Encircle Medical Devices
Textiles are commodity products. How do you add value and innovate with new textiles to create a high-growth product with global potential?
A MULTI-LAYERED CONCEPT
The Encircle project started out with a big vision: to investigate the future of merino in the high growth medical and healthcare sector.
With funding from the Transform Initiative, we pulled together a highly skilled team to embark on in-depth research, looking to identify new opportunities for next-to-skin merino applications.
PUT THE PRESSURE ON
Clinical and consumer research in hospitals, rest-homes, and pharmacies highlighted a range of common health conditions that all relate to poor venous blood flow.
More than 40% of people over 45 suffer from circulatory problems, ranging from venous stasis, hypertension, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) to ulcers and chronic venous disease (CVD), which is one of the fastest growing chronic diseases. The medical compression market exceeds US$2billion and has had a healthy growth rate.
Armed with these insights, we set out to design the perfect compression therapy and shape the future of patient care for people suffering from CVD. Ideas were quickly conceptualised and prototyped to see what clinical benefits could be obtained from the different ideas.
Feedback from clinical experts and consumer panels focussed the programme into a bi-layer compression device. We developed a proprietary bi-component material made up of merino and Thermocool that creates a micro environment around the skin to assist and regulate the skin or wound.
This material is at the base of a new therapy called Encircle, a range of knee high garments that make compression easier to specify, apply, and manage, while lowering the overall cost of care.
Locus developed the product platform and intellectual property, as well as creating the Encircle brand, packaging, and early sales and marketing devices.
A PROVEN TECHNOLOGY
Encircle has impressive medical research and clinical claims to back up its effectiveness. Professor Richard Beasley and his team at The Medical Research Institute of New Zealand conducted and published their studies, which were approved by the Ministry of Health.
It was also awarded the United States Medical Design Excellence Award. This award recognises the achievements of medical product manufacturers, engineers, designers, and clinicians who are responsible for ground-breaking innovations that “change the face of healthcare”.
Encircle has created a new business venture for TMC. It is internationally recognised, medically compliant, and has an established international distribution network. Encircle’s success has put an international spotlight on New Zealand Merino, and has carved a new pathway for ongoing textile and medical device development.
“The MDEA Award recognises the quality of the design and research work as well as the commercial potential of this unique product. We are developing a whole business around Encircle and see significant potential in taking merino to a new level.”
— Andy Wynne, CEO, The Merino Company
Dr. Justin Roake
Dr. Richard Beasley