NSW Medical Devices Fund gives AU$10m to health tech startups

The NSW Medical Devices Fund has given AU$10.3m over three years to help fund five health startups across New South Wales.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The NSW Medical Devices Fund announced (PDF) its inaugural grant recipients on Friday, which will be split five ways over the coming three years.

NICTA startup Saluda Medical walked away with AU$5 million for its implantable device for the treatment of chronic pain. Saluda was spun out of NICTA earlier this year, after picking up an initial AU$5 million in private investment.

"Saluda's goal is to bring this research to commercial reality and see our technology used in every neuromodulation application in the future." said Dr John Parker, Saluda CEO.

"This will benefit potentially millions of people suffering chronic pain and other neuropathic diseases. The valuable support and recognition from the New South Wales government allows us to begin this commercialisation journey with confidence."

Making up the other winners were:

  • Elastagen, a company that is the first globally to have produced a "scalable, commercial, clinical-grade manufacture of the full-length recombinant human elastin protein" that helps with the regeneration of skin

  • Endoluminal Sciences, which is focusing on removing the problem of leakage from failing heart valves

  • HearWorks, whose grant win will go toward funding a software-based automated cortical assessment test that looks to become the world's first automated and completely objective hearing threshold test

  • MobiLife, a company out of the University of Newcastle that is developing the mobiDRIP, a wearable infusion pimp that allows patients to receive dosages of medical fluids while still being active. It is hoped that this device will allow for more home-based treatment of patients.

The Medical Devices Fund — which has the aim to promote "new and innovative medical devices/technologies within NSW that may have a global benefit" — has AU$8 million available in its first year, with AU$5 million available for each year thereafter. The fund was an election promise made during the election of the NSW government in 2011.

"There are some lessons we can learn from the inaugural round, including that we need to develop better links between medical device companies and the excellent clinical base in NSW, but overall, it is pleasing to see such an enthusiastic first start," said Mary O'Kane, NSW chief scientist and engineer.

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