Business development consultant and microbiologist, Dr Cheryl Scott, has recently joined the West of England AHSN as our Industry and Innovation Lead.
This is a key new role within the organisation, designed to head up the support service we offer to healthcare innovators from industry, academic and clinical backgrounds.
The support provided by Cheryl and the team will help innovators understand and navigate the NHS. This includes providing early clinical feedback on innovators’ products or ideas and whether they meet identified needs, identifying appropriate clinical pathways, looking at what evidence the NHS would require for adoption, and supporting innovators to run proof of value projects to gather data and evidence required for commissioning. The team also signposts innovators to services provided by other organisations, such as regulatory advice.
With an academic background in microbiology, immunology and pathogenicity, Cheryl’s career in the health technologies and life sciences sector started in diagnostic sales, before she set up her own business in sales and distribution of laboratory equipment, which she sold six years later with a turnover of £6 million.
From here she moved into business innovation and developed a keen interest in disruptive technology – managing projects and programmes within both public and private sector roles, working alongside academia, NHS, pharmaceutical and government stakeholders to support individuals and SMEs with their business development and funding. This included business development for life sciences at the University of Brighton and for the South East Bioscience Finance Advisory Service.
Having developed an impressive network of contacts, Cheryl then moved into consultancy and mentoring, and it was during this period that she was invited to develop the first business plan for Kent Surrey Sussex AHSN.
Cheryl explains: “This was really exciting for me because through all my work with start-ups, the one big problem was accessing the NHS. You can’t put a business plan and sales forecast together if you don’t know how long it’s going to take you to access the NHS and companies were hitting this brick wall, time after time. The NHS was missing out on so many fantastic innovations, and so when the government announced the Academic Health Science Networks were going to be formed, it was like ‘finally, someone’s recognised the problem’.”
Relocating from the South East to the South West, Cheryl has worked in local government as Town Clerk for the last five years, empowering a town council to lead its residents in formulating a future strategic development and community engagement strategy for their rapidly expanding town.
On starting her role with us at the West of England AHSN, Cheryl says: “This is the job I’ve always wanted. It’s the dream job because it’s the missing link in my career. I’ve done the whole innovation stage journey, from initial concept through to sales. But there’s always been this bit missing in the middle – to help health tech companies be able to sell into the NHS.
“As we know, the NHS is under huge pressure, and this pressure has only been increased further by Covid-19. Working to identify innovations with the potential to alleviate some of these pressures, by matching a healthcare need, is so exciting. My role here is about facilitating that.”
Posted on November 23, 2021