Women In Innovation Success Stories: Helen Maddock, InoCardia, West Midlands

Posted on: 27.05.2022

Using Artificial Intelligence, Professor Helen Maddock's innovation assesses the cardiovascular safety of drugs, which can affect the heart in different ways, with some strengthening and improving heart function, and others causing damage and heart failure. . Helen was determined to develop a commercial product that would help make drugs safer, reduce patient side effects and reduce the costs of drug discovery and development.

When Helen joined Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation programme in March 2021, InoCardia was a minimum viable product (MVP)* and ready to be market tested. The funding and support from the programme have been crucial to the development of the product.

Over the past year, Helen and her team have demonstrated success with several therapeutic drugs, displaying the ability to detect cardiotoxicity, faster and more cost-effectively than competitors, and this data has been presented at the Safety Pharmacology Society trade show.

Helen said: “We have entered a new market and are at the early stages of launching our new product. We are also pleased to have been invited to join a consortium developing  tools for the US regulator.

Improving Industry standards

InoCardia is looking to develop even more evaluation techniques to better identify cardiotoxicity in experimental medicines.  Helen says: “There is a need for new assays because current industry standards are poor, leading to safety liability and cardiotoxicity being a leading cause of pharma R&D failure. The need is particularly strong in the earliest stages of R&D, where InoCardia has made its breakthrough.”

Helen hopes this will open up new markets, open doors to industry regulators and will increase demand.

In 2021, InoCardia developed two products from MVPs. The company will kick off an extensive marketing campaign in 2022 with additional full-time employees, and they aim to market three new products in 2022.

Personal Journey

Experience turning customer interest into sales, accessing external funding, protecting intellectual property, getting buy-in from stakeholders, learning the language of business and understanding market dynamics, have all been areas of growth for Helen. She said: “I have gained considerable confidence in my entrepreneurial skills, done a great deal of networking and made progress in overcoming the imposter syndrome.”

She continued: “This award [Women in Innovation] has not only helped give me more confidence in my abilities as a leader and female tech innovator but also helped raise the company’s profile. It has enabled me to promote InoCardia’s vision within the pharmaceutical industry and provided me with the access to business support, networking events and opportunities to attract further investment.”

Wider support

Helen said: “The bootcamps have been amazing and extremely beneficial and influential. The Innovate UK KTN partners have also provided great support so I would advise future award winners to go for it! Applying for the Women in Innovation Award was the best thing I could have ever done. This really boosted my confidence and it has been a truly amazing experience.”

 

* This means a product has been introduced to the market with basic features. The final product is released in the market only after getting sufficient feedback from the product’s initial users.

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Women in Innovation

Innovate UK’s Women In Innovation programme consists of funding competitions and events that enables brilliant women to fully achieve their visions and change the world, while championing and celebrating gender diversity throughout UK innovation.