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16 May 2012

The North West Fund for Biomedical invests £50,000 in device to diagnose a heart condition

Press Release 16th May 2012

A company which has invented a device to help diagnose a heart condition affecting up to half a million people in the UK has secured a £50,000 investment from The North West Fund for Biomedical.

Rapid Rhythm Ltd, based in the MedTECH Centre on Manchester Science Parks, received the £50,000 Pathfinder investment from The North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by SPARK Impact. The funding will be used to develop its hand-held device that uses Electro Cardio Graph (ECG) data to diagnose Atrial Fibrillation (AF).

The North West Fund for Biomedical is a sub-fund of the £185m evergreen North West Fund that is jointly financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.

AF is a condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally-fast heart rate and is traditionally diagnosed by carrying out an ECG, which involves applying a number of electrodes to the skin to measure the electrical activity of the heart.

Rapid Rhythm Ltd, a spin-out from the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in collaboration with TRUSTECH Smart Healthcare Ventures, can diagnose AF using the electrode device which means the ECG examination is far quicker and could be performed in the primary health care setting.

This round of investment will be used to further optimise the design of the current device through refining the electrode interfaces to help improve the accuracy of AF diagnosis.

It also means Rapid Rhythm will be able to make prototypes, run trials and gather data needed to get the device approved.

Dr Adam Fitzpatrick, consultant cardiologist and inventor of the device, said: "AF carries with it a high risk factor for stroke, which is the third largest cause of death in the UK and many other Western countries.

"For patients with AF, their risk of stroke can be substantially reduced using anticoagulant drugs but there is currently no device available which enables healthcare professionals to quickly test patients for the presence of AF, prescribe anti-coagulants and reduce the incidence of stroke.

"I would like to thank The North West Fund for Biomedical and SPARK Impact for their investment into Rapid Rhythm. It is a very exciting time and we are really pleased they are on board."

Dr Penny Attridge, senior investment director at SPARK Impact and manager of The North West Fund for Biomedical, said: "We expect great things from the team and they have an excellent support network in place with the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and TRUSTECH Smart Healthcare Ventures assisting them."

Rapid Rhythm is the 12th Pathfinder investment for The North West Fund for Biomedical and its 17th investment to date.

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