Company factfile

  • Invented by: Dr Adam Garrow, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences
  • Application: Patient Reported Outcome (PRO) measure for Healthcare
  • Assignment: Copyright IP assigned to Isis Outcomes, part of Isis Innovation, late 2011

“A fantastic experience through which I have developed a large number of transferable skills”

Dr Adam Garrow

About Manchester Foot Pain and Disability Index

The MFPDI is a Patient Reported Outcome (PRO) measure, used by healthcare clinicians as a major indicator of quality in the assessment of patients’ experience of treatment and care. PRO measures provide a means of gaining an insight into the way patients perceive their health and the impact that treatments or adjustments to lifestyle have on their quality of life.

Selected questions from the MFPDI have been used to generate the Manchester Oxford Foot Questionnaire (MOxFQ), and both tools will now be licensed and supported by Isis Outcomes. Users of these PRO measures include the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare providers as well as academic researchers. Isis Outcomes continues to support the use of these measures by providing licences for non-commercial and academic use free of charge.

David Churchman, who heads up Isis Outcomes, commented: “We are pleased to add the MFPDI to our rapidly growing portfolio of high quality condition-specific PRO measures. This is a great example of two of the UK’s leading universities collaborating on technology transfer for the benefit of patients and healthcare provision.”

We met up with the inventor, Dr Adam Garrow, to find out more about his experiences of the licensing process…

How was MFPDI developed and how have you applied it to your research?

I developed the MFPDI with colleagues at the ARC Epidemiology Research Unit (now Arthritis Research UK) at The University of Manchester while undertaking my PhD. The instrument was developed for use in, what was at the time, the largest survey of foot disorders to be carried out in the UK for over 50 years. Rather than just recording the number of foot problems people had, the purpose of the MFPDI was to collect information about the impact that foot pain has on peoples’ lives.

What have you learned during the commercialisation process and how has this benefitted you personally?

For people unfamiliar with the commercialisation process, it all can appear a bit strange and daunting, which indeed it sometimes is! However once you have grasped some of the principals, one becomes very aware of the importance of intellectual property issues and to start thinking about them right at the start of any project.

First hand experience of the whole process from instrument development and validation right the way through to commercialisation has been a fantastic experience through which I have developed a large number of transferable skills. I am now applying these skills in my new job where we are in the early stages ofdeveloping another new Patient Reported Outcome measure.

How did the University support you during the commercialisation process?

Once Dr Emma Woods, one of UMIP’s licensing managers, became involved I was led through each step in the process and meetings with David from Isis Outcomes were arranged. After the agreement between Isis and The University of Manchester had been signed, UMIP (in addition to Isis) continue to be in regular contact with me and update me of any developments.

How will the permission request process benefit the MFPDI?

The licensing agreement opens up commercial opportunities for the MFPDI whilst still ensuring that clinician and academic researchers involved in non-commercial studies continue to have free access the instrument.

Do you have any advice for colleagues considering embarking on the route to commercialisation, particularly those who’ve developed copyright materials such as questionnaires?

Contact UMIP as early as possible! It is vitally important to have an understanding of the process to avoid having to disentangle things at a later date.

Where do you see potential value in using the MFPDI; both from a research perspective and from a commercial perspective?

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of joining forces with Isis Outcomes for the MFPDI is accessibility. Anyone who is interested in using the MFPDI not only has a central point of contact but now has access to an increasing amount of information about the scale including where and how other researchers have used the index and what other translations are available.

What does the future hold for the MFPDI?

Since its initial launch, the MFPDI has proved to be a useful measure in a range of different studies including large population surveys and clinical trials. Through Isis Outcomes, commercial and non-commercial use of the MFPDI is set to increase considerably over the next few years. The increased publication of studies which use the index should help confirm the MFPDI as the instrument of choice in foot research and also a useful measure in routine foot assessment and clinical practice.

“Contact UMIP as early as possible! It is vitally important to have an understanding of the process to avoid having to disentangle things at a later date”

Dr Adam Garrow