Funding keeps Flinders at forefront of medical device technology

23 September 2015

Prof Karen Reynolds, Director of the Medical Device Partnering Program at Flinders University
Prof Karen Reynolds, Director of the Medical Device Partnering Program at Flinders University
Flinders University’s Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) will remain a driving force behind South Australia’s medical technologies industry, thanks to an additional $250,000 in State Government funding.

Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher says the funding means the MDPP’s role in managing the State Government’s Medical Technologies Program (MTP) will continue until at least 2017.

“The MTP supports the development of early stage medical technologies that deliver better health outcomes,” he says.

“Since July 2013, the Program has received more than 75 project enquiries, 12 of which have received more than $30,000 of research and development assistance from the University’s MDPP.”

Minister Maher says South Australia continues to demonstrate fantastic capabilities in the development and commercialisation of innovative medical devices.

“The medical device sector is a key focus for the State Government. It’s building a sustainable, high-value manufacturing sector that links research and development with modern production practices,” he says.

“The additional State Government funding will provide support for six new projects in 2016-2017.”

The latest projects to be accepted through the MTP are a heart rhythm mapping diagnostic tool and a device to assist manual bag valve mask ventilation.

The ‘rhythm map’ tool, being developed by Adelaide Research & Innovation Pty Ltd, analyses electrical signals from the heart and creates a map for surgeons to use to guide treatment and improve outcomes for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), a leading global cause of hospitalisations.

The inventors of the system, Mr Darius Chapman and Professor Prash Sanders from the Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders at the University of Adelaide and SAHMRI Heart Health, say it could significantly improve the success rate of cardiac ablation, a procedure used to correct the heart rhythm problems caused by AF.

The funding will support extra research and development to enhance the effectiveness of the mapping software and develop an advanced working prototype suitable for clinical trials.

The second most recent project, the Kirmani Emergency Ventilator, was proposed by inventor and emergency department registrar, Dr Bas Kirmani.

Within the 250-hour project, the MDPP will design and develop a proof-of-concept prototype which will enable efficient and effective single person operation of a bag valve mask emergency ventilator.

The MDPP will also provide links to and feedback from industry experts to facilitate commercialisation of the device.

In the two years that the MTP has been operating, the program has resulted in two new products made ready for manufacture, five seeking investment for clinical trials or development, and two looking to partner with multi-national companies.

MDPP Director, Professor Karen Reynolds, said that through the MTP, Flinders’ MDPP provided critical skills and support that small to middle sized enterprises (SMEs) would struggle to get otherwise.

“For SMEs it is hard to have all relevant skills and resources in-house,” Professor Reynolds said.

“This is why it is important that programs such as the MDPP exist to encourage collaboration between the relevant stakeholders in the innovation process, to leverage knowledge and fast-track development.”

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