ostique_mandala 2
Ostique Mandala

Stephanie Monty, an entrepreneur from the University of Birmingham’s BizzInn business incubator, has been awarded £310k by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.  Inspired by seeing close family members suffering from the devastating effects of Crohn’s Disease, she set up her company, Ostique, to develop a new range of stylish stoma products that are beautiful as well as functional.

 Every morning 200,000 people in the UK alone face a new day with a hole in their abdomen, a stoma, which diverts bowel waste.  A stoma is often necessary as a result of cancer or bowel disease.  Unable to use the toilet “normally” patients must wear a “stuck-on” fabric ostomy bag over the opening to collect their waste. 

 Living with a stoma can be completely debilitating.  The physical changes post-surgery are compounded by the limitations of currently available appliances including the bag leaking, poor deodorisation and skin irritation. This impacts on patient’s physical and mental wellbeing, making daily activities such as work, socialising and intimacy, challenges fraught with anxiety.  Up to a quarter of ostomates endure social isolation, anxiety, depression, even suicidal inclinations.

 Stephanie’s company Ostique has developed a new range of ostomy products inspired by body art, tattoos and lingerie.  Designed to give people with a stoma ‘freedom from the traditional ostomy bag’ which can be uncomfortable and stigmatizing.  Ostique’s designs can be worn while swimming, on the beach, in the gym, or during intimate occasions; times when exposing a typical ostomy bag would cause embarrassment. 

 More akin to fashion items than medical appliances, the Ostique range will include embossed stoma covers that can be colour-matched to the user’s skin and a disposable waste-collection insert. Ostique’s patented designs use innovative adhesives to reduce skin inflammation.     

 Stephanie set up Ostique in 2017. 

 During her research, she interviewed over 200 patients and found that for many, wearing an ostomy bag, rather than the stoma itself caused the greatest distress. She believes passionately that good medical design should encompass the patient’s physical and psychological needs, and set about designing products that would do just that.

 Stephanie commented: “The ostomy bag is a necessity, but it is also a constant reminder of disability. The depression, social anxiety and isolation experienced by many ostomates is very real: some people are afraid to leave the house, and going swimming or baring all on the beach is something that most could not dream of doing.”  

 Whilst at the BizzInn, she was introduced to the ERDF-funded Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC), and the NIHR Trauma Management MIC, both located at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which are providing support for the testing and commercialization of the product.  Cambridge Design Partnership will work with Stephanie to create detailed design specifications, trial the product and bring it to manufacture. 

 The charity Bowel & Cancer Research is leading on all aspects of patient involvement, including testing the prototypes with volunteers before they go into production.

 The Innovate UK funding has provided a significant boost to Ostique, which aims to launch its first products in 2022. The company is now looking for match-funding.


 For further media information, contact Ruth Ashton, University of Birmingham Enterprise

E: r.c.ashton@bham.ac.uk

T: +44 121 414 9090

W: www.birmingham.ac.uk/enterprise

 About stomas and ostomies

  • Bowel disease or bowel cancer sometimes necessitates the creation of a stoma – a hole in the abdomen that diverts waste products from the colon into an ostomy bag.
  • Up to a quarter of ostomy patients experience psychological symptoms including angst, fear, social isolation and depression. 
  • Almost 200,000 people in the UK have a stoma.
  • The global ostomy market is due to reach over $3.4 billion by 2020 due to the increasing prevalence of bowel disease and cancer.

 About Ostique

Ostique was set up in 2017 to create new products for ostomy care that will empower people with stoma.  If you would like more information about Ostique, contact Stephanie Monty at Monty3.design@gmail.com or visit http://ostique.co.uk/.   Follow on Twitter at @Ostiqueltd and Instagram @ostiqueltd

 About the BizzInn

The BizzInn is a free incubator for hi-tech innovators or companies, managed by University of Birmingham Enterprise. 

Enquiries about BizzInn residency or programmes should be directed to Andrew Cruxton, a.cruxton@bham.ac.uk.

 UHB: About us

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham Chest Clinic, Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital, Solihull Hospital and various community services across the region.  For further information visit the website.

 About MD-TEC

MD-TEC is a European Regional Development Fund 2016-2020 project that enables companies to bring medical products to market quickly, at less cost and with reduced risk. MD-TEC (Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre) is a facility based within the Institute of Translational Medicine, in Birmingham, designed to support medical technologies and life science businesses across the region.

 Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

 NIHR Trauma Management MIC

UHB host the Trauma Management MedTech Cooperative (MIC), funded through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Trauma MIC supports the development of new medical devices, healthcare technologies and technology-dependent interventions in the NHS.

 About the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research.  Established by the Department of Health and Social Care, the NIHR: funds high quality research to improve health; trains and supports health researchers; provides world-class research facilities; works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all; involves patients and the public at every step.

For further information, visit www.nihr.ac.uk.

 Bowel & Cancer Research

Bowel & Cancer Research is a registered UK charity (1119105) and a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities. The charity aims to save and change lives through pioneering research in the diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer and other bowel diseases.  For more information, visit www.bowelcancerresearch.org.

 Cambridge Design Partnership

Cambridge Design Partnership is a technology and product design partner focused on helping clients grow their businesses. For more information, visit www.cambridge-design.co.uk

 About the Innovate UK funding

Ostique Ltd, working with Birmingham’s Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC), NIHR Trauma Management MIC, Bowel & Cancer Research UK (BCRUK) and Cambridge Design Partnership, the technology and product design firm, has been awarded £310,000 in funding by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

 About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. For further information visit www.innovateuk.gov.uk.

High resolution pictures available from r.c.ashton@bham.ac.uk