Select Committee on European Union Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary evidence from HSBC


  HSBC has not historically recorded businesses with SMART awards separately on its customer database. However a survey of our Technology Banking Managers indicates that:

    —  All of them have SMART winners among their portfolio of businesses.

    —  In particularly technology rich areas, as many as 50 per cent of a Technology Banking Manager's customers will have applied for a SMART award.

    —  We have over 100 SMART winners across our network of 18 Technology Banking Managers, representing more than 20 per cent of their overall portfolio.

  As these figures relate to managers specialising in technology firms, the usage of SMART will obviously be higher than the "mainstream" network of the bank. However, we are aware that many of our other managers also have SMART winners as customers.

  An Oxford based firm, Mirada Solutions Ltd, has authorised us to use them as an example of usage of government support schemes, including SMART. This case study is attached as an appendix.


  Mirada Solutions Ltd is the result of the "fusion" of two companies (OMIA and OXIVA) spun out from the Medical Vision Laboratory of the University of Oxford. The Medical Vision Laboratory is a world class research centre which has been developing clinically proven technology for over a decade. OMIA was founded in 1997 and focused on solutions for the cardiology and oncology markets. OXIVA, founded in 1999, concentrated on X-ray mammography.

  OMIA and OXIVA merged in 2001 to form Mirada Solutions Ltd, a leading provider of medical image analysis algorithms. Mirada is based in Oxford. It aims to serve companies demanding a competitive edge to their medical imaging, and also to meet the needs of doctors requiring software packages that solve medical imaging problems not currently tackled by the imaging industry.

Government/EU funding and support

  SMART—Mammography project—£30k

To advance technology developed in the University of Oxford Medical Vision Laboratory (MVL) to provide an accurate 3D representation of the breast from the two 2D views normally acquired when taking breast X-rays. This technology has been patented.

  SMART—Echo Cardiology Project—£19k

Received to help apply technology to track ultrasound images of the left ventricle of the heart through the cardiac cycle. The method was again developed in the MVL. This tool has undergone successful clinical trials and is now being developed for commercial application. This technology is also patented.

  ADEQUATE—Echo Cardiology Project—£122k

Part of basic scientific and clinical trials work supported through an EU grant to a partnership of Mirada, the University of Oxford a leading hospital in Madrid and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. This enabled the image analysis techniques to be improved and first stage clinical trials to be completed.

  Mammogrid—potentially up to Euro 200k

An EU supported programme covering the study of the epidemiology of breast cancer and the development of computer aided detection of breast tumours. The project involves a number of prominent hospitals, the University of Oxford and CERN and started in September 2002.

  e-Diamond—potentially up to £462k

DTI supported project to exploit Grid Technology to develop aids for the diagnosis of breast cancer, together with teaching and education tools. The partners with Mirada are the University of Oxford, a number of UK hospitals and IBM. This project started in May 2002.


  Investment in Mirada has been made by:

    University of Oxford

The Oxford College fund (not the University Challenge Fund)

Comvest (a venture capital fund)

Two significant business angel investors

A range of smaller investors

Loan facilities have been provided by HSBC under the DTI Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme, following an appraisal by the HSBC Chair of Innovation at University of York.

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