Kitt Medical wins London Mayor’s Entrepreneur Award – and £20,000 investment

Alumnus Zak Marks first shaped the idea of a ‘defibrillator for allergies’ while studying at Loughborough. He went on to design ‘ana’ (now Kitt Medical) during the final year of his Industrial Design degree. Kitt recently won the London Mayor’s Entrepreneur Award - and its £20,000 prize will go towards taking its life-saving idea to market. His idea of a kit for treating anaphylaxis incidents being available in public places came from a lifetime with a severe nut allergy.

When asked why he created Kitt, Zak said: “Even though I carry two adrenaline auto-injectors with me wherever I go, I’m still terrified that one day the worst might happen to me,

"I often thought that I wished they had the equipment where I was going - but they can’t just have this stuff lying around, going out-of-date, and with nobody knowing how to use it.”

The solution is Kitt Medical, which the 24-year-old designed as a concept during his final year. 

Anaphylaxis has been termed a ‘global epidemic’ by the World Health Organisation. A severe allergic reaction can be fatal within 10 minutes. There are 41 million people in the UK with one or more allergic conditions, and there are an estimated 550 million allergy sufferers worldwide.

One potential market is schools, as data shows 20% of anaphylaxis incidents in UK schools occur in children with no prior history of allergy. Kitt Medical has tested a minimum viable product in seven UK schools. It means a safe, accessible, and dependable supply of adrenaline auto-injectors, backed up by software that tracks expiry dates and incident usage, as well as training. Each secure, wall-mounted kit costs £500 annually. The kit contains four pre-filled syringes of adrenaline and instructions for use between different age ranges. The product is designed to be used by anyone.

Kitt won the health category of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Award after Zak and co-founder James Cohen went through a selection process, delivered a well-received two-minute pitch, then answered questions from a panel of experts at City Hall in May. It came after Zak spent a year refining his idea after graduating in 2020 with a BA in Industrial Design and Technology. He and James hit upon a product-service package whereby clients rent the product on a yearly subscription. This addressed issues with expiry of medication and the need to refresh training in places that have frequent staff turnover.

It also meant a business model which became attractive to investors. Kitt raised £160,000 from angel investors and network connections in 2021 to test its prototype and is now in the process of raising a further £250,000 to launch the product on the market in October.

The Mayoral prize comes with a £20,000 grant and expert development support and mentoring. Kitt is also receiving funding through Loughborough Enterprise Network’s Start-Up Fund.

The money will be used towards the manufacturing process as Kitt heads to market.

Find out more about Kitt Medical.