THE York inventor of a paper-based sensor to help identify sepsis has been named as the UK’s most promising young entrepreneur.

George Winfield, founder and CEO of SPYRAS, was announced as the UK’s most promising young entrepreneur in technology and engineering by the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub, after winning their Launchpad Competition.

He said: “I’m so pleased to be this year’s winner. It is one thing having an initial idea about how to solve a specific challenge, but it is another entirely getting industry backing.”

The 25-year-old, who went to Bootham School and grew up near York, set up SPYRAS to develop a paper-based breathing monitoring system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) for early detection of patient deterioration from sepsis triggered by an infection.

The prototype paper sensors being developed by the organisation will provide continuous monitoring of respiratory rate, inhalation and exhalation periods and depth of breathing. Machine learning will help predict when a patient is beginning to deteriorate and alert clinicians early.

Elspeth Finch MBE, head judge for the Launchpad Competition, said: “Congratulations to George, I wish him the very best of luck as he expands his business. It’s with the support of the Gammon family that we can provide entrepreneurs like George with the platform to help them accelerate their growth in this critical next stage of their business journey.”

The prize for winning the award was a £15,000 equity free grant, which will help George to move his business forward.

George said: “The Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub will prove invaluable in helping me turn my innovation into a commercially successful, scalable business.”

The entrepreneur’s invention is important as every 3.5 seconds, someone in the world dies from sepsis and earlier identification of the condition could save up to 14,000 lives a year in the UK alone. Sometimes called blood poisoning, sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. It happens when your immune system starts to damage itself.