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28 August 2014

Medical supplier of women’s healthcare products secures significant investment for growth

Press Release 28th August 2014

A specialist women's healthcare start-up has secured a combined investment of £210,000 which will go towards driving its business growth in the rapidly expanding medical technology market.

Touchstone Medical secured £105,000 investment from SPARK Impact, managers of the North West Fund for Biomedical which was match funded by leading medical devices innovator CME Holdings Ltd. The three organisations were brought together by SPARK Impact as part of its drive to invest in and support forward thinking biomedical businesses in the North West.

Touchstone, based in Blackpool, sources, supplies and supports products from leading global manufacturers such as Carl Zeiss UK, Schmitz and GIMMI® with niche areas being colposcopy and gynaecology endoscopy. Products include the award winning medi-matic© gynaecology couch, high resolution HD endoscopic imaging systems and GIMMI® instruments for gynaecology surgeons.

Both Touchstone and CME Medical are united by a shared focus on niche markets and a philosophy derived from an insight into clinician's needs and ultimately driven by improved patient experience and safety. CME Medical's existing infrastructure will provide Touchstone with executive level expertise and administration support, as well as access to pre-established routes to market. The investment will allow Touchstone to further build its team which will build on the progress made to date.

The medical technology sector has, in recent years, taken over from biotechnology and pharmaceuticals as the fastest growing and most ground breaking area of medical science, providing a global landscape and long-term opportunities. The sector has grown by 10 per cent per annum over the last three years, with forecasted growth approaching £300bn
by 2015.

Darren Neill, managing director of Touchstone which operates from Kincraig Business Park, said: "I am extremely pleased that we have successfully secured the funding needed to drive our business forward, which ultimately will improve the lives of patients and clinicians
through our continued innovation in women's health. We're delighted to have been introduced to CME via Leonard Curtis in Manchester and look forward to working together to bring world leading products to the UK healthcare market and provide the highest possible standards in gynaecology endoscopy."

David Grimm, investment manager at SPARK Impact, said: "From day one, we were impressed by Touchstone's passion and drive to deliver innovative products and services in women's healthcare. We're delighted to be able to invest in this technology, which complements the growing and diverse mix of biomedical companies in our portfolio."

John Carrington, managing director of CME said: "Improving patient experience has long been a key driver of our business. When we were introduced to Touchstone we were struck by the synergies between our businesses, particularly the patient-focused innovative solutions the team is able to deliver that also help improve efficiency within the healthcare sector. We found SPARK Impact to be a refreshing organisation to work with and were delighted by their proactive approach. Hill Dickinson, our legal advisors were also superb throughout the process."

Forbes solicitors acted as legal advisors for Touchstone Medical with DWF providing legal support to SPARK Impact.

To date, SPARK Impact has invested more than £20m into 52 companies from all over the North West. Investments have ranged from new diagnostics and medical devices to clinical research and pharmaceuticals.

The North West Fund for Biomedical is a sub-fund of The North West Fund, a substantial pot of money jointly financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank. The fund is available to invest in small and medium sized businesses in the North West of England to support their start-up, development and growth.


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