Oval Medical Technologies Limited is based in Cambridge and has broad expertise in design and development of drug delivery devices focusing on vials, prefilled syringes and autoinjectors. The company was born out of what it saw as a need for radical innovation in the design of autoinjectors.
Backgrounder: Oval has pulled together a team of world-leading experts to utilise the best existing materials and mechanisms in a novel configuration to produce a revolutionary device.
Matthew Young’s past experience includes work on numerous autoinjectors and many other drug delivery devices for a leading product development consultancy specialising in this area. He founded Oval Medical Technologies in February 2009 to develop and commercialise the next generation of autoinjectors.
1. Can you walk us through your business model?
Oval is actively seeking to collaborate with partners to design and develop combination products; those that combine a device and a drug rather like the existing Epipen. Oval designs and develops novel syringes, vials and autoinjectors but will not manufacture these. This model allows Oval to remain lean and to leverage its core strength of autoinjector development.
2. How do you plan to utilise the seed funding you recently raised?
The seed funding has been used to expand the team through the addition of Louisa Harvey in Business Development and Martyn Young in Device Development and to produce our first prototype devices. The company is now very well placed to begin working with partner pharmaceutical companies to bring the next generation of autoinjectors onto the market.
3. How long will the round last and what are your funding plans for the medium term?
Oval is well funded to carry out its business plan. It anticipates that there will be future funding rounds in order to allow for further growth and development of autoinjectors. For now our focus is on attracting commercial partners for collaboration on combination products.
4. Are there any challenges you face as a medical devices business that perhaps other start-ups don’t face?
All start-ups face the same challenges of having adequate funds to secure enough commercial traction. Oval is very pleased with its progress to date. In a little over 12 months it has closed a twice oversubscribed funding round and has attracted the attention of several of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Oval is confident that the market exists for the next generation of autoinjectors and that the products we are developing will be well received.
5. How is the recession affecting you as an early stage business?
Like all start up businesses in a recession, Oval is managing its cash flow to ensure that we continue to be commercially viable. This is good business practice but becomes vital during times such as we are facing at the moment.
6. How important is the presence on your board of so many experienced entrepreneurs?
Oval is immensely pleased with the quality and expertise of the individuals who have joined not just the Board but also the Scientific Advisory Board. These bring a level of knowledge, expertise and networks, which are invaluable to the company as it grows.
7. In what areas will you be expanding your team over the next 12 to 18 months?
The next 12 to 18 months will be very exciting for Oval. We have grown to a team of seven over the last year and expect this to increase as the company attracts commercial deals. The makeup of the team will reflect the needs of our partner companies.
8. How big is the market you are targeting?
We are targeting pharmaceutical companies manufacturing/developing fragile novel biologics, biosimilars, generic and crisis drugs. This market is very large and growing as pharmaceutical companies develop new biological drugs and increasingly more patients are giving their own injections at home.
9. What competition do you face in your segment?
There are other autoinjector designers and developers who are competitor companies. Oval is confident that the novel technology we have will make the use of autoinjectors intuitive for patients and will also attract the attention of drug companies, so that we can secure a significant market share.
10. What - if any - dialogue have you had with potential partners/customers?
Our technology is so novel and innovative that it has attracted a number of global pharmaceutical companies and we are currently in the process of having formal face-to-face meetings with them.