Today we have pleasure in announcing that torc2 Ltd have been formally chosen as one of the ten finalists in the HSBC Elevator Pitch. The article has appeared on both the Daily Telegraph and the HSBC website …
Gary Blundell, Commercial Manager
How did your business start?
The business was incorporated in 2013 and is based around an innovative thermoplastics compound that has the property to be thermally shaped at a temperature comfortable for skin contact, but which is a semi-rigid rubber-like solid at body temperature.
Initially we were developing it as a possible alternative to plaster of Paris for fracture immobilisation. As part of that programme we met up with orthopaedic specialists at University of Warwick’s Medical School and they changed our focus because their suggestion was to develop the material for specialist splints for children with walking difficulties.
The material can be reshaped and moulded on the patient so the turnaround time from clinical assessment to providing the patient with a fitted splint is only two to three days – much faster than traditional methods. It has the potential to bring significant improvements to patient care and cost savings for the health service.
How will your elevator pitch idea drive growth for your business
We’ve determined the process that we need to produce the prototypes to go for clinical trial using 3D printing. We know the material works and we know how we want to produce the material in a production environment. The big thing for us is to accelerate to industrialisation of the 3D layering equipment so we can move from a prototype phase to a fully working commercial unit. We have to get through the clinical trials process, which we have limited control over, but our priority is to be ready to go when that process is complete.
We also want to bring forward sales of non-regulated products such as wrist/hand splints to address conditions such as RSI. Getting those in place will help us to fund the business during the clinical trials.
What challenges do you envisage in achieving your growth targets?
The biggest challenge for us is breaking through the resistance to change in organisations like the orthopaedic commissions and the NHS. So we basically have to clearly highlight both the clinical and patient benefits and, above all, the potential financial savings. From a business point of view, the biggest thing for us is raising the finance to fully develop the system.
What makes your business stand out from the rest?
We’re achieving marvellous, ground-breaking developments on two major technology fronts. We’re combining a material that can be reshaped directly on the patient with a cutting edge 3D process to revolutionise the way in which these bespoke wearable devices are produced. Ultimately our material will allow us to perform a service that currently takes up to 16 weeks, in two to three days.
Why do you think that you should win the Elevator Pitch Competition?
Fully developing this system will change forever the way orthotic services are delivered in the UK and potentially will have benefits for children all over the world that suffer from walking difficulties. As well as cutting down turnaround times, the ability to reshape the material means there is very little waste. Additionally, used splints can be sent to developing countries and be resized and reshaped for the children that need them.
Winning the competition would be life-changing in terms of the speed at which we can develop the products as opposed to doing it through a slower staged investor-funded route.