Creo Medical is a junior healthcare firm, but its technology is already changing people's lives.
Midas recommended Creo, based in Chepstow in South Wales, in December 2016, when the shares were 81p. Today they are £1.94 and brokers believe they have significantly further to go.
Cancers affecting the digestive tract are a dreadful affliction of modern society, with almost two million sufferers around the world, including over 40,000 in the UK and almost 300,000 in the US.
New option: Traditional treatments for cancers affecting the digestive tract are grim but Creo Medical has devised an alternative
Traditional treatments are grim – hours in surgery, days in hospital and sections of the gut removed, with potentially life-changing consequences.
Creo Medical has devised an alternative – a tool that allows patients to go through a procedure lasting around 30 minutes, under mild sedation, following which they can leave hospital later that day, with their gut intact.
Back in 2016, Creo had just joined the Aim market and chief executive Craig Gulliford had a three-year plan to develop the company.
First, gain regulatory approval for the Creo toolkit. Second, deliver initial clinical results and third, launch commercially. In the end, Gulliford has made even more progress than expected.
Creo's kit is already in use in selected hospitals here, as well as in the US, Continental Europe and South Africa. Doctors are enthusiastic and so are patients.
Under the Creo system, an endoscope is inserted into the patient, with a tiny device on the end used to remove pre-cancerous and early cancerous growths.
Microwave energy curbs bleeding and the procedure is precise, effective and far cheaper than traditional surgery.
In the UK, for example, initial estimates suggest that each case can save the NHS between £2,000 and £3,500, so potential savings could add up to millions of pounds a year.
Creo has kept the launch process deliberately slow. Doctors need to learn how to use the new system and Gulliford is keen to ensure that they are properly trained. So far, the results have been extremely encouraging and the company is already working on treatments for cancers of the liver, kidney, pancreas and lung.
All this work is costly. Creo is loss-making and may have to raise money via the stock market to fund its growth. Longer term, however, the prospects are bright.
This small Welsh company is a pioneer in its field and its technology should bring tangible benefits to patients and healthcare systems alike.