Scottish medtech secures £1.2m of funding


Edinburgh medtech company Manus Neurodynamica has closed a £1.2 million funding round to support the launch of its digital pen which provides an early warning of Parkinson's disease and other neurological conditions.

With this latest funding secured, Manus is rolling-out its NeuroMotor Pen later this year, initially focusing on the UK and Benelux markets. The company is also progressing work to secure regulatory approval to start selling in US. 

Investors in this funding round included the North East Innovation Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Northstar Ventures, profit with purpose investor SIS Ventures and Old College Capital, the University of Edinburgh’s venture fund.

The NeuroMotor Pen employs sensors linked with analytical software which analyses the slightest limb and hand movements to help doctors assess whether a patient has early signs of Parkinson's or other neurological conditions. As well as providing a quick and objective aid to diagnosis, the CE-marked product also helps with the ongoing monitoring of those conditions.

HeraldScotland: Dr Rutger ZietsmaDr Rutger Zietsma

Following a development contract with NHS England to develop a version that can be used in GP surgeries, Manus is currently in advanced talks to supply the pens to a leading UK-based primary care group. The pen has passed clinical trials with the NHS in the north-east of England and Scotland and is currently being used by Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

Led by chief executive Rutger Zietsma, Manus has spent more than 10 years developing the product from concept through to manufacture and roll-out. In January 2020, the firm signed a five-year contract with stationery brand Stabilo to manufacture the pens in Germany.

Funding rounds totalling £5m to date - including a £750,000 financing round closed in May last year - have been led by Par Equity with support from the Scottish Investment Bank and Old College Capital.

“2021 looks set to be an extremely busy year for Manus," Mr Zietsma said. "Having spent more than 10 years developing, trialling and refining our first product, we can finally look forward to seeing our NeuroMotor Pens implemented more broadly and making a real difference to the lives of people living with Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions.”

Craft brewer in bid to curb spread of Covid in Malawi

HeraldScotland: Alan MahonAlan Mahon

Brewgooder has begun work on two major clean water projects in Malawi in a move that will help one of the world's poorest countries combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 90,000 people in Thyolo and Dedza, township districts in the south and central regions of Malawi, are set to benefit from a £50,000 investment by the Scottish craft brewer. It comes just months after the UK Government cut its foreign aid budget from 0.7 per cent to 0.5% of UK gross domestic product (GDP).

The largest investment will go towards solar-powered water supply systems that will provide safe water for two regional healthcare facilities in Nanseta and Mbawera.

READ MORE: Brewer and university launch bursary in bid to boost diversity

The projects will unlock 3.94 million litres of water annually for primary healthcare across both facilities and train 60 frontline healthcare workers to help educate the population on how to stop the spread of Covid.

The work will be carried out in partnership with Brewgooder’s long-term partner, the One Foundation. This project will bring the social enterprise’s overall clean water impact to more than 155,000 people across Malawi and Rwanda.

Alan Mahon, Brewgooder’s co-founder, said: “We know first-hand how challenging this pandemic has been in the UK, but we can’t abandon developing countries and let them fight it on their own. The pandemic should have taught everyone how truly interconnected we are.

“Although we’ve pivoted during the pandemic to be able to provide support to people in the UK who are affected, our core mission is to provide clean water to those in need. We’re proud to be able to put clean water right at the heart of the battle against coronavirus in Malawi.


“Not only will these projects support primary healthcare for years to come, they will also empower and better equip these communities to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The NHS recently advised that clean water is second only to vaccination when it comes to public health during the pandemic, and this virus doesn’t respect borders. Although we face huge challenges at home, it’s dangerous for the UK Government to shirk its responsibility as a global citizen.”

“Those most impacted by climate change are those least able to fight it. Developing communities face huge challenges, the biggest being Covid, climate and lack of clean water. It is our duty to help. As a purpose-driven brand, we’ve made that our mission. We hope that with COP26 coming to Glasgow later this year,  it can be a real turning point that causes more politicians, companies and consumers to wake up to their responsibilities."

Funding for the projects was raised through the Global Gathering, a 250-strong global brewery collaboration programme launched by Brewgooder in 2020, which was severely disrupted by the first national lockdown in March last year.

Boohoo buys Debenhams brand and website

Online fashion retailer Boohoo has bought the Debenhams brand and website for £55 million.

That means the department store name will endure, but the company’s remaining 118 stores are to close for good.

The deal will see Debenhams products sold by Boohoo from early next year, allowing enough time for liquidators to continue closing the retailer’s sites once they are allowed to reopen after Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted.

But with stores closing across the 242-year-old brand, it is unlikely many of the remaining 12,000 jobs are likely to be saved.

READ MORE: Boohoo buys Debenhams brand and website for £55m – but stores will close

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