Four Researchers Awarded for their Commercialisation Progress at NSW Medical Device Showcase 2015

23/11/2015

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The Honourable Jillian Skinner, NSW Minister for Health, has awarded several graduates of the NSW Medical Device Commercialisation Training Program (MDCTP) 2015 with scholarships and grants following 12 weeks of intensive training delivered by ATP Innovations.

Two international engagement scholarships to explore foreign markets were awarded to Dr Robert Gorkin and Dr Dharmica Mistry. In addition, Technology Commercialisation Grants were awarded to Prof. Stephanie Watson, MD and Dr David Yeo MD to help them fund the commercialisation of their respective medical devices. The announcement occurred during the Medical Device Showcase at world leading incubator, ATP Innovations. The event highlighted some of the incredible medical device research being conducted in NSW and demonstrated the progress towards commercialisation each researcher has made during the program.

Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and backed by experts at the University of Wollongong and Swinburne University, Dr Gorkin’s hydrogel condom material has revolutionary benefits. Condoms made from this hydrogel have no bad odours or taste, do not elicit latex allergies, are self-lubricated and can be embedded with anti-STI agents. In addition they provide a tissue like sensation, redefining what safe sex should feel like. This new condom has the potential to increase condom usage, leading to better family planning benefits and disease prevention.

Dr Mistry’s medical device addresses breast cancer screening and diagnosis by detecting the disease with a simple blood test, changing the way cancer is identified and managed. BCAL Diagnostics technology increases the accuracy of breast cancer screening, increases screening compliance and overcomes the known performance limitations of technologies presently used which result in screening eligibility for only a small subset of women.

Dr Yeo has been working to address the complexities of ERCP, an endoscopic procedure that allows access into the biliary system and has revolutionised the management of bile duct pathology. The procedure is notoriously difficult to learn and even in experienced hands can lead to serious complications. Dr Yeo’s Pivot Sphincterotome addresses the most challenging part of the procedure, the cannulation of the bile duct to accommodate the shortcomings of current technology, making the ERCP experience more user-friendly, efficient and safe for patients.

Prof Stephanie Watson’s medical device Kleer-i is a next generation sealant, bonded to the eyes surface with a low-powered laser. One in 20 cataract surgery wounds leak causing infection and blindness to occur. The sutures currently used cause scarring, are time consuming to apply and distort vision. In addition patients have poor compliance with postoperative eye care. Kleer-i will allow surgeons to seal eye wounds without sutures, while simultaneously delivering drugs, reducing operating time by 25-40%, promoting faster wound healing and most importantly reducing vision loss from scarring, distortion and infection which can cause blindness.

The outcomes from the program’s 2nd class demonstrate that NSW is a region of medical research excellence and that there is a necessity for programs like the MDCTP to help this research become commercialised and reach the public domain, to the benefit of Australia’s economy and overall health. In addition, graduates from this years program will receive 12 credits towards an MBA at the University of Wollongong Business School and the University of NSW Business School, recognising the rigor and quality of the 12 week course.

Ben Wright, Director of Commercial Development at ATP Innovations and Director – NSW Medical Devices Commercialisation Training Program said, “MDCTP graduates have completed their first sprint at the start of their marathon. It is wonderful to see clinical specialists and medical researchers entering the commercialisation pathway with impactful technologies. To be successful in this journey they require ecosystem support from health systems, academic institutions, commercial partners and Australian investors. The MDCTP creates a bridge between these stakeholders and researchers to enable impact”.

Hon. Jillian Skinner NSW Minister for Health said, “Since the first graduation ceremony the Medical Devices Commercialisation Training Program has gained enormous momentum. The unique strength of this program, is that it bridges the gap between talented researchers and the business world early, in order to bring treatment solutions to market fast. The government recognises that giving researchers this type of exposure has high impact. In recognition of this need we have boosted funding to support medical device commercialisation by a further $5 million over the next 4 years.

We must invest and support our workforce to be early adopters of early innovation, to be innovators themselves and to be entrepreneurs in solving real world problems – this program plays a crucial role in all of that.”

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