NHS Long Term Plan 2020 - Partner Profile - Mast Group Ltd
Updated: Feb 27
Who are Mast Group Ltd?
MAST Group Ltd is an independent, market-leading manufacturer and supplier of diagnostic products for clinical, industrial and veterinary testing. MAST has been producing products for antibiotic susceptibility test (AST) and other microbiology items at our UK manufacturing facility since 1957. MAST employs over 200 staff at our head office in Merseyside and has subsidiary companies in France and Germany. Together, our established distribution network promotes MAST products in over 70 countries worldwide.
We are very proud of our continued investment in UK production with the recent completion of two new facilities for the expansion of our flagship MAST URI®SYSTEM, a dedicated clean environment for production of a new range of molecular diagnostics products and continued investment in R&D.
As part of our commitment to the early detection of disease, MAST has been working to introduce FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Test) into the European market for 15 years and has recently been adopted by the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in England. Our success with the OC-Sensor™ FIT platforms manufactured by Eiken Chemical Company, means that MAST is now the largest supplier of FIT world-wide with activity in 16 European countries.
How has Mast Group Ltd improved outcomes for the NHS and patients?
MAST has a wide range of products used in NHS Pathology departments, key amongst them, the MAST URI®SYSTEM which enables the rapid detection of urinary tract infections and a comprehensive antibiogram enabling clinicians to make informed decisions about prescribing antibiotic therapy earlier. Contributing towards improved antibiotic stewardship, the MAST URI®SYSTEM reduces unnecessary and inappropriate prescription slowing the development and spread of resistance, prolonging the ‘useful life’ of the commonly used antibiotics.
MAST supply the world leading Faecal Immunochemical test (FIT) platforms – the OC-Sensor™. Introduction of FIT into the NHS is set to have a profound effect on cancer service and endoscopy resources. Pilot data from the English Bowel Cancer Screening Programme showed that adoption of FIT as a screening tool significantly increased overall uptake of screening; including a marked increase in participation by men, participants that had previously not engaged with screening (non-responders) and those in the most deprived and ‘traditionally hard to reach areas’ of the population. FIT also detected significantly more cancers and all stage neoplasms than the old guaiac screening test. Increasing ‘early’ detection in screening is critical for the patient and the success of any screening programme. Bowel Cancer especially has an excellent prognosis of >90% 5 year survival rate if detected early.
In addition to screening, offering FIT to symptomatic patients as recommended by NICE DG30 has demonstrated clear benefits to patients, GPs and secondary care. FIT can be used to support the triage of patients in primary care providing a more efficient management of the patient pathway.
With a negative predictive value of >99.8% for colorectal cancer, OC-Sensor™ will give confidence to clinicians that any organic bowel disease, including cancer is highly unlikely. Patients with negative results may be reassured that they may not require an invasive, and expensive, colonoscopy procedure.
MAST has proven solutions in place to help the NHS adopt FIT testing including a dedicated team of product specialists, customised logistical solutions, patient support information and GP training materials.
What has been your greatest achievement to date? And were there any measurable outcomes that accompanied this achievement?
MAST is successful in establishing FIT within the English Bowel Cancer Screening Programme as well as establishing a large symptomatic market around the United Kingdom.
While uptake rates have already increased with the introduction of FIT to screening, it is too soon for measurable outcomes to be reported. In Symptomatic use, some of our clients are seeing a significant stage reduction in the cancers detected from stage 3&4 down to stage 1&2. Colorectal cancer is being detected earlier thus improving patient survival rates. OC-Sensor™ users are already seeing a reduction in unnecessary referrals from primary care which will translate to an improved local service and money saving within the NHS.
The added success of OC-Sensor™ is enabling MAST to reinvest in our UK R&D pipeline to ensure the continued release of innovations for the MAST URI®SYSTEM, antibiotic susceptibility testing and our new molecular platform. MAST is now also able to afford participation in further collaborative research projects and apply our expertise in bringing these efforts to the market.
How many organisations/clients currently utilise the service/solution across the UK?
MAST sell products into the majority of NHS trusts. As key solutions, the MAST URI®SYSTEM and OC-Sensor™ have been installed in over 75 laboratories across the UK.
What do you feel are the key points delegates need to digest when considering a partnership with Mast Group Ltd?
MAST has more than 60 years of experience as an independent, IVD manufacturer and supplier in the UK. We pride ourselves on a professional and personal relationship with all our suppliers, partners and clients. This is supported by our motto ‘Innovation through collaboration’. MAST has proven to be reliable and efficient in catering to the needs of all customers, ensuring the best service is given and all requirements are met professionally.
MAST is an SME (Small to Medium sized Enterprise) with R&D, manufacturing, logistics and technical support all established in the UK. This makes MAST an ideal partner for development, prototyping and launching products within the NHS and importantly with a route into Europe through our subsidiary companies in France and Germany. We are proud to say that some of our commercial relationships have lasted over 30 years and are still going strong.
Our SME status facilitates flexibility in our approach to business and enables MAST to apply for research funding in collaborative projects, having successfully prepared, won and managed two Innovation UK grants and an EU FP7 award.
At MAST we understand that innovation never stops and we are keen to partner with key opinion leaders to work towards resolving health care issues.