UK start-up Motilent has been awarded additional funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NHIR), which will be used to develop and roll out technology to provide data-led insights into inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease.

The company specialises in the assessment of digestive diseases using AI medical image analysis. It received an initial £685k investment from the NIHR which was used to accelerate the development of GiQuant, a tool which measures and tracks movement of the intestine.

An additional £562k of NIHR funding will now be used to support the rollout of GiQuant to NHS hospitals including University College London Hospital, Nottingham University Hospital and Frimley Park Hospital.

Alex Menys, CEO, Motilent said: “One of the first questions we are asked is ‘who else is using GIQuant?’ and through this grant we have an opportunity to really drive the tech into a lot of different types of hospitals and give the clinical community the time (and resource) to see how GIQuant can fit their workflows. This of course builds on regulatory clearance and a large number of published papers, but there is no substitution for hands-on use.”

GiQuant is used alongside MRI scans to provide insights into disease progression and treatment response. The data is collected non-invasively and can be used by clinicians to identify ineffective treatments faster, and speed up the treatment journey for those with Crohn’s disease.

Stuart Taylor, professor of medical imaging at UCL, said: “There is a real clinical need to improve the diagnosis and monitoring of gastrointestinal diseases. GIQuant holds considerable promise as a non-invasive tool to measure the inflammatory burden in Crohn’s disease and help clinicians better manage patients. This study will allow us to deploy GIQuant within real world clinical practice and evaluate its impact.”

The technology is already used within the NHS – including at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

As well as funding the wider roll out of the technology in the NHS it will also support a retrospective study on historic MRI scans to help drive change in the clinical management of Crohn’s disease.

The funding was awarded through the NIHR’s Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme, which is supporting the development of medical technologies to advance treatment for gut issues.

Raffaella Roncone, head of innovation and enterprises for NIHR’s i4i programme, added: “Motilent’s innovative work to find better ways to see inside the gut and monitor how treatment is working really has the potential to improve patients’ lives, and make the healthcare system more effective.”

Back in 2019 Motilent were part of the fourth cohort of health tech companies to join the DigitalHealth.London’s accelerator programme.