$10m in funding awarded to 11 projects to boost health innovation

17 April

MTPConnect – the Australian Government’s Medical Technology, Biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical (MTP) Industry Growth Centre – and the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, today announced the first 11 recipients of $10 million investment from the Australian Government’s $35 million BioMedTech Horizons program. The program aims to help Australia move more cutting-edge ideas and breakthrough discoveries towards proof-of-concept and commercialisation, and stimulate collaboration across disciplines and between the research, industry and technology sectors to maximise entrepreneurship and idea potential.

Investments from the program are focused on precision medicine and 3D anatomical printing. Successful projects in this first round include a fully synthetic 3D printed spinal cage, a genome profiling platform to enable precision cancer medicine, a wireless Brain-Machine Interface suitable for treating neurological disorders, and microwearables for precision medicine.

Sue MacLeman, Managing Director and CEO of MTPConnect, said that the delivery of the BioMedTech Horizons program is providing the necessary support to boost investment, commercialisation and success of health innovations in Australia.

“These first investments from the BioMedTech Horizons program are set to fuel ongoing innovation in Australia, in line with MTPConnect’s priorities for growth of the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector. These 11 outstanding projects address identified global megatrends including precision healthcare and the digital evolution, as well as forecasted areas of unmet clinical need, such as immunology, advanced prosthetics and infectious diseases including sepsis.

“Australia is an internationally recognised hub of health innovation, but it has been acknowledged that more work needs to be done in providing support at the pre-clinical and clinical stages of development, to assist in attracting private capital during early stages. MTPConnect is dedicated to working with the sector to ensure growth in collaboration between research and industry, to drive greater commercialisation. The BioMedTech Horizons program is set to address barriers of funding to support viable, new health biological and medical technologies to reach proof-of-concept, clinical trials and beyond, in line with our vision to advance the vibrant sector.”

Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, said, “The Turnbull Government is committed to improving the health services for all Australians and will continue to invest in better treatment, care and medical research.Our researchers are innovators and this investment will speed up the journey from idea to reality. These technologies have the potential to create better health outcomes for Australians, while driving investment and strengthening our economy. All Australians benefit from investment in health and medical research.”

The BioMedTech Horizons program is being delivered as a part of the Australian Government’s $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund, which aims to transform health and medical research to improve lives, build the economy and contribute to health system sustainability through targeted strategic investment.

The BioMedTech Horizons program attracted an extremely strong response from the sector with 219 expressions of interest submitted. The applications were reviewed by an experienced selection panel comprising of scientific, clinical and commercial experts, and 30 projects were shortlisted.

Due to the overwhelming number of high quality submissions, and consistent with the Australian Government’s agreement with the Medical Technology Association of Australia which includes a $30 million boost to support development of new and innovative device technologies, the Australian Government has committed an additional $5 million to support 11 of the 30 shortlisted projects.

Ian Burgess, CEO of the Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA), said, “We’re pleased our agreement with the Government has provided an additional $30 million towards the BioMedTech Horizons program. Australian MedTech has been responsible for some of the most significant medical developments of the past 100 years. With an aging population comes major challenges for our health sector. MedTech will play a vital role in tackling these challenges and these 11 recipients, with a focus on precision medicine and 3D anatomical printing, will contribute towards improved health outcomes.”

Established as part of the Australian Government’s Industry Growth Centres Initiative, MTPConnect aims to accelerate the growth of the MTP ecosystem in Australia by working with the sector to increase its competitiveness, productivity and innovative capacity. MTPConnect was chosen to administer and facilitate the delivery of funding due to its proven fund management experience through the MTPConnect Project Fund Program, and established cross-sectoral networks and connections, providing the ability to rapidly identify and invest in new technologies. MTPConnect will continue its work with the sector to support initiatives addressing identified barriers to growth in the sector, increasing the number of innovations to reach proof of concept and clinical trials in key knowledge priority areas.

EarGenie: Personalised management of hearing impairment for infants
Bionics Institute, Hydrix, Taralye Early intervention Centre, Plunkett Consulting Group, Australian Hearing
EarGenie is an innovative system for personalised management of hearing impairment, aiming to enable life-long benefits using a novel combination of electrophysiology and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to perform a diagnostic hearing evaluation. Deaf infants face delayed and inadequate language development, affecting education, social participation, and even employment later in life. Major contributing factors are the delay between diagnosis and the selection and accurate adjustment of hearing devices, delayed individualised optimisation of device features, and difficulty choosing a specific therapy to optimise language development. EarGenie is set to transform the precision of diagnosis and optimisation of hearing instrument function, to deliver major benefit to language development in deaf children. This project will allow for the development of a clinical prototype as well as plans for regulatory approval and clinical trials.

Source: MTPConnect

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