A point-less invention transforms injections

The needle-free Implaject could revolutionise syringes, and it's all thanks to Dr Charles Potter. Russell profiles a small business with a big challenge


Dr Charles Potter started Oxford-based Caretek Medical Ltd in 2001 to develop his invention, the Implaject
TM needle-free injection system

Dr Charles Potter started Oxford-based Caretek Medical Ltd in 2001 to develop his invention, the Implaject TM needle-free injection system

Sunbathing in the Maldives... not the most obvious place to start a new business. But it was where Dr Charles Potter, 37, had his "light bulb" moment: how to give medicines by injection without the need for a traditional needle and syringe. "Having the idea was the easy bit", says the Cambridge- educated engineer, "but turning that into a real business has taken a lot of hard work."

The idea involves a spring-loaded device that pushes a tiny "pioneer tip" through the skin followed by the drug being injected. The clever bit is that the pioneer tip then dissolves in the skin. And with no needle involved, the problems of needle-phobia, cross contamination and needle disposal are all eliminated.

With support from his wife Meg and other family members, Charles spent three years working part-time on his invention in order to be able to file patents and develop a working prototype. A SMART award of £45,000 from the DTI in 2002 was very timely. But when Charles set about marketing it to large pharmaceutical companies they all wanted the answer to a single question: "Does it hurt?"

The answer to that question could only come from a proper clinical study with volunteers to compare Charles' invention with a traditional needle and syringe. But such studies are very expensive and a lack of cash could have killed the venture had Charles not found funding. Enter Lucius Cary of Seed Capital Ltd, investment adviser to the Oxford Technology Venture Capital Trusts, who saw the potential and agreed to invest £100,000.

With funding in place, Charles was able to undertake the volunteer study. And the result? Volunteers did actually prefer injections with Charles' system. Armed with that excellent outcome, it didn't take long for Charles to enter into a number of development agreements with multi-national drug companies.

But even with the rosy outlook for the invention, building the company into a credible organisation also takes funding. Enter Lucius Cary again. Having made nearly 100 investments in technology-based businesses since 1983, Mr Cary is well-respected among the investment community and was able to help raise a further £500,000 for Charles in February.

And so is Charles off to the Maldives again for his next idea? "Not just yet," he says, "although a second honeymoon would be nice. We spent the first one trekking down the Amazon." Like many inventors, Charles finds it hard to sit still.

www.caretekmedical.co.uk; 01865 405 130

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn