Novarix: Interview with Lise Kagenow: Inventor and Entrepreneur




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Video title: Novarix: Interview with Lise Kagenow: Inventor and Entrepreneur
Released on: March 01, 2008. © PharmaVentures Ltd
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  • Summary
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  • Participants
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Fintan Walton talks to Lise Kagenow, Managing Director of Novarix. Lise explains how her early career prompted her to become an inventor and entrepreneur and set up Novarix as a company. She goes on to talk in more detail about her first invention Stabi-Line™: a patented medical device to stabilise iv infusion lines. They discuss the steps involved in bringing an invention to market - from developing the idea and raising finance, to licensing the product for commercialisation. The interview concludes with Lise talking about the ‘Innovation Advisory Service’ scheme which she established to provide advice to budding inventors.
Lise Kagenow's background and the ideas behind the inventions.
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaVentures Business Review face-to-face here in London. On this show I have Lise Kagenow, who is I'd call an Entrepreneur and Inventor, welcome to the show.
Lise Kagenow:
Yeah, thank you.
Fintan Walton:
Lise, you are actually a Director or co-director of a company called Novarix based in Oxford?
Lise Kagenow:
Yeah.
Fintan Walton:
And your origins are quite interesting because I am always interested in talking to people who are both inventors and entrepreneurs can you just tell me a little bit about what your background is?
Lise Kagenow:
Sure. I have an early background as a qualified nurse and later on I got a Master of Science in Economics and using those two backgrounds as a Sales Manager for a big pharmaceutical company.
Fintan Walton:
Okay. So you are basically you're obviously from your accent people will recognize you are not English but you're a Danish.
Lise Kagenow:
Danish, yeah.
Fintan Walton:
(indiscernable) so most of your training was in Denmark is that correct, yeah?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes, yes it was. I came originally here to Oxford to do a PhD in Economics on a completely different area which I've been working in for many years, so yeah.
Fintan Walton:
Right. So but the key thing here is that how I got to know you was in your inventorship your ability to invent and part of that comes from the fact that you were once a nurse, because some of the ideas that you have come up with are ideas that fit around the needs that both patients and nurses have in hospital setting?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes, yes. I think what happened was here few years ago I had a near relative who was hospitalized and I visited and having been out of the field for more many years then I suddenly had the opportunity to see and to sit there quite and think about all the year the little things which are they may be still a problem and I took my, my thoughts went back to when I nurse myself and I was just wondering why it wasn't possible to solve those simple problems when we have all these big machineries and things working there.
Fintan Walton:
Right. Well lot of it is to do, lot of the ideas that you've got in your company called Novarix are medical devices...?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
That enable overcome some of those remaining issues that I would say that nursing and nurse care and then indeed even clinicians have in the hospital setting. So what was your first idea in invention?
Lise Kagenow:
Well I think that was all related to the knowings about these IV lines, kinking IV lines you know when you have a cannula put in then you have infusion fluids going in and then the line is often fixed in a loop and the line would stop the flow and then the patient doesn't get the treatment and that's bad.
Fintan Walton:
That's can be terrible?
Lise Kagenow:
Yeah yes it can and it takes of a lot of time for the nurses and it's inconvenient for the patient. And so I thought simple solution, so there must be a simple way of dealing with that problem.
Fintan Walton:
And how did you do that, what do you come up with?
Lise Kagenow:
I come with a very simple little plastic clip device it's a, I have it here in my hand and it's like this...
Fintan Walton:
Could you just hold it out in your hand like that?
Lise Kagenow:
Yeah, yeah as you see it's a very simple little plastic clip what it does is that it's stabilizes the line you clip it in the line here so it's at a distance yeah the form of the line so it stabilizes the line and the loop, so that how it works.
Fintan Walton:
Very simple idea?
Lise Kagenow:
It is definitely is but it's a...
Fintan Walton:
But important...
Lise Kagenow:
It does the job and it's, and it works.
Fintan Walton:
And it's patented?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes it is, yeah.
Fintan Walton:
Yeah, you've obviously produced it and it's now in commercial it's been commercialized?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes, yes.
