing year on year.