Quanta Dialysis Technologies awarded RAEng MacRobert Award

The developers of a compact dialysis machine that enables kidney failure patients to treat themselves at home has been awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2022 MacRobert Award.

Quanta Dialysis Technologies awarded RAEng MacRobert Award
Quanta Dialysis Technologies awarded RAEng MacRobert Award - Layton Thompson & Ben Wetherall

Quanta Dialysis Technologies was recognised by the RAEng for developing the SC+ haemodialysis system, a portable, easy-to-use, high performance dialysis machine that can be used in hospital or home settings.

In a statement, John E Milad, CEO of Quanta Dialysis Technologies, said: “I am incredibly proud of our team for developing an innovation deemed worthy of the prestigious MacRobert Award. This is truly an honour to all of us at Quanta.” 

The SC+ haemodialysis system impressed judges across three criteria: engineering innovation, commercial success and tangible social benefits.

Quanta’s solution is already making a positive impact on patient quality of life since it is easier to operate, faster to train on and as powerful as traditional in-centre dialysis machines. This flexibility also enables patients to treat themselves at home overnight, receiving more dialysis care than they would in clinical settings and eliminating the gap where patients go without dialysis over a weekend.  

Quanta is working with NHS Trusts and during lockdown the company provided its entire UK SC+ system stock to the NHS to relieve pressure on hospitals and ICUs.   

According to RAEng, the judges were also impressed by the system’s commercial potential. The SC+ is FDA cleared and selling in the US, where the dialysis market is expected to exceed $12bn. In 2021, Quanta raised $245m to fund the rollout of the SC+ system in the US, marking the largest-ever private funding round for a dialysis device company.   


The SC+ system operates using a proprietary single-use cartridge that eliminates the need for expensive and time-consuming disinfection between treatments. Each cartridge incorporates pneumatic membrane pumps, rather than the piston-driven pumps found in traditional dialysis machines.

In traditional dialysis machines a piston changes the volume of the chamber containing the dialysis fluid, pushing and pulling it to create a consistent pumping process to administer treatment. The functions of preparing, mixing, pumping and managing the dialysate fluid are all conducted by the hardware and plumbing inside the machine through an arrangement that includes mechanical valves, pumps, hoses, and mixing chambers. This accounts for much of the weight and size of traditional dialysis machines.

With the SC+ system, the pistons and valves are replaced by a flexible membrane bonded on the outside of the disposable cartridge, which is used to manage the dialysis fluid. This membrane fits around the outside of the cartridge and applies pressure, forcing the cartridge to contract/expand. This pressure changes the volume of the cartridge and pushes and pulls fluid through it. Compared to a mechanical piston, the membrane pump can vary the pressure and frequency is applied, to what degree and duration. It can also pinch the valves feeding in and out of the cartridge, controlling the flow of dialysis fluid.

The system is driven by software, making it infinitely variable, rather than driven by a fixed mechanism or mechanical actuation. In practise, the motion of the membrane pump can be finely controlled to deliver a wide range of prescriptions and different types of treatments. This provides highly accurate fluid management and enhanced distribution within the dialyser itself, which acts as an artificial kidney, while minimising cross contamination and bio-burden (the number of microorganisms living on a non-sterilised surface) between treatments. 

Professor Sir Richard Friend FREng FRS, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award judging panel, said: “The team exemplifies the persistence, innovation and unconventional thinking that has long been a hallmark of the UK’s greatest engineering success stories and they are worthy winners of the MacRobert Award.” 

The Quanta team were announced as the winners of the £50,000 prize at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Awards Dinner on Tuesday 12 July at The Londoner hotel in Leicester Square.

Q&A with Quanta Dialysis Technologies’ John E. Milad

Can you give us a brief description of your technology?

Originally developed to reconstitute orange juice from concentrate, Quanta’s innovative disposable fluid cartridge system was repurposed for use in a compact haemodialysis machine. Simpler to operate, yet as powerful as traditional dialysis machines, Quanta’s SC+ haemodialysis system is designed to bring dialysis directly to the patient. The innovation allows more patients to treat themselves at home, rather than spending hours a week at healthcare facilities.

What are some of the key engineering challenges?

Technically pumping complex non-Newtonian fluids with such high accuracy and purity using flexible plastic components is top of the list, but putting together such a complex software operated, electro-mechanical device requires other diverse skills and knowledge in biocompatibility, electromagnetic interference, human factors to cybersecurity. To cover that diverse range of subjects requires finding and attracting people with deep subject matter expertise and yet retain system level awareness, in the UK that is currently very difficult.

What are the next steps you are focusing on and how will winning the MacRobert Award help?

Winning the award will help raise public awareness of Quanta, kidney failure and home haemodialysis; and in turn attract the best, most talented people to help populate that diverse range of expertise needed to make such a complex system. Scaling up manufacturing and maintaining quality as we do so is key to achieve full commercial success. ‘Nail it before you scale it’ is a mantra we firmly believe in. Thereafter there are some very exciting developments around digital health and leveraging data generated from our machines, but also associating it with other medical devices to form a holistic healthtec eco-system to empower patient choice and clinical decision making.