The results of cervical smear tests are notoriously difficult to interpret, with mis-diagnoses resulting in sometimes fatal delays in treatment. In 1997, the Learning Methods Unit of Liverpool John Moores University won worldwide acclaim for a CD-Rom training package it had developed to help hospital staff analyse cervical smears for cancerous cells.
Stuart Melhuish, former director of development, founded a spin-off company, Amaze, in 1995 to exploit the package. It focuses on developing knowledge management systems and internet-based training programmes for the likes of Volkswagen and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Amaze has driven up sales 115% a year, from £757,000 in 1998 to £3.5m in 2000. The company makes significant losses, however.
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