23 APRIL 2020
The breathing support that clinicians give to babies born prematurely plays a critical role in their survival, length of stay in neonatal intensive care and long-term health. Melbourne-based startup, Ventora Medical is developing a device that will help clinicians to administer this vital breathing support with greater precision.
Non-invasive breathing support methods are designed to help babies breathe by keeping their lungs inflated. However, due to unaccounted for leaks in the system, there is no way of knowing the actual pressure being delivered to the lungs. Clinicians must therefore use a guess and check method when setting the pressure, which can result in the pressure being too high or too low.
Ventora’s continuous airway pressure monitoring device will make this process easier. The device will improve the accuracy of breathing support, reduce the incidence and impact of further breathing complications, and save hospitals time and money by reducing the patient’s length of stay.
“We conducted clinical observations and interviews at several neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) across Melbourne where this clinical need became apparent,” says Amy Yu, Ventora CTO.
The solution was developed through collaboration between clinicians from the Royal Women’s Hospital, biomedical engineers from the Melbourne School of Engineering and MBA candidates from the Melbourne Business School as part of the University of Melbourne’s BioDesign Innovation course.
“Our lead clinical advisor and team member, A/Prof Christiane Theda provides a clinical perspective on design and access to the Royal Women’s Hospital NICU,” says Amy.
“Helping premature babies breathe is what drives our team to succeed. Ultimately, our goal is to pave the way for evidence-based care in NICUs and set new standards of neonatal care,” says Edward Buijs, Ventora CEO.
In 2019, Ventora joined The Accelerator. Delivered by the MedTech Actuator, the industry-led, venture-backed program aggressively funds and accelerates medical, health and biological technology startups. The MedTech Actuator works alongside venture capital partner Artesian to support startups on their journey.
The Accelerator’s tailored mentorship, commercialisation curriculum and network has helped the team to secure seed funding, develop a to-scale proof of concept device, submit a PCT patent application and prepare their Angel round.
“The one-week intensive sprints covered a wide range of medical device commercialisation topics,” says Edward. The team applied this information to develop their own commercialisation strategy.
“The Accelerator has given us the foundation upon which to develop and launch our business and ultimately change the face of healthcare in the NICU.”
Ventora’s biggest challenge was finding the right external expertise and advice to help navigate the early stages of the startup journey.
“This is where the MedTech Actuator team has been a fantastic resource. They have provided us with tailored commercialisation support and mentorship and connected us to their unrivalled network of commercialisation experts and startup alumni,” says Edward.
This has allowed the team to find and fill gaps within their collective experience and accelerate development.
For emerging entrepreneurs looking to improve or save lives with new health, medical and biological technologies, Amy says that it is important to have a deep understanding of the clinical need they are addressing before finding a solution.
“Starting with a detailed specification of the need which takes into account the patient, provider and healthcare system allows the most optimal solution to be developed.”
To learn more about Ventora and follow their journey, go to www.ventoramedical.com.
Do you have a MedTech, HealthTech or BioTech prototype to improve or save lives? Find out more about The Accelerator.