The barriers and approaching the issues of commercializing the invention.
Fintan Walton:
Yeah. Again from coming from your background and been an inventor what was it like you know what barriers did you see in front of you when you obviously you were driven by the enthusiasm of your own invention because you thought you had a great idea but then you have to go through all these various issues of commercializing it you know getting money behind you and so forth...
Lise Kagenow:
Yes, yes.
Fintan Walton:
How did you approach that?
Lise Kagenow:
Well that was not where I started actually thinking that about that because I thought such a simple little device it cannot be that difficult to take that forward.
Fintan Walton:
Right.
Lise Kagenow:
I thought okay this is a good idea and then well what do I do next. And next thing would be to actually try to explain to somebody what it was that I wanted and how do you shape it and form it and then create it and get into something physical you can actually show to people. And that was all possible to do in a rather low scale and not to invest too much money and so on. But then starting talking to industry I realized that there are more potential to it than I actually thought about in the first place and then it was time to thinking up scaling and actually thinking in a worldwide market and then I realized that I have to take on investment and so on.
Fintan Walton:
Right. So what obviously what was necessary for anybody to take this forward you have to do some sort of proof of concept or bring it on to the next stage so they can actually believe in it?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes, first of all I had to invent on a vocabulary about trying to explain what it was that I wanted to have made...
Fintan Walton:
Really, yeah.
Lise Kagenow:
Because it's not there and it's a big chunk of the work, but it's actually communication it's trying to explain first to the people the industrial designer and the other peoples you want to involve in the practical work, what it does, what you wanted to do all these barriers to from the medical field you have to have regulatory stuff and things like that. And later on you have convince and talk to investors and try to explain that such a little piece of plastic is actually a good idea.
Fintan Walton:
Right, right indeed. And then the sort of investors you've got where were so who there was so local high networth individuals, business angels who backed that, backed the original idea?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes, yes yeah business angels. Yeah, yes.
Stabi-Line a patented medical device to stabilize IV infusion lines.
Fintan Walton:
Now having got to this stage you've come up with further ideas?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes. Well I thought about how would be the best way to take this to market and understanding a bit about from my economics background that's a huge thing to take on and there might be others who are better to deal with that bit. I made a license agreement with a company in the medical field so they took on Stabi-line as a product and that's freed up my mind to a, yeah to think about other problems I had realized in the field I thought one day when I have time I would like to think about that. So I went on to the next one which is now it's proof of concept is alright and then I have taken it down out to the level where we have the first working looks like and works like model, so now it's just have to a bit down in scale so it will be the right the actual product.
Fintan Walton:
It's a little I know a little bit about it and I - you know this too much about it at this stage?
Lise Kagenow:
Yeah. Well it's still in the field of a intravenous infusion field, yeah.
Fintan Walton:
But it's also a little bit more complex than what you've just showed is that?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes, yes yeah.
Fintan Walton:
But never the less it draws upon some interesting technologies which will hopefully enable?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes. Yeah, yeah having gone down this route and then developed a very simple device, well I could - I suppose I've done the same again and it would have been an easy go and but this new device is obviously more complicated and now I have if not all the same challenges as last time then there is just new set up there, so it's fine.
Fintan Walton:
But its still is there because the reason why you've come up with this idea, these ideas because they over come issues and problems that actually exist there in hospitals today?
Lise Kagenow:
Definitely, yes. One thing is that I think it's a problem but going out and talking to other people in the field nurses and doctors and they confirm yeah it is a problem.
Fintan Walton:
Right.
Lise Kagenow:
And the new devices solving a problem which is actually very high on the NHS agenda for an issue they want to solve and would like to, yeah see somebody deal with.
The creation of IV innnovations exchange network under the Innovation Advisory Service scheme and its functions.
Fintan Walton:
Because the other thing you do and you get involved in as you got this network would you describe the network that you belong to, I think you are actually involved in a creating the network?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes. Yeah, yeah that's another idea.
Fintan Walton:
Could you tell us a little bit about it?
