Brighter and healthier futures for children

Photo of Navi's Dr Christiane Theda caring for newborn baby at the Royal Women's Hospital.

23 JANUARY 2020

Navi Medical Technologies is making it easier for clinical staff to deliver lifesaving drugs and nutrients to critically ill premature newborns.

Doctors and nurses deliver drugs and nutrients to premature newborns through central venous catheters, also known as central lines. But with no real-time feedback, 40% of central line tips are placed in veins incorrectly, and a further 50% of tips that are correctly placed end up migrating within seven days.

To confirm correct tip placement doctors and nurses rely on x-rays, which are associated with significant delays, and ultrasounds that require significant additional training.

But Navi’s new medical device, the Neonav ECG Tip Location System, is designed specifically for newborns, infants and babies and provides busy clinical staff with accurate central line confirmation. This innovation leads to reduced x-ray exposure, faster delivery of life-saving drugs and nutrients and improved workflow.

The team met in the 2016 BioDesign course at the University of Melbourne, bringing together MBA students (Alex Newton, Wei Sue and Brad Bergmann), Master of Biomedical Engineering Students (Shing Yue Sheung and Mubin Yousuf) and a clinical expert (Dr Christiane Theda, Senior Neonatologist from the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne).

Navi went on to join the MedTech Actuator Accelerator Program in 2018. The 15-month, industry-led, venture capital backed program for early stage MedTech startups accelerates technology development, builds team capability and provides a pathway to access up to $3m+ seed to series A investment. The MedTech Actuator works alongside venture capital partner Artesian to support startups in the program.

While most Accelerator programs only last for a few months, Navi needed a program that could work with them for over 12 months to test their ideas and raise money.

“The MedTech Actuator’s Accelerator program provided a catalyst to establish our team, refine our strategy and raise capital,” says Alex Newton, Navi CEO.

The team has achieved the following milestones in the program:

  • Raised a Seed Round via SAFE Note ($325,000)
  • Built a non-clinical prototype and performed an animal trial at the University of Queensland
  • Commenced clinical research at the Royal Women’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and enrolled 40+ newborn patients
  • Raised an Angel Round ($820,000)
  • Filed a provisional patent and received a clear written opinion and international search report, and freedom-to-operate
  • Completed development of a clinical prototype device and received ethics approval for the next clinical research stage
  • Received an Australian Federal Government Accelerating Commercialisation grant, providing $400,000 to the next stage of commercialisation activities

They are now preparing to start their feasibility study, also known as a first in human study.

Alex says that the most beneficial aspect of the program has been sessions with industry representatives.

“Initially it can be confronting and frustrating to be under the spotlight and have your plans pulled to bits, but there’s a huge amount of value in refining, testing and iterating the strategy,” says Alex.

“The industry representatives eventually become friends and contacts that help build out a strong professional network in the MedTech industry. This is very valuable in itself and would be hard to develop as quickly outside of the MedTech Actuator.”

To learn more about Navi and follow them on their journey go to

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