SageTech Awarded InnovateUK Grant

SageTech Medical Equipment, in collaboration with the University of Exeter Medical School, has secured a £762,000 Innovate UK award to commercialise SageTech’s unique anaesthetic recycling technology.

SageTech is developing cutting edge anaesthetic technology for human and veterinary healthcare providers by delivering smarter ways to save costs and emissions.

The funding is to be provided through the Government’s modern industrial strategy by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

Against project costs of approximately £1.5m, SageTech Medical Equipment Ltd plans to:

  • collect waste anaesthetic agent across multiple NHS Trusts, with the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust taking a lead role in clinical optimisation;
  • develop a new, full-scale anaesthetic purification facility based in Paignton, Devon, bringing skilled jobs and investment to the region;
  • independently validate the environmental emissions reduction and cost savings provided by SageTech’s technology in collaboration with the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, part of Exeter University’s Medical School;
  • achieve regulatory licences for SageTech’s flagship product; and
  • establish first market access in UK.
  • SageTech are currently taking investment expressions of interest to match fund the Innovate UK award, finalise development and fulfil its commercial pipeline.

    SageTech has developed a unique process for the capture, extraction and purification of inhalational anaesthetics such that they can be placed back on the market under licence. This will create the first ever circular economy for a pharmaceutical product.

    SageTech’s technology will reduce both the cost and environmental pollution of anaesthesia in the UK and globally. It will increase access to the most recent anaesthetic agents, improving patient care and theatre efficiency, and provide much needed, skilled jobs in Devon.

    Inhalational anaesthetic agents represent a large, growing market but because they are minimally metabolised, up to 95% of agent used is currently vented directly into the atmosphere. Because the agents are HFCs, they are highly pollutive – 1kg of commonly-used anaesthetic, desflurane, for example, is the equivalent of 2,500kg of CO2 . Globally, inhalational anaesthetic agents contribute over 2.2m tonnes of CO2e p.a. However, legislation designed to curb and eradicate HFCs is not currently enforced for anaesthetic agents because viable recycling solutions are not available.

    With the support of the Innovate UK award, SageTech will develop a waste anaesthetic collection programme across multiple NHS Trusts, as well as a commercial-scale anaesthetic purification plant. SageTech will also submit regulatory licence applications and establish UK market access through NHS procurement. SageTech is currently working in collaboration with the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust to optimise the implementation of the technology within the NHS.

    As a partner in the Innovate UK award, The European Centre for the Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) will independently assess the environmental impact of SageTech’s technology.

    SageTech is consulting with the UK’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to understand how the reduction in HFC emissions using SageTech’s technology can support the UK government’s phase down obligations and the carbon budget. The ECEHH study will complement this consultation.

    Co-founder and Research Director, Sebastian Brown said, “At SageTech, we have a clear ambition to be the leader of sustainable anaesthesia worldwide. We are delighted to have secured an Innovate UK award for this unique project and look forward to working with the European Centre for Environment and Human Health to address the huge problem of environmental emissions in anaesthesia”.

    ECEHH Senior Lecturer, Dr Karyn Morrissey said, “Technology that mitigates the impact of health services on the environment is essential; however, given current resource constraints, all new technologies must be cost effective. Given the environmental and subsequent human health impacts of anaesthetic gases, the ECEHH are excited to provide a full environmental and economic cost benefit analysis of SageTech’s technology”.

    The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Clinical Innovation lead, Pete Ford said, “It is very exciting for the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital to be partnered with SageTech and to be involved with helping develop this technology. This is one of the smartest innovations in anaesthesia for many decades. It will completely change the way we deliver anaesthetics to patients. It’s a real show stopper. I am proud to say it puts Devon on the global map in terms of developing exciting healthcare innovations”.

    Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP and Chair of the Commons Health Select Committee said of SageTech, “I support examining the opportunities for innovation to reduce both financial and environmental costs whilst maintaining the safety of anaesthetic practice.”

    About SageTech Medical Equipment

    SageTech was founded in 2015 by anaesthetist, Seb Brown, and entrepreneur, Mark Rushworth. Frustrated with expensive, needlessly complex anaesthetic solutions, Seb wanted to leverage technology to reduce the cost and environmental impact of anaesthesia. Seb and Mark found a combined passion to create a novel, innovative solution which addressed the need to reform anaesthetics and enable flexible theatre design globally. They share a vision to make SageTech the leader of sustainable anaesthesia worldwide through SageTech’s proprietary anaesthetic recycling technology, radically changing the impact that anaesthesia has on hospital costs and environmental emissions.

    For further information, visit

    About the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health

    The European Centre for the Environment and Human Health, based out of Exeter University’s Medical Department, conducts world-class research into the complex links between the environment and human health.

    For further information, visit

    About UK Research and Innovation

    UK Research and Innovation is a new organisation that brings together the UK Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England into a single organisation to create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish. The vision is to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

    For further information visit

    About the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

    The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to bring together the UK’s world leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. The fund was created to provide funding and support to UK businesses and researchers, part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years. It was designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. It is run by UK Research and Innovation.

    About DEFRA

    DEFRA is the UK government department responsible for safeguarding the UK’s natural environment, supporting its world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy.

    For further information, visit DEFRA’s homepage

    Press Release Contact

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