New partnership to drive innovation within Musculoskeletal health

We are delighted to announce a strategic partnership with innovation specialists Impeller Ventures and Shionogi & Co., Ltd. with the aim of accelerating the development of musculoskeletal innovation within the UK.

Impeller Ventures describes itself as a “Jam Today’ innovation business that uses a different approach to innovation. It has created what it describes as ‘the Walled Garden’ approach to focus on the ‘D’ of R&D (development) to bridge the gap between Research and Commercialisation. A Walled Garden is an out-of-the-way part of an existing innovation ecosystem to protect, nurture and grow research projects (described as ‘seeds’ in the language of the Walled Garden) that would otherwise struggle to be translated within the wider landscape.

The Musculoskeletal Walled Garden programme was founded by Impeller Ventures and Shionogi & Co., a Japanese-based pharmaceutical company whose R&D focus areas include diseases affecting the quality of life such as physical mobility. This will be the first time that the Walled Garden innovation model has been used for musculoskeletal health.

Research commissioned by ORUK, which will be presented at an online Innovation Forum in July, has highlighted an innovation gap within musculoskeletal health in the UK. Few ideas are being translated into products or services and many academic researchers lack the skills and support to bring their ideas to market. This is despite the scale of the musculoskeletal health problem affecting the UK, with over 20 million people living with a musculoskeletal condition.

According the ORUK’s CEO, Arash Angadji,

Bridging the gap between a research project and an innovative musculoskeletal solution is challenging, especially if we want to deliver benefits to patients and our healthcare system within a relatively short time span. We already partner with ‘innovation enablers’ such as MedTech SuperConnector (MTSC) and NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme but were attracted by Impeller Venture’s alternative Walled Garden approach to product development. Together, with the valuable support of Shionogi, we hope to bring to market products and service innovations that have the potential to transform the work of clinicians and the lives of patients at scale and at speed.’

Jim Dawton, a director of Impeller Ventures, commented,

Walled Gardens need patrons, and in Shionogi and ORUK we have two with a common purpose and the patience and trust to invest in this approach. Success will depend not on what we do, but on what we achieve – the produce that comes out the garden, not the gardening itself. As the prolific garden designer Gertrude Jekyll wonderfully put it, “A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.”

John Keller, Senior Executive Officer, Senior Vice President, R&D Supervisory Unit, Shionogi & Co.) said,

As a company underpinned by 146 years of scientific heritage and innovation, Shionogi is determined to contribute to people’s ability to live a healthy and productive life. Working with like-minded partners who share our passion for finding solutions to support patients affected by diseases that impact their quality of life is fundamental to this. That’s why we are excited that ORUK is joining Impeller Ventures and ourselves in this innovative Walled Garden approach to seed much needed new ideas and to create potential future solutions for those living with a musculoskeletal condition.’