Navi Medical Technologies awarded NHMRC grant

Congratulations to MedTech Actuator alumnus Navi Medical Technologies, awarded an NHMRC Development Grant worth almost $900,000. 

The NHMRC’s Development Grant scheme helps take research to the proof-of-concept stage, a critical step on the pathway to successful commercialisation. Each Development Grant application was assessed by up to 10 peer reviewers: five scientific reviewers and five commercial reviewers. This speaks volumes for the quality of Navi’s application and the value of the work they are doing to improve the care of vulnerable neonates.

In partnership with the University of Melbourne, The Royal Women’s Hospital and The Royal Children’s Hospital the funds will be used to expand Navi’s research into central line management in older children.

The NHMRC is one of the ten largest funders of health research in the world. It only invests in the highest quality health and medical research and the best researchers and supports the translation of scientific discoveries to benefit communities in Australia and around the world.

Congratulations to (L-R) Christiane Theda, Brad Bergmann, Shing Yue Sheung, Mubin Yousuf, Wei Sue and Alexander Newton.

In the last three months Navi have also commenced their first-in-human research at the Royal Women’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit, using their prototype on newborns for the first time. They have received a Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund grant to expand research in the Royal Women’s Hospital to adjacent newborn procedures, and won funding from the US FDA-funded National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation.

Find out more about Navi and their NHMRC grant success.

Story adapted from content courtesy of Lance Chia GAICD, Liverpool Innovation Precinct.

Baby bottle that self-sterilises on the go

Equity crowdfunding expression of interest is now open on Birchal for Form-i-Baby’s world-first self-sterilising baby bottle. Pronto Bottle will make bottle feeding safer for babies, save precious time for parents and keep millions of bottles out of landfill every year.

The durable bottle uses the latest ultraviolet light wave technology to self-sterilise at home and on the go, freeing up around an hour every day on bottle preparation and reducing the bottles a family needs down to just one.

Pronto Bottle is incredibly easy to use. All it takes is rinsing and filling with water, then pressing a button and the bottle and water is sterilised all at once – ready to add formula, or empty and add breastmilk, to feed the baby.

Form-i-Baby was founded by Melbourne-based entrepreneur Shannon Gilleland who realised there was a real need for a better alternative through her own experience as a parent and through follow-on market research.

“I was sitting in the back of my car trying to prepare a bottle for my daughter, juggling a thermos of hot water to heat it, and the formula containers to fill it,” recalls Shannon.

“It occurred to me that it was ridiculous that the process hasn’t changed in 20 years.”

Shannon realised that while we have more technology to help us with some processes at home, nothing has actually reduced the number of tasks.

“Plus, as I became more eco-conscious, finding a way to reduce the influx of plastic into my life that came with having a baby, and especially as a bottle feeding parent, became a higher priority,” says Shannon.

With her initial idea in mind, Shannon interviewed and surveyed over 100 parents to find out how they travelled with their baby. She discovered that their biggest pain points were around the amount of time parents spent washing, sterilising, and preparing bottles.

Shannon went about developing a product that solved this problem to save parents time while at home and travelling.

“At the same time I was able to develop a product that provided a safer bottle feeding solution for babies. Pronto Bottle is sterilised directly before a baby feeds from it, rather than leaving a pre-sterilised bottle sitting around on a benchtop or in a nappy bag for up to 24-hours risking bacterial and viral exposure to the baby when they finally do feed from it.”

Shannon joined the MedTech Actuator in 2019 to gain personal mentoring and technical knowledge on the MedTech industry in areas including manufacturing, marketing, strategy, IP, commercialisation, as well as support on fundraising and investor relationships.

The 15-month, industry-led, venture-backed program aggressively funds and accelerates medical, health and biological technology startups, working alongside venture partner Artesian to support startups on their journey.

Since joining the program, Shannon has patented Pronto Bottle, raised funds, sourced board members, solidified commercialisation and business strategies, and developed her business network.

Shannon says that the bespoke industry masterclasses, and personal mentorship throughout and after the program have supported her startup journey.

“The intense masterclasses from professionals who have worked in MedTech, BioTech and HealthTech industries, and this unique skill set, would be very difficult to source elsewhere,” says Shannon.

“The close mentorship provides honest feedback on your direction, skills, progress, expertise and weaknesses, ensuring you never get to walk around with your ‘startup blinkers’ on.”

“The immense network of industry contacts that you can tap into is something you wouldn’t be able to access unless you were in the industry yourself for 20+ years, and even then, it wouldn’t be as diverse.”

Shannon says that depending what stage startups are at, the MedTech Actuator’s fundraising opportunities can provide the initial funds required to get through some of the riskiest first phases of product and company development.

Find out more about Form-i-Baby’s Birchal equity crowdfunding campaign at www.birchal.com/company/prontobottle.

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MedTech Actuator Menzies Fellowships now open

Applications are now open for 2021 MedTech Actuator Menzies Fellowships – each valued at $70,000. Two high-potential medical or scientific researchers will each receive tailored mentoring from commercialisation experts, a $20,000 stipend and access to the MedTech Actuator™.

The MedTech Actuator Menzies Fellowship is designed to unlock the potential of Australia’s world-class research and researchers.

“We know that there is great work being done by researchers in Australia – particularly in the areas of human health and medicine. We want to support this talent by giving researchers access to commercialisation expertise so that they can share their work with the people who need it most – patients and clinicians,” says MedTech Actuator CEO, Dr Buzz Palmer.

The MedTech Actuator Menzies Fellowship will support the scientific community’s commercialisation capacity by facilitating knowledge transfer from industry to researchers.

“The MedTech Actuator Menzies Fellowship will provide high-potential scientists with a grounding in the elements of commercialisation, but most importantly it will provide access to our dense network of partners – a network that spans hospitals, product development firms, multinational MedTech corporations and investors,” says Dr Palmer.

The MedTech Actuator Menzies Fellowship can be undertaken while working. Initially, fellows will embark on 6 months of mentorship – working with experts within the MedTech Actuator and along the commercialisation pipeline.

During the second 6-month phase, fellows will take part in a tailored version of our flagship, industry-led accelerator. They’ll learn how to navigate key milestones in the commercialisation journey, from developing regulatory and reimbursement strategies to product development, approaching investors and building a team. Importantly, they’ll learn with – and from – other MedTech, HealthTech and BioTech founders from across Asia Pacific.

The MedTech Actuator Menzies Fellowship is a partnership between the Menzies Foundation and the MedTech Actuator. “We are passionate about investing in our country’s future science leaders and giving them the runway to ensure that their research has an impact in the world.  We look forward to sharing their entrepreneurial journey,” Menzies Foundation CEO Liz Gillies said.

To be eligible for the Fellowship, researchers must be working in the areas of health, medical or biotechnology research and have approval from the employing institution to be absent 2-3 days per month for 6 months (July 2021 – December 2021).

If you are a career researcher – or you know one – you can find out more about the Fellowship and apply here.

The MedTech Actuator Menzies Fellowship is supported by the Menzies Foundation as part of their Entrepreneurship in Science mission in partnership with the MedTech Actuator.

Apply now