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28 September 2021

Meet the Health Innovators: a new wave of King's disruptors

A new partnership between the Entrepreneurship Institute and the King's IP and Licensing team will result in a pilot programme supporting Health Innovators.


In addition to the twenty new innovative companies joining the King's20 Accelerator this year, the Entrepreneurship Institute, in partnership with the King's IP and Licencing team, are launching a pilot programme to support and scale a cohort of Health Innovators. 

The Health Innovators are companies that have been developed from a King's research, founded by former or current researchers and PhD students. Also known as spin-outs, these Innovators are supported by the university, which will usually act as a significant shareholder in the company from the start. 

At the Entrepreneurship Institute, we have spent five years perfecting processes and practices to help start ups to start better and scale. We enter our sixth year with significant support ‘assets’ and considerable momentum – 100 start ups have participated in our accelerator and their survival rates are double the national average, they have raised £38m in investment and have created 604 new jobs between them. This year we are delighted to announce a new pilot cohort of health innovators at King’s. They are all innovative spin-outs, developed from research, ready to solve problems relating to health. They are at the very early stages of starting up and, with the right help and support, will be able to begin to deliver impact hopefully during their time with the Entrepreneurship Institute

Julie Devonshire, Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute

The IP & Licensing team is very pleased to be partnering with the Entrepreneurship Institute to provide a coordinated set of support activities to this year’s new cohort of health innovators. The complementary skills in our two teams will ensure we can, together with the innovators, improve the help we can provide for these early stage ventures to navigate through the many challenges of developing their opportunities and growing commercial traction. This is an exciting evolution of the innovation support system at King’s and we hope will deliver real benefit which we can expand out to an even wider group of new opportunities in the King’s pipeline.

Mike Shaw, Director IP & Licensing at King's College London


A unique evidence-based digital therapeutic to treat mental health problems linked to long-term physical health conditions.

Long-term physical health conditions (LTCs) cause both physical symptoms and psychological impact. Research has highlighted that people with LTCs are 2-3 times more likely to develop anxiety/depression than those without. Despite these known connections, many individuals do not receive care that addresses their physical and psychological needs in an integrated way. A lack of LTC-specific mental health treatment protocols means clinical outcomes and completion rates are worse than for those without LTCs. Despite expanding Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies services in England, only an ~12% of the population access therapy. The excess NHS treatment cost is estimated at £8-13B per year, with other social/economic consequences including reduced quality of life and lost working days.

Team: Dr Katrin Hulme | Professor Rona Moss-Morris



Echoes unlocks patient empowerment and creativity by giving thousands of humans the opportunity to record, benchmark and share their heart sounds

The general problem is the one caused by cardiovascular disease, being the largest burden on healthcare system. The specific problems being addressed are: 1. The burden of routine / frequent visits to hospital in lifelong conditions (even more difficult in pandemic scenarios). 2. The anxiety about the unknown progression of your condition until the next visit. 3. The low adherence of young people and teenagers to treatments and routine checks. 4. The lack of education and motivation to make healthy lifestyle choices. 5. The stigma over cardiac life-long conditions, and the difficult communication among family members. Besides, we envision the generation of value by unlocking creativity in music and general artistic sectors.

Team: Pablo Lamata



CIRCuiTs teaches cognition and, uniquely metacognition, skills which allows people to attain personal goals and have a better recovery from mental health conditions.

