Dr Andrew Taylor

Research and Development Manager, Finsbury Orthopaedics

Q: What made you choose your career in orthopaedics?

A: Prior to joining Finsbury I held a number of exciting positions which led to my eventual entry into the orthopaedics industry. I spent ten very successful years in the Aero-Engineering department of Rolls Royce; this was followed by a further ten years heading up the Advanced Material Technologies division with Marconi Space. It was while working on a European Space Agency initiative that I was first introduced to Finsbury and subsequently to orthopaedics. The objective was to discover new ways of employing space technologies; the Department of Trade and Industry, Southampton University and Finsbury were all project partners. It was certainly this collaboration with Finsbury that sparked my interest and launched my career in orthopaedics.

Q: What is it about your job that you find so rewarding?

A: Finsbury Orthopaedics is a privately owned and rapidly expanding company. Original and innovative thinking is encouraged and supported; it is this pioneering attitude which allows Research and Development to be at the core of the business. I am able to work directly with key surgeons, universities and professional institutions in the areas which make a real difference to improving the quality of peoples’ lives. This relative freedom of thought also encourages the cultivation of ideas leading to numerous patents and initiatives.
On a day to day basis I lead a team of highly talented and motivated engineers, four of whom are doctors of engineering who excel at pushing the frontiers of manufacturing technology, design, and materials forth. Further to this I manage typically up to thirty students, graduates and post graduates at leading universities throughout the world, this allows Finsbury access to some of the finest research facilities available. This scheme also encourages a subsequent generation of talented engineers to work in the field of bioengineering and orthopaedics.
Being on the Aerospace committee at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers allows me to keep in touch with technical breakthroughs in these areas and to exploit technology transfer to the orthopaedic industry.

Q: Does the role involve a lot of travelling?

A: Due to Finsbury’s high level of interaction with opinion leading surgeons and institutions the world over, we have been very successful in winning European Commission support grants for technology development. These grants are realised by the creation of innovation partnerships across Europe, including supply chain companies and universities. Understandably, the management of these partnerships involves a reasonable amount of travel.
The publication of peer-reviewed papers and posters necessitates worldwide travel for the purposes of presentation and marketing. This is particularly appropriate for conferences and exhibitions; these types of events provide a welcome opportunity for Research and Development to interact with the sales team and liase with surgeons at an international level.

Q: Do you find it difficult to recruit suitable and qualified staff?

A: It is exceedingly difficult to source employees to the calibre of Finsbury’s development group through conventional advertising and recruitment methods. Finsbury encourage the development team to grow and train future employees through a number of initiatives. These include: ‘Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) ‘doctorate scheme’; the DTI ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’ (KTP) and post graduate research projects.
Investing in our future staff, by working very closely with university students, has been a particularly successful path for Finsbury in promoting highly gifted future employees, new technology and potential IPR. Finsbury have in the past, and indeed continue to sponsor research at the. Universities of Portsmouth, Queen Mary, Bradford, Leeds, Brunel, Cardiff, Sheffield, Durham, Bristol, Bath, Sussex, Kentucky, Goteborg, Aarchen and Southampton, where I am currently a visiting reader.

Q: How closely do you work with surgeons or with other medical device companies?

A: As a university spin-off company, research has always been a principle factor in Finsbury’s progression. Ongoing collaboration with a number of highly successful surgeons is a key factor in the successful development of the orthopaedic arena and may be defined in a variety of ways; for example the development of new prostheses and instrumentation and research into innovative materials. Finsbury share the same ultimate goal with the surgeon: to improve the lives of those patients using our prostheses.
Further to this we occasionally collaborate with other medical device companies notably in the area of European Commission Partnerships.

Q: How do you envisage Finsbury developing its product portfolio in the future?

A: As a small independent company Finsbury can afford to be innovative and responsive; the development team are currently working on approximately 40 products all at various stages of completion. This research leads directly to exciting innovations particularly in the field of hip and knee arthroplasty and also in the other articulating joints together with the associated instrumentation.

Q: How is Finsbury looking to expand further in the future?

A: With the expansion of Finsbury’s direct sales distribution network, our new developments will have immediate access to a large market and increase sales opportunities worldwide.