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Contract for Suffolk inventors

PUBLISHED: 23:00 20 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:41 03 March 2010

THE Suffolk-based inventors of a device that could help reduce cases of the potential-fatal condition Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) have won a national sales contract with Boots the chemist.

THE Suffolk-based inventors of a device that could help reduce cases of the potential-fatal condition Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) have won a national sales contract with Boots the chemist.

Boots will be selling the device through a 160 of its top stores across the country and, if the pilot scheme is successful, the contract could be extended to cover more of the company's 1,500 UK outlets.

Businessman Charles Burch, who works from Grundisburgh, near Ipswich, developed the LymGym device with two senior doctors from Ipswich Hospital.

Consultant vascular surgeon Isam Osman suggested the idea to Mr Burch after attending a conference on DVT a couple of years ago and the two men were later joined by David Hodgkinson, a physician and surgeon, who is the accident and emergency director at Ipswich Hospital.

Their inflatable device was originally developed to help airline passengers on long-haul flights avoid the build up of blood in the lower leg, which is the cause of deep vein thrombosis. This can lead to the formation of blood clots that can cause serious illness and even death.

The condition is often referred to as Economy Class Syndrome, because it is associated with passengers travelling on airlines in cramped conditions in which they are likely to remain immobile for long periods.

However, Mr Burch, whose interests include the Equus range of fitness training equipment, said that the LymGym has other applications, too.

"It is a seated exercise device, so we are now developing it for use in residential homes and for use in the rehabilitation of people who have had operations," he said.

"It can even be used in the office to help reduce swelling in the ankles."

LymGym has also been recognised as a class one medical product by the Medical Devices Agency, he added.

Mr Burch, whose fitness equipment manufacturing company Suffolk Punch Ltd is based at Grundisburgh, agreed that the Boots contract was the breakthrough he and his partners had been hoping for.

"We have been talking to Boots for some time, having originally sent the company samples about four or five months ago," he said.

"But this is only the start."

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