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Tay Bridge

“The Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher was an excellent support mechanism to develop the partnership with McCormack Innovation.”
Professor Robert Keatch, Engineering & Applied Sciences, University of Dundee

Background

McCormack Innovation Ltd, was initially set up to address the low return rates of bowel or colorectal cancer screening programmes worldwide. Working in partnership with Smartsolve Industries based in Ohio, USA, the business identified an ideal material to be used in stool sample collection that could be harmlessly flushed away.

When the company conducted further research into similar “soluble” materials, they came up with the idea to create an easily removable soluble wound dressing.

Challenge

At the time, there were many types of wound dressings on the market, even those described for use on sensitive skin. However, none of the available range of products included a wound dressing that was secure enough to complete the task in addition to being easily and painlessly removed by showering or spraying with water. The challenge for McCormack Innovation was to create a product that addressed both these needs.

Conventional wound dressings are made of synthetic and plastic fibres and take almost 100 years to biodegrade. Wet wipes flushed into toilets cause 93% of sewer blockages in the United Kingdom. The challenge was to create a ‘soluble’ material wet wipe that would address both these needs.

“It was through the efforts of Interface that McCormack Innovation was fortunate to be hooked up with Professor Robert Keatch and his team at the University of Dundee.”
Brian McCormack, Director, McCormack Innovation Ltd

Solution

The business looked to engage with academia to have the base material dermatologically tested and after being referred by Business Gateway in Fife, Interface was able to match the company with Professor Robert Keatch and Dr Jan Vorstius at the University of Dundee to undergo the following:

Dermatological testing, highlighting any modifications required
Ongoing development of the product for market entry
Determining the appropriateness of the material and suggesting any improvements.
Specialist facilities at the University, along with access to clinicians and medical staff, were used for testing the biomaterials for use in the wound dressing.

In a product report, Professor Keatch and Dr Vorstius said: “All materials under test performed well, keeping their integrity and structure until exposed to water.

“The proposal to use this material as a secondary wound dressing would therefore be viable, providing the outer dressing can be kept dry until removal is required.

“This method would certainly reduce trauma inflicted during bandage removal and retain all the features of the conventional cotton and crepe bandages used.”

It was concluded that the technical results from this project would help inform the further optimisation of the material for use in a number of medical applications. Also, that when ready for production, these innovative products would transform the market and bring about significant clinical improvements and patient relief at the point of care.

Outcomes

  • McCormack Innovation has patented an application for the FlushAway™ “soluble” wounds dressing. Using water dispersible material, these dressings can be used for burns units and patients with other ultrasensitive skin conditions like Epidermolysis Bullosa.
  • The company were nominated for a large number of innovation awards for this product, both nationally and internationally, and were approached by some large biomedical companies interested in licensing the technology.
  • The team have also recently developed a wet wipe that is effective against COVID-19 (laboratory report shows the additives used will kill the virus). They can be safely flushed away without the risk of cross contamination from transporting it as biomedical waste.

“With the help of the University of Dundee and Interface, we now look forward to the next phase of wound dressing, studies and development.”
Brian McCormack, Director, McCormack Innovation Ltd

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