Poor cognition affects recovery in mental health conditions. Cognitive Interactive Remediation of Cognition and Thinking Skills (CIRCuiTS) is unique in offering a different type of cognitive remediation to help with these conditions. It uses metacognition which helps to transfer cognitive skills from the computer tasks to the real world. This includes teaching strategies and self-monitoring skills. Traction: There is scientific evidence including independent evaluations of benefits to both cognition and functioning and satisfaction with CIRCuiTS therapy. The software is available in 8 languages - including American English. 24 public and private organisations across 10 countries have current licenses for clinical and research use. Over 100 licenses have been provided and our longest-licensed customer (over five years) is the NHS. Approximately 3500 clients have received CIRCuiTS, with close to 1000 therapists registered. Value Proposition: CIRCuiTS is better than other standalone programmes because it offers flexibility of access and a trained therapist. Both factors are not provided by other systems and are known to benefit the therapeutic outcomes. The programme can also be changed for different cultures e.g. changing the food to Halal and there is a simple system for translating into outer languages. It also have independent scientific support. The provision of online training also means that there are fewer barriers to inclusion in health services. Therapists do not have to be highly trained, just supervised by a clinician.

Team: Professor Til Wykes, Dr Matteo Cella and Adam Crowther



LENS: Learning Effective New Strategies

Anxiety disorders affect 264 million people a year worldwide. We need more accessible, effective interventions. Our web-based intervention reduces anxiety.

Worry predicts and maintain anxiety. Worry and anxiety are maintained by a tendency to draw negative conclusions from uncertain/ambiguous information (interpretation bias). People without worry or anxiety generate positive interpretations.

Team: Dr Colette Hirsch


PACE: Paediatric Actigraphy for Clinical Evaluation -

ACE (Paediatic Actigraphy for Clinical Evaluation), is a unique, unobtrusive wearable-digital platform which will revolutionise diagnosis and monitoring of ADHD

ADHD is a life-long disorder that presents in early childhood. One in twenty children have ADHD, but even in well-resourced countries only 25% of children with ADHD will receive a diagnosis and access to treatment. Non-treatment has significant lifetime adverse impacts.

Team: Dr Johnny Downs



SlowMo is a digitally-supported therapy for paranoia that helps people slow down to find ways of feeling safer and live well.

Paranoia, or fear of harm from others, is the most common symptom of schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, and also occurs transdiagnostically. It has significant personal, social and economic consequences. As clinicians in the NHS and academic researchers, we know that existing therapies only have small effects, are off putting for many and reach only a fraction of eligible people.

SlowMo solves these problems by first increasing therapy effectiveness by targeting a causal mechanism, reasoning (or fast thinking), in paranoia, and second, by using inclusive, human-centred design to improve the accessibility and appeal of therapy for a diversity of patients and therapists.

Team: Amy Hardy | Phillippa Garety | Thomas Ward


STOP: Successful Treatment of Paranoia

An app for people struggling with paranoia: turning the bad thoughts good

One third of us suffer with distressing paranoid thoughts that reduce our ability to enjoy life. For around 2% this becomes a mental health issue needing psychiatric hospital treatment. Paranoid thoughts often persist even after a person has received supposedly effective psychological therapy (which is expensive and hard to find) or medication (which has unpleasant side effects). But research into paranoid thinking suggests there is a relatively simple way to turn the bad thoughts into good thoughts, just by using the weekly ‘thinking practice’ exercises in our app. The way the exercises work has been carefully developed from basic research and the content of the exercises uses libraries of highly specific real-life examples relevant to paranoid thinking that have been collated over decades.

Users of the app learn how to think differently about things that typically trigger paranoia and how to apply this way of thinking across all areas of life. And like any other skill, enough practice leads to learning a long-lasting change in thought processes, meaning fewer paranoid thoughts and less distressing paranoia.

Team: Jenny Yiend | Chewei (Jerry) Hsu


Urban Mind

Urban Mind is a platform which enables researchers and practitioners to develop custom-made user-friendly smartphone apps for measuring people’s experiences and behaviours in real time.

It can be used to collect both active data – via prompts that invite people to log their experiences into their phone – and passive data - via background monitoring (e.g. geo-location). The platform is flexible, with researchers and practitioners able to decide what measures are collected and how often.

Urban Mind has applicability to a wide range of scenarios including academic research, clinical evaluation and urban planning and design. There has been significant interest in the tool from researchers, practitioners and charities, resulting in several commissions raising a total of £95K.

Lead: Professor Andrea Mechelli