The COVID-19 pandemic sharply highlighted the importance of technology in the medical industry and the vital role it plays globally. And this renewed interest in medtech hasn’t waned. Just last month, the Department of Health and Social Care announced its inaugural medical technology strategy—demonstrating the government’s commitment to levelling up the UK medtech scene.
Here, we explore the medical technology sector and rank the UK’s top 10 medtech companies, based on the amount of equity investment they’ve raised to date.
What is medtech?
Medtech—short for medical technology—companies develop and implement technologies aimed at bettering the efficiency and capabilities of the medical sector. It encompasses any products which help to prevent, diagnose, monitor or treat health conditions. In recent years, the term has come to refer specifically to modern and innovative technologies used to enhance patient experiences and outcomes. Its current uses range from robotic surgery to artificial organs.
Is medtech the same as healthtech?
It’s important to distinguish medtech from healthtech (as they are, surprisingly, quite different). A helpful definition of healthtech is: “technology (databases, apps, mobiles, wearables) to improve the delivery, payment, and/or consumption of care, with the ability to increase the development and commercialisation of medicinal products.” Simply put, whilst healthtech focuses on improving at-home healthcare, medtech is focused on changing the medical device industry. Medtech also generally requires more regulatory approval than healthtech.
Trends in the UK’s medtech sector
The increasing interest in medtech, specifically in digital health tools from investors and healthcare providers alike has been ongoing for a while. According to our data, investment in medtech increased by £477m from 2014 to 2019. But the pandemic highlighted the need to speed up this process- indeed investment in medtech has increased by 96% from 2020 to 2022.
Medtech is also a rapidly growing industry with the number of active companies growing by 204% over the last 10 years. Indeed, the number of active medtechs has grown year by year since 2005.
The methods of growth in this emerging sector are interesting compared to the wider high-growth ecosystem. A whopping quarter of medtech companies are academic spinouts, compared to just 3% within the broader high-growth environment. Whilst just 10% of all high-growth companies grow through grants, 41% of medtechs have received grants.
Top 10 medtech companies in the UK
Of the 882 high-growth companies operating in the medical technology sector headquartered in the UK, we’ve profiled the top 10, ranked in order of total equity investment secured to date. Interestingly, we found that half of these companies are academic spinouts, with one-third spinning out of the University of Oxford.
Read on to discover who they are and what cutting-edge innovations they are working on.
1. CMR Surgical
Year founded: 2014
Location: South Cambridgeshire
Funds raised: £744m
CMR Surgical develops surgical robotics to transform surgery for good. Its flagship product is Versius, a robot that helps surgical teams with accuracy and dexterity. In November 2022, CMR Surgical announced that 100 Versius systems have been installed globally. The surgical robot has now been used in speciality procedures in gynaecology, colorectal surgery and urology among others.
Since its incorporation, CMR Surgical has featured in six high-growth lists, the most recent of which mentions its inclusion in BusinessCloud MedTech 50, announced in July 2021. To date, it has raised £744m over 10 equity rounds, receiving investment from multiple funds such as Switzerland-based LGT Capital Partners and ABB Technology Ventures (ATV), and UK-based Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) and RPMI Railpen: Private Markets.
Year founded: 2008
Funds raised: £246m
Quanta, also known as Quanta Diagnosis Technologies, is the developer of a flexible kidney care device: the SC+ hemodialysis system. The product is portable, making it suitable for at-home use and is FDA-cleared for use in chronic and acute care settings.
This medical devices company has raised £246m from equity investment to date. In its last round in June 2021, Quanta raised £176m for the purpose of research and development, specifically to launch a study focused on in-house uses of its devices. Investors in the company include American funds Ancora, BlackRock, Orlando Health and Sands Capital. Quanta also has numerous repeat investors including Swiss fund b-to-v Partners (Brain-to-Ventures), Irish fund Seroba Life Sciences Fund and German fund Wellington Partners. The company also received a government grant worth £1.85m in 2015 from the Call 14 i14i Product Development Award.
3. Osler Diagnostics
Year founded: 2016
Funds raised: £144m
Osler Diagnostics is a 2016 academic spinout from the University of Oxford which has developed a handheld device (the Osler Origin) that provides a range of diagnostic tests for pharmacies, hospitals and GPs. The healthcare device is portable and can test for a range of disease biomarkers.
Osler Diagnostics has raised £144m over four equity rounds, with its last round accounting for just over half this amount (£73.8m), and closing in November last year. The company has also secured an impressive £2.12m over six grants—five from Innovate UK and one from the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), managed by the Ministry of Defence. Investors in the company include Oxford Science Enterprises, Lansdowne Partners and M&G Investments.
4. Cambridge Epigenetix
Year founded: 2012
Funds raised: £108m
Cambridge Epigenetix develops genome sequencing technology which generates genetic and epigenetic data for DNA analysis. This health technology tool has many uses such as research into ageing, and early diagnosis and disease monitoring, not to mention personalised medicine.
