Fourth State to deliver space age technology

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Partnership between: the University of Surrey and FOURTH STATE

Surrey-based SME, Fourth State has signed up to the national SPRINT programme to access funded support and space expertise from the University of Surrey’s Surrey Space Centre, from which the company spun out in 2012.

This access to space-enabled resources will help Fourth State to develop an innovative plasma-based solution for the UK and global healthcare sectors based on its proprietary technology.

The £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities to help businesses develop new commercial products for space and space-enabled sectors.

Fourth State will work with the Surrey Space Centre to optimise its existing product for non-surgical cosmetic treatments and to develop a disruptive new solution for the treatment of wounds. The NHS spent an estimated £5bn on wound care in 2012/13 (comparable to spending on obesity and cancer) and costs are poised to skyrocket in coming years owing to an ageing population, increasing antimicrobial resistance and increasing prevalence of obesity and diabetes.

Plasma is the fourth state of matter (solid, liquid, gas, plasma) and the Surrey Space Centre has significant expertise in the application of plasma in space propulsion systems. Plasma technology adapted for operation at atmospheric pressure can deliver improved non-surgical cosmetic treatments without the damage of conventional technologies, and kill drug-resistant bacteria while promoting the growth of healthy tissue.

Dr Tom Wantock, Research & Innovation Manager at Fourth State, said: “The SPRINT programme is a perfect fit for us. The company was founded on the idea of applying knowledge and skills developed in the UK space sector, in plasma physics and spacecraft systems engineering, to healthcare. It’s great to be working again with the Surrey Space Centre to take our products to the next level and accelerate the delivery of plasma’s benefits to patients and healthcare providers worldwide.”

SPRINT is supported by Research England and the Scottish Funding Council. It is being delivered by a consortium of five of the UK’s leading space universities, led by the University of Leicester and including the University of Edinburgh, The Open University, University of Southampton and University of Surrey.

Ian James, Innovation Advisor – SPRINT programme at the University of Surrey said: “Fourth State have a particularly exciting proposition that can make a real difference to national and international healthcare providers and their patients. The expertise and facilities available at the University of Surrey are at the cutting edge of space technology and will enable Fourth State to accelerate the development and deployment of their plasma-based solution.”

Ross Burgon, Head of the national SPRINT programme added: “This project is the latest engagement in the long relationship between the University of Surrey and Fourth State Medicine. It demonstrates the impact that ongoing collaboration between business and academia, which the SPRINT programme enables, can achieve for the benefit of society.”

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