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Product | People | Potential – our chat with MediSieve

We caught up with George Frodsham, CEO of MediSieve, as part of ‘Product | People | Potential’. MediSieve’s goal is to provide doctors with a tool to remove harmful components from the bloodstream to treat bloodborne diseases.

The purpose of article series ‘Product | People | Potential’ is to feature and showcase the very best UK start-ups with great potential, truly inspiring businesses that are shaking up their sector. We capture and share the stories behind the name. We collate authentic peer to peer real-talk, while celebrating the growth and success thus far and gather a glimpse of what’s ahead.

Zoe @ADLIB: Hi George, great to meet you! Please, can you kick us off with an introduction to yourself and MediSieve.

George: I am the founder and CEO at MediSieve. We are developing a technology called magnetic blood filtration that provides doctors with an extracorporeal therapy against bloodborne diseases, to remove harmful substances such as infective cells, inflammatory cytokines, toxins, and pathogens from the blood stream.

MediSieve was founded in 2015 and since then have grown the team out to 12 people. We have just received additional funding for a clinical trial next year, researching if the inflammatory cytokine, interleukin 6, in COVID-19 can be removed, as this is the factor that leads to a dysregulated immune response.

Zoe @ADLIB: Can you share the story behind the origin of MediSieve?

George: MediSieve was spun out of my PhD. I am a physicist and engineer by training, but was very interested in nanotechnology and applying physics to real scale scenarios that provide a benefit to people’s lives.

The idea initially came from the idea that we could stick antibodies onto nanoparticles to remove Leukaemia cells from the blood. This was something that never really had been done before, so I was curious as to whether this was because it was an innovative idea or because it was impossible.

Zoe @ADLIB: Can you share some challenges you have faced when looking for people to join?

George: We have experienced a wide range of scientific, technical and start-up challenges as there is no set path to the way we should be doing things. We are trying to do a lot with a small amount of investment and workforce.

As you build out your company, there are a lot of things to think about. From making sure the team works, to forming the right structure to them understanding their roles and to bringing in the culture you want.

Zoe @ADLIB: What has been your approach to understanding and implementing product-market fit?

George: We know that we can provide this capability, but there are a lot of questions over what is it that we want to remove from the blood at what stage and from who. The only way these questions can be answered is by talking to experts in the domain to see if there is a need and whether it will work.

Zoe @ADLIB: What challenges have you had to overcome to create MediSieve?

George: There are many challenges that arise when spinning out a company and then scaling it up. These range from investment, recruitment and science. It is quite easy for people to think that it is just the product, but it’s actually also about how it is used, what the laws are surrounding it and how you are going to get it to market in the end. There are challenges finding the appropriate workforce, labs and developing culture.

Zoe @ADLIB: Investment can often be a challenge for start-ups & scale-ups. Do you have any piece of wisdom you could share around best approach?

George: It is important to listen to the feedback given by investors as the same stuff will come up again and again. If they say no, always play the network game and ask for names of investors who may be interested and when you have a few on board, use this to snowball others.

A lot of people may have the approach to define their entire business plan before speaking to investors, but this is not good as it means they cannot input into the process. You have got to sell the vision and the dream and make investors believe in the change that you are trying to implement in the world and then show them it can be real.

You must let go of the fear of making the right decision, but instead just don’t make the wrong decision.

Thank you so much for your time.