Since spinning out of the University of Cambridge in 2012, Cambridge Epigenetix has raised £108m over seven equity rounds. Its latest equity round closed in November 2021 and raised £74.2m to commercialise its proprietary sequencing technology. This investment from GV (Google Ventures), Ahren Innovation Capital, New Science Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Temasek and Third Point Ventures was for the purposes of research and development.
5. Owlstone Medical
Year founded: 2016
Location: South Cambridgeshire
Funds raised: £88.9m
Owlstone Medical has developed a range of new products which use ‘breath biopsy’ to look for early indications of a range of diseases including respiratory, liver, cardiovascular and cancer.
Founded in 2016, this genomics company is a spinout of Owlstone, a precision medicine company based in Connecticut, USA. Since then, Owlstone Medical has raised a total of £88.9m across five equity rounds. The company kicked off its first equity round in January 2017, in which it raised £9.30m to fund the commercial launch of its product. Further equity rounds enabled the company to grow its product portfolio, build out its technology platform and commercialise its diagnostic tests. Investors in the company include Horizons Ventures, Foxconn Technology Group (Hon Hai), Aviva Ventures and Ventura Capital.
Year founded: 2000
Funds raised: £81.8m
deltaDOT, the oldest company in our ranking, is an academic spinout from Imperial College London. It develops High-Performance Capillary Electrophoresis (HPCE) instruments which it uses to offer research and consultancy services. The company operates in the life sciences, drug testing and diagnostics sectors.
So far, deltaDOT has raised £81.8m across four equity rounds. In its first round back in September 2005, the company raised £2.30m from Nikko Principal Investments, Stonehage Fleming and Touchstone Innovations. Since then, both Stonehage Fleming and Touchstone Innovations have followed up on their investment. It has received a further £101k over two grants, both of which were from Innovate UK.
Year founded: 2018
Funds raised: £80.4m
Spinning out of the University of Oxford in 2018, Refeyn develops technology which makes measuring and imaging molecular mass more easily accessible. Refeyn technology has applications in sample characterisation, as well as analysing protein oligomerisation, bimolecular interactions and macromolecular assemblies.
Refeyn raised its first equity round in August 2018, receiving £700k from Oxford Science Enterprises, Oxford Technology and the University of Oxford Innovation Fund. Since then, it has raised four further rounds with the latest closing for £58.1m in April 2022. This latest round takes Refyn’s post-money valuation to £197m. It has also received grants worth £187k.
Year founded: 2012
Funds raised: £79.1m
Perspectum is another University of Oxford spinout on our list. This company develops advanced imaging technologies to help doctors provide better, more personalised care. Its proprietary technology provides in-depth imaging that can extract biomarkers more intuitively. This allows better diagnoses and faster interventional care.
This startup has raised £79.1m over 9 rounds so far, as well as receiving a whopping 17 grants valued at a total of £6.09m. Its most recent equity round took place just last month and raised £30.2m from Blue Venture Fund, British Patient Capital, OppenheimerFunds and a follow-on investment from HealthQuest Capital. This investment has taken Perspectum’s valuation up to £153m. The company received its most recent grant in January 2021 from Innovate UK for the purpose of developing human tissue processing facilities to support research into composite biomarkers for disease detection.
Year founded: 2008
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Funds raised: £72.6m
QuantuMDx develops molecular diagnostic medical devices. Among its products is the Q-POC SARS-CoV-2 Flu A/B RSV Assay, which was the provider of rapid, 35-minute PCR tests during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The story of QuantuMDx’s growth is an interesting one. It acquired the Welsh company NorthGene in early 2013. Since then, QuantuMDx has achieved a 20% scale-up and featured in the BusinessCloud MedTech 50 high-growth list, which recognises innovative technology used in the medical sector, in 2021. In the past five years, the company has raised £72.6m over 12 equity rounds and has received £19.8m across seven grants. Investors in QuantuMDx include Future Fund, 3B Future Health Fund, Helsinn Investment Fund S.A, University of Newcastle and Vita Spring.
Year founded: 2014
Funds raised: £58.6m
Oxular develops technology and treatments to target retinal diseases. Its use of innovative technologies, namely Oxulumis and Oxuspheres, is intended to improve patient vision and in turn, their quality of life. In its latest news, the company has received IND (investigational new drug) clearance for OXU-001 from the FDA, meaning it can advance onto Phase 2 of clinical trials.
To date, Oxular has raised £58.6m over six equity rounds. Its first round closed in February 2016 and raised £15.5m from Consort Medical, Hovione, NeoMed, Touchstone Innovations and V-Bio Ventures. In its latest round in November 2022, Oxular raised £9.00m. This investment takes the company’s valuation up to £67.3m. In addition to raising equity, Oxular has also received £2.91m across four grants from Innovate UK.