Lise Kagenow:
These are the (indiscernable) ideas, but I just wanted to use the knowledge and the good experience I had accumulated by going through all these different phases here and help other inventors. And I think there are so many good ideas around in the healthcare field from nurses and doctors and the only problem is that it has been difficult to find ways to take them forward and but now they are, in the last few years a lot more attention have been put to innovation environments and things like that, but I created what I call the IV Innovations Exchange and that's the again to....
Fintan Walton:
That's the intravenous, intravenous right?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes. It's because I am part of a scheme called the Innovation Advisory Service financed by SEEDA in the South East of England. And we are 16 advisors working along side each other in different fields and we are three covering the medical, life science, one pharma, one medical devices that's me and then the third for diagnostics. And then I look to create a focused a niche platform where you, which is then within IV because it's a huge and it's the most it's the fastest growing field within healthcare value yeah beyond pharma. But, so there is a lot of interest and the big medical device companies have a huge interest in being involved with small companies and inventors.
Fintan Walton:
Who is in the network Lise, who belongs to the network are those are the nurses, doctors anybody can join or how other people join the IV innovation network?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes, yes they can join it's, there is no limitation to who is allowed to come up with the good ideas.
Fintan Walton:
Right.
Lise Kagenow:
I think the main thing is that it's about trying to stimulate the flow of ideas that's actually the tagline I use for the innovations exchange because a bigger flow of ideas it creates the opportunity for that there just a few more of them which may be take it all the way through to the marketplace. And then on the other hand it's the medical device companies, the big companies who are interested and who actually have the muscles to take devices to the market, they are very open to look at what is out there. We have a very a good cooperation and interaction between all the different companies and the middle sized the SME's they are interested in doing the work and work together with the inventors if they see the potential in the product they would like to take to the market.
Lise Kagenow's advice for people with innovative ideas in medical devices areas.
Fintan Walton:
Sure. With the activities that you've and experiences that you've had what advice, general advice would you give to somebody about coming up with an idea particularly in the medical device area, what would you recommend?
Lise Kagenow:
First I think that if you have an idea it's just give it a go, because it's interesting and it's satisfying to see a thing become reality and seeing it out there. I have realized that through my own experience that I thought up being a nurse I know about that field and I being an economist I know about that. But there are so many other aspects which have to be involved, so getting involved with people who actually know about the commercial process to take it to market that's the sooner that you can actually get people from industry and who knows the market field get them involved the better, its facilitates there the route to market I think.
Fintan Walton:
I suppose that in the end the balance between the invention, the people, the ideas, the advisors then of course is the old just not money?
Lise Kagenow:
Yes, yes.
Fintan Walton:
What advice would you give to people about trying to get money then trying to get investment?
Lise Kagenow:
Well the first thing you need is I think investors are looking for that you have perseverance that you actually have the you give the impression that you actually wanted to carry this through to the boxes and the shelf's on the, yeah on the shelf at the hospital. And that you are prepared to go the way all along to the market, but that you also show them that you are actually willing to step a bit aside and that they could experience and knowledge become a part of the way to the market, because one thing is that you it's your idea and you are convinced if not that you know best may be, but at least you feel you know a lot about it, but it needs so much more than there just being an idea I think.
Fintan Walton:
Okay. Well thanks a lot Lise for coming on the show really appreciated.
Lise Kagenow:
Thank you.
Lise Kagenow
Managing Director
Lise Kagenow is Managing Director of the Oxford, UK-based Company Novarix. Following her career as a qualified nurse in Denmark, she gained an MSc in Economics then became Estates Manager for a large pharmaceutical company. She originally moved to Oxford to study for a PhD in Economics. Lise has used this combined experience to become both an inventor and an entrepreneur.
Novarix Ltd
Novarix Ltd is an innovative company delivering new products to benefit the worldwide healthcare sector. It is located in Oxford, UK, which is home to one of the UK's largest teaching hospitals (the John Radcliffe Hospital). The company's first product to market was Stabi-Line, a single-use medical device that stabilizes IV infusion lines to prevent kinking, increase patient mobility and prolong the lifetime of the IV cannula. The company has a product development pipeline focused on addressing other clinical areas and producing efficient and effective medical devices.