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King's spin-out company launches new technology

Posted on 14/06/2011
A new spin-out company created at King’s College London, Centron Diagnostics Ltd, is launching its revolutionary new technology this week – a device that measures central blood pressure easily, speedily and non-invasively.

The launch coincides with Universities Week 2011 and the ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ campaign, which aims to highlight how universities benefit everyone, whether or not they have gone to university themselves. This week sees higher education institutions around the country take part in a variety of local, regional and national activities designed to demonstrate the extraordinary, life-changing work of universities. The campaign highlights the impact universities in the UK have on the individual, the local community, its businesses, and the future of the UK. 

The new central blood pressure monitor incorporates technology developed by Professor Phil Chowienczyk’s research group in King’s College London’s cardiovascular division. The company was incorporated in conjunction with co-founder Christopher Lawson who worked with Professor Chowienczyk previously to produce the world’s first hand-held lung function monitor. Mr Lawson specialises in product design, transforming conceptual ideas into user-friendly instruments. 

Central blood pressure – blood pressure near the heart – is thought to provide a better measure of cardiovascular risk than the conventional measurement of blood pressure in the upper arm. It is emerging as a new “target” for blood pressure treatment. A simple technique for determining central blood pressure will, therefore, be invaluable for future clinical trials relating to central blood pressure. 

Most existing central blood pressure devices involve holding a pressure sensor over an artery. This is time consuming and requires a skilled operator. The Centron monitor is put on the patient in the same way as an arm blood pressure monitor, making it easy-to-use and requiring no specialised training. Centron’s new device will produce both traditional arm blood pressure as well as central blood pressure. As well as being easy to use, Centron’s central blood pressure monitor costs significantly less than the more complex, non-invasive monitors currently in use.

Professor Ajay Shah, Head of King’s British Heart Foundation (BHF) Centre commented: “We believe the role of central blood pressure monitoring will increase substantially over the coming years as its use as a more effective predictor of cardiovascular risk and response to treatment becomes recognised by doctors world-wide. Centron’s incorporation plays a major part in bringing this technology to the fore through the new monitor’s ease of use. I am pleased that the investment in multidisciplinary PhD studentships by our BHF Centre has resulted in this example of innovative bioengineering.” 

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director of the BHF, added: “One of our aims in establishing our BHF Centres of Excellence was to attract multidisciplinary talent to cardiovascular research. We are pleased to see outputs ranging from advances in basic science to the launch of diagnostic products with the potential to help in the fight against heart disease.”

Dr Alison Campbell, Managing Director of King’s Business, which helped facilitate the formation of this new company, said: “Centron provides yet another example of the College’s world-class research and innovation leading to tangible benefits in patient care. I am delighted to see that King’s has been instrumental in this ‘bench to bedside’ initiative and will follow Centron’s progress with interest. ”

For further information about the monitor,please contact Christopher Lawson on 020 8468 1092. Or alternatively you can contact the King’s press office on 0207 848 3202 or email

Notes for editors

Centron Diagnostics

Centron Diagnostics specialises in innovative non-invasive cardiovascular measurement. It combines leading-edge intellectual property with user-friendly design. The team behind Centron were pioneers in the development of the world’s first hand-held lung function analysers and will use their expertise to bring otherworld-leading devices to the cardiovascular universe.

For more information about Centron’s central blood pressure monitor, please contact Christopher Lawson on 020 8468 1092, or see

King’s Business

King’s Business connects innovators to the wealth of knowledge andexpertise at King’s College London. The team develops partnerships andcommercial opportunities with business, industry and the public sector across awide range of disciplines, including providing support to develop new opportunities into spin-out companies. Assistance ranges from sourcing funding and engaging professional advisers to negotiating investmentagreements and providing board support. The result is real-world application for King’s research and innovation, producing long-term public benefit and impact. See more at

Universities Week is taking place from 13-19 June 2011, and aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities.  A full list of events taking place can be found at Supporters can also find out more about the campaign by joining the Universities Week Facebook fan page at 

The campaign is being co-ordinated by Universities UK, the representative body for all UK universities.

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