Case Study

Cardiff University     Back to universities

Healthcare innovation: Commercialising a ground-breaking medical invention

  • Commercialising an award-winning invention which clears smoke created during surgery.
  • Company established to commercialise the inventions of the Welsh Institute of Minimal Access Therapy.
  • Company has since appointed distributors in 25 countries and secured £2.1 million to support the further commercialisation of its lead product.

A ground-breaking invention which clears smoke created during surgery has clear economic impact and societal benefits for patients worldwide.

Surgical smoke is a significant issue during laparoscopic surgery. Smoke created by cutting instruments rapidly builds up in the abdominal cavity, severely impairing the quality of the visual field and slowing down the procedure. The subsequent release of surgical smoke into the operating theatre is also unpleasant for the surgical team and there is a potential risk that chronic exposure may have long-term health implications.

Over six million laparoscopic procedures are carried out globally every year. Research and feedback shows previous products are largely ineffective in meeting the needs of the surgical team. The solution, Ultravision™, was conceived by Dr Neil Warren, a specialist at the forefront of minimally invasive surgery training at Cardiff University.

The ground-breaking invention silently, effortlessly and unobtrusively clears the visual field of surgical smoke and prevents its release in to the operating theatre to allow best practice in laparoscopic surgery. UltravisionTM is the first product to be launched by Alesi Surgical (previously Asalus Medical Instruments Limited), the company established to commercialise the inventions of the Welsh Institute of Minimal Access Therapy.

The technology underpinning Ultravision™, electrostatic precipitation, is the subject of three patent filings, the first of which is now granting in territories worldwide.

Ultravision™ won the 2013 Cutlers Prize awarded by the UK’s Royal College of Surgeons for outstanding advance in design of a surgical instrument or technique. The company won the UK’s Praxis Unico Impact Award for Business Aspiring in 2014, and the MediWales Innovation Award 2014. It also won the New Ventures and People’s Choice awards at the 2014 Cardiff University Innovation Network Awards ceremony. Furthermore, Ultravision™ was awarded the CE mark in 2014, allowing hospitals to use the system on patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery in the European Union member states.

The company has since appointed distributors in 25 countries and secured £2.1 million to further the commercialisation of its lead product. The new investment provides capital to drive adoption of Ultravision™, which has already been trialled across a spectrum of the most commonly performed laparoscopic procedures in gastrointestinal, gynaecological, urological and colorectal surgery.