The awards are the highest honours that can be bestowed upon a UK company and the winners are decided upon by Her Majesty the Queen and presented at a reception at Buckingham Palace.
The innovation award goes to the equine standing MRI (EQ2) developed by Hallmarq. The EQ2 is a world first and remains the ONLY standing equine MRI. The innovation has completely changed how veterinarians approach equine lameness, making it a low risk procedure and allowing more horses to be diagnosed and treated more effectively than ever before.
The international trade award reflects the company’s global success as the EQ2 is now used by vets in 22 countries including Dubai, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Europe and North America, with over 50,000 horses scanned worldwide.
The EQ2 was invented and is still manufactured in the UK, but the company has had a truly global perspective from business start-up and the company focus is very much on working with veterinary specialists around the world. It has North American offices in Massachusetts, with further offices due to open in Australasia.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio waves to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. MRI can show veterinarians both the soft tissues structures and bone while X-rays can only image bone. With complex ligaments and tendons in the horse’s hoof this ability is of special value.
As a result of standing MRI, horses need not be anaesthetized to undergo an MRI procedure. Anaesthetic deaths are a significant risk in horses, so the EQ2 means that MRI can be used as a diagnostic tool safely and routinely, not just for high performance race horses but also much loved family ponies too. As MRI has a diagnostic success rate in the region of 90%, the ability of veterinarians to successfully treat all kinds of lameness has changed forever as a result of its use.
Hallmarq CEO Dr Jos Belgrave is also an experienced equine vet, “It’s wonderful for the company and those who work here to receive awards and recognition, especially one as important as a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Receiving two awards exceeded all our expectations.” He continued, “Hallmarq’s EQ2 innovation has genuinely helped alleviate pain and saved the lives of thousands of horses around the world. That in itself is very rewarding.”
The commercial success of EQ2 is due in no small part to the innovative commercial protocols introduced by Hallmarq which see veterinary practices partnering with the company, using a ‘pay as you go’ invoicing model. This win-win model has increased accessibility to MRI as a tool.
With a focus on the needs of the vet and the animal at the heart of further innovation, the company’s latest MRI is aimed at companion animals. The high field 1.5 Tesla PetVet system is designed around veterinary requirements in imaging terms – from positioning the animal, to the use of innovative dual coil technology for clearer imaging of hard to view structures. With no need for a purpose built shielded room and with 30% lower ownership costs compared to other high field systems, Hallmarq is set to change the approach to diagnoses for cats and dogs too.