A Stroud businessman whose company was awarded PPE contracts worth more than £250m by the government says his new venture will ‘help millions of people in pain’.

Steve Dechan’s company Platform-14 Medical are opening new premises in the town to distribute and manufacture BioWave, a new pain relief system.

The opening of the Griffin Mill site, which will be the first European bases for BioWave, will create around 25 jobs and follows a decision not to move the company abroad.

“With Brexit happening it’s obvious we shouldn’t be in the UK,” said Mr Dechan.

“I have been doing business in Stroud for eight years. We’ve invested in Stroud.”

BioWave sends electrical signals through the skin and changes the behaviour of nerve to prevent pain from reaching the brain. 

The product has been used by NFL and Olympic teams, while a number of Premier League clubs are currently trialling it. 

It is of particular benefit to athletes due to the strict regulations around what substances can be ingested combined with the obvious need to alleviate pain. 

Mr Dechan said: “Having something that can block pain that’s not being put in the body is advantageous. It’s quite a breakthrough.

“We are on the cusp of getting full European approval.”

P14 has a stake in BioWave, which was invented in the USA, and holds the distributions rights for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Mr Dechan admits P14 have been able to invest ‘quicker than we thought we would’ in BioWave after winning contracts to supply gowns and face shields. 

The awarding of contracts has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks, with the government being accused of cronyism. 

Stroud resident and former Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato is among those to have criticised the awarding of contracts to P14, saying it left ‘a nasty taste in the mouth’.

Mr Dechan, who was a Conservative councillor on Stroud Town Council at the time the contracts were awarded but has since stood down, maintains P14 did not receive any special treatment and said the accusations left him ‘catatonic with rage’.

“That would mean everyone would be a town councillor,” he said. 

“It wasn’t that someone gave us favours or fast-tracked us. We didn’t have any of that we did it on merit.” 

“We supplied the Nightingale Hospital at the ExCeL with PPE and the government asked us what else we could do. We did it properly, we did it extremely quickly. 

“It’s hugely frustrating, we have spent eight years building up our operation. It’s not easy to be an NHS Supply Chain Supplier,” he said.

Mr Dechan criticised the awarding of contracts to non-medical companies, saying he didn’t know why the government had given them out.

“Being a medical company is a long-term process. You are heavily regulated.

"Scrutiny is absolutely correct but not one person has asked us 'do we think it's value for money?'"

“The scrutiny is welcome but it has to be fair, not just gossip,” said Mr Dechan, who has written to the National Audit Office and offered to show them the contracts. 

At one stage P14 were delivering 18 shipping containers full of PPE to the UK each day. 

Mr Dechan said: “It’s been quite a whirlwind, while everyone else was in lockdown we were working 24-hour shifts. 

"It was quite a military operation.

“We hope it’s a one off. The future is in BioWave.

“I know this product, I know what it can do.

“We will help millions of people in pain. That’s realising my dream.”