The most innovative new products in MedTech tend to start with a research-based innovation at universities. However, Australia has a poor track record of translating this research into commercialised products. The University of New South Wales (UNSW) is no exception to the rule, but it is now making a serious effort to bridge the gap.
Thanks to a $10 million donation from the Sir William Tyree Foundation the university has established the Tyree Institute of Health Engineering (IHealthE) to provide support to researchers and companies looking to commercialise health-oriented technology.
The primary purpose of the Institute is to identify important healthcare unmet needs, identify technologies that can underpin co-designed solutions and support them through the translation process. Those with high potential are given support to accelerate their Proof-of-Concept and to develop a robust business plan.
They IHealthE process is instructive in that it sets out a generic best practice for translation of research into a commercial product. The process begins by helping healthcare professionals and researchers to crystalise the unmet need. This involves analysing current solutions, workflows and issues, as well as the impact on stakeholders, including the target customers. The solution to the unmet need involves more than technology and IHealthE helps work through the intellectual property, regulatory and commercial considerations. A project plan is developed including how funding will be acquired and brokers introductions to the right people and companies to make it happen.
Projects already underway include TeleClinical Care to remotely monitor cardiac patients in several NSW Health districts, a palate scanner for detection of high arched palates, targeted gene therapy delivery and an optoelectronic solution to sleep apnoea, and a platform technology for hearing, vision and neuro interventions.
Genesys has recently begun working with IHealthE on the commercialisation of a microbioreactor for making cell and gene therapy affordable, in conjunction with UNSW and CSL. This is progressing our already close relationship with UNSW and multiple other research projects we are engaged in. In particular, when researchers at UNSW come to Genesys with a great technology but no business plan, we direct them to the Institute to get the support they need.
For more information view the IHealthE website.