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Trio’s Genii for ostomates – those who have an opening (or stoma) for the discharge of body wastes – is made of its breathable silicone, a world-first patented material. With more than 102,000 patients in the UK alone, the meditech specialist’s innovation is focused on being a game-changer in a sector where progress has lagged despite some 45 percent suffering side-effects.
Its Genii open bag that has just been launched will be followed by a closed version in April, with both available from the NHS and Amazon.
Production is at Trio’s base in Skipton, Yorkshire, where expansion into a second unit, complete with £1million of new machinery developed in partnership with a UK engineering firm, will double capacity.
And, following US patent approval, the company has also opened an office in New Jersey, joining those in Singapore and Dubai, as it steps up international operations in a global market worth £2.2 billion.
The company’s technology replaces traditional pouch solutions, known as hydrocolloids, that attach well to the body but, because they aren’t breathable, repel moisture that needs to escape.
This can cause tremendous mental and physical problems for patients through bag leaks and disintegration as well as skin damage and allergies.
These are triggered when pouches have to be detached and changed, a process normally happening at least twice a day.
Chairman and majority co-investor Richard Anderson, a wound care business expert, bought in three years ago after seeing Trio’s potential.
He views the innovations, developed using novel screen printing technology, as a long-overdue win for patients and for the NHS through cost savings.
“Our stoma accessories and bags are highly secure, but easier to remove, longer-lasting and far more gentle. They transform lives and no other company offers this material,” explains Anderson.
“Those living with an ostomy today, and they are of all ages, aren’t prepared to put up with inadequate, old-fashioned products. There are more than one million people globally who want to live full lives, to exercise freely, cycle, practise yoga and enjoy relationships, not feel repressed and fearful. They talk openly about their condition and this helps spur change.
“Our Genii bags are tailored to life today. They match different skin tones and shapes, they compare price-wise to other bags but require fewer changes. We manufacture in-house and will continue to do so when sales increase in the US.”
Trio’s breathable silicone formulation was invented in 2006 by founder Lloyd Pearce who, after seeing hydrocolloid’s shortcomings at first hand, set out to find a better alternative.
These resulted in the polymer Sil2 and initially breathable bag attachments which have gone on to win Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and have attracted millions of pounds of funding.
The company now employs 50 with the aim of a 250-strong workforce as it scales. Investors include US backer SWK Holdings which put in £7.2million last year to scale up global expansion, and working capital support from HSBC.
Turnover is forecast to top £54 million by 2024 and collaboration discussions are underway regarding further applications for Trio’s breathable silicone in the wound care field.
“We translate real science into commercial success and our independence enables us to be very nimble,” says Anderson, a passionate advocate for UK production and making the north the world’s leading meditech centre.
As for Trio’s place in this revolution, “we will be its first meditech unicorn,” he declares.
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