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Compact dialysis machine wins UK’s top engineering award

The team behind a revolutionary compact dialysis machine that enables kidney failure patients to treat themselves at home and relieves pressure on over-stretched hospitals has won the UK’s leading engineering innovation award for 2022.

The Royal Academy of Engineering has today announced Quanta Dialysis Technologies as the recipient of the 2022 MacRobert Award, the UK’s longest-running and most prestigious award for UK engineering innovation. Joining previous MacRobert Award winners including Rolls-Royce, Arup and Raspberry Pi, Quanta was recognised for developing the SC+ system, a portable, easy-to-use, high performance dialysis machine allowing greater flexibility across the care continuum – from hospital to home.

The MacRobert Award celebrates engineering developments that demonstrate outstanding engineering innovation, commercial success and tangible social benefits, and the SC+ haemodialysis system impressed judges across all three criteria. It is already having a dramatic impact on patient quality of life since it is easier to operate, faster to train on and as powerful as traditional in-centre dialysis machines. This flexibility also enables patients to treat themselves at home overnight, receiving more dialysis care than they would in clinical settings and eliminating the gap where patients go without dialysis over a weekend.

Quanta is already working with NHS Trusts and during lockdown provided its entire UK SC+ system stock to the NHS in order to relieve pressure on hospitals and ICUs.

Judges were also impressed by the enormous commercial potential. The SC+ is already FDA cleared and selling in the US, where the dialysis market is expected to exceed $12bn. In 2021, Quanta raised $245million to fund the rollout of the SC+ system in the US — the largest-ever private funding round for a dialysis device company.

The SC+ system marks a major advance in dialysis technology, which has seen little innovation in decades. It operates using proprietary single-use cartridge that eliminates the need for expensive and time-consuming disinfection between treatments Each cartridge incorporates a series of pneumatic membrane pumps, rather than the piston-driven pumps found in traditional dialysis machines. This provides highly accurate fluid management and enhanced distribution within the dialyser itself, which acts as an artificial kidney, while minimising cross contamination and bio-burden (the number of microorganisms living on a non-sterilised surface) between treatments.

Professor Sir Richard Friend FREng FRS, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award judging panel, said: “This UK-based global healthtech success story, which traces back to technology first developed for use in fruit juice dispensers, demonstrates remarkable engineering ingenuity. Recent success comes on the back of Quanta’s considerable journey as a company. The team has been working for a decade to develop a machine that dramatically improves patient care and quality of life, relieves pressure on hospitals and showcases the enormous commercial potential that cutting edge engineering can unlock. The team exemplifies the persistence, innovation and unconventional thinking that has long been a hallmark of the UK’s greatest engineering success stories and they are worthy winners of the MacRobert Award.”

The Quanta team were announced as the winners at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Awards Dinner on Tuesday 12 July at Leicester Square’s stunning new sustainably designed and engineered hotel, The Londoner. The team received a £50,000 prize and join an impressive line-up of previous MacRobert Award winners. The first award in 1969 was won jointly by Rolls-Royce for the Pegasus engine used in the iconic Harrier jump jet, and Freeman, Fox and Partners for designing the Severn Bridge. More recently, 2008 winner Touch Bionics i-Limb Hand has helped to transform medical prosthetics, while people across all seven continents still rely on winning innovations from the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Raspberry Pi and Inmarsat.

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Quanta team accepts MacRobert award from Princess Anne

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