Brussels, 18 July 2002
At the launch of a new space incubator network, ESINET, in Brussels on 17 July, Tony Anson from Brunel University in the UK outlined how funding from the EU, the European space agency (ESA) and the UK government have enabled him to set up two highly successful spin out companies.
In 1984, Dr Anson, then a researcher at Brunel University working on space applications for smart alloys, received an ESA grant to experiment in micro gravity. The resulting 'Biosample' was constructed and being used by countries across Europe by 1992.
In the course of his research, Dr Anson realised that the SMART technology with which he had been working had a potential use in the medical field. Anson Medical ltd, created in 1997 now manufactures items such as bone plates, heart valve retainers, tissue staples and new hip prostheses, which do not loosen over time as previous models have.
Anson Medical's commercial activities have only just begun, but in June 2002 the company sold 200,000 GBP (around 310,781 euro) worth of tubular grafts, which was twice the figure for the previous month. Dr Anson is hoping that this trend will continue!
As an SME (small and medium sized enterprise), Dr Anson's company received financial support from the EU, ESA and the UK, all of which, he acknowledges, were vital to the development and growth of Anson Medical.
In 1997, Dr Anson also founded Dynamic Materials Development Ltd (DMD), which operates in the field of the binary information system, hip prostheses and lower body prostheses. Dr Anson's aim is to use his lower body prostheses to enable paraplegics to walk.
In 1998 the company received a CRAFT award from the EU, in 2001 DMD participated in a BRITE EURAM project on rock splitting and in 2000 the company received a CRAFT award to develop a new alloy.
'I am one of the few and possible the only person in the UK who actually believes in the UK,' said Dr Anson. 'Europe must compete and must be able to compete in the future against the development of new markets, for example in South East Asia.' Dr Anson finished by saying that Europe must work together because individual countries 'cannot compete on a world stage'.
For further information on Anson Medical, please consult the following web address: http://www.ansonmedical.com/frameset.ht ml