Blackpool healthcare start-up in £210,000 fund deal

Darren Niell of Touchstone
Darren Niell of Touchstone
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A Blackpool based women’s health care start-up has secured a combined investment of £210,000 which will go towards driving its business growth.

Touchstone Medical, which employs six at Kincraig Business Park, has received a £105,000 investment from SPARK Impact, managers of the North West Fund for Biomedical, which was match funded by medical devices 
innovator CME Holdings, also of Blackpool.

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.

Darren Neill, managing 
director of Touchstone, said the firm was founded in January this year to specialise in sourcing, supplying and supporting products from leading global manufacturers such as Carl Zeiss UK, Schmitz and GIMMI for colposcopy and gynaecology endoscopy.

He said: “My business partner, Janet Welsh, and I set the company up for this specific sector but needed the funding to grow the business. There has been a lack of investment over the past 25 years in the health service and doctors and specialists now need companies they work with in this sector to offer the latest equipment and added value with support services. That is what we do and that is the approach that CME take, too, so there is great synergy.”

He said both Touchstone and CME Medical focus on niche markets and a philosophy derived from an insight into clinicians’ needs and ultimately driven by improved patient experience and safety.

He said CME’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 area of medical science, providing a global landscape and long-term 

The sector has grown by 10 per cent per annum over the last three years, with forecasted growth approaching £300bn by 2015.

Darren added: “I am 
extremely pleased that we have successfully secured the funding needed to drive our business forward.”

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 health care. ”

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 solutions that improve efficiency in the health care sector.”