NanoMSlide manufacturing smart microscope slides in Melbourne.

A new facility at the Australian National Fabrication Facility has made it possible for MedTech Actuator startup NanoMSlide to manufacture their smart nanotechnology microscope slides onshore for instant, more accurate cancer diagnosis.

Until now NanoMSlide has relied on overseas facilities for production of their invention. Housed at the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication Facility the new half-a-million dollar Phabler facility will enable industry, academia, and companies such as NanoMSlide to scale up production of nanoscale devices.

“With the Phabler facility we are now able to manufacture our slides right here in Melbourne and in quantities that will allow us to realise the full potential of our invention,” says NanoMSlide founder Professor Brian Abbey.

Current diagnostics of cancer in cells and tissues rely on chemicals, dyes, and extensive pre-processing of samples – taking valuable time and making accurate diagnosis more challenging. The new Phabler facility will make it possible for NanoMSlide to apply their patented nanopatterned coating to a conventional microscope slide, and create high-contrast images that instantly show the difference between cancerous and healthy cells.

NanoMSlide joined the MedTech Actuator in 2019 to develop their business model, connect with local and international partners and investors, build skills required to form a successful startup, and test their value proposition. The 15-month, industry-led, venture-backed program aggressively funds and accelerates medical, health and biological technology startups.

“One of the biggest challenges I faced in the MedTech Actuator was moving outside my comfort zone as a researcher,” says Brian. “As a startup founder you need to fulfil many roles and at the beginning I found pitching particularly hard. But as the program progressed I gained in confidence and experience.”

Brian is driven by the desire to improve outcomes for patients and to reduce the rate of misdiagnosis. Their invention is initially being used to diagnose early-stage breast cancer – and the team intend to scale for instant, more accurate diagnosis of other forms of cancer.

“As we are working on critical, life-changing problems, we constantly strive to develop our technology and deliver the best possible product,” says Brian.

The Medtech Actuator has connected the company with potential investors and industry partners. This dense innovation ecosystem is critical to success – Brian says it is important for MedTech entrepreneurs to seek advice from diverse experts and to be prepared to challenge your assumptions.

“We realised a few times in the MedTech Actuator that our initial plan was not ideal from a commercial perspective. While it was a difficult decision to change direction, the company is now in a much stronger position,” says Brian.

“I would recommend the MedTech Actuator to anyone with a great idea or potential product in the MedTech space – the community and support are fantastic and we had an unforgettable experience.”

Learn more about how the new Phabler tool is supporting NanoMSlide to manufacture their invention onshore and scale in this story from the Australian National Fabrication Facility.

La Trobe University aims to engage with industry partners and commercialise the NanoMSlide through a new spin-out company, AlleSense. Find out more.

Safeguarding frontline & essential workers from COVID-19 & future pandemics.

Expression of interest recently opened to invest in Soterius. The MedTech Actuator startup is scaling its COVID-19 biosensor to help protect workers and the wider community from devastating health, social and economic impacts of future pandemics.

The reliable, accurate and non-invasive Soterius biosensor delivers immediate results, informing whether an individual is required to test for infection and self-isolate or providing the all-clear to enter their work environment. The biosensor will initially be delivered to hospitals, with future applications in other frontline and essential worker settings including quarantine hotels, airports, and schools.

Emerging environmental viral sensors are bulky, energy intensive and specific to one virus. In contrast, the Soterius biosensor is so small that it fits on a personal fob card and is now scaling to detect other respiratory illnesses. Importantly, the biosensor is easy to use: individuals just swipe their card over a reader at checkpoints.

Prototype tests revealed that the biosensor detects SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in the picomolar range with impressive accuracy and reliability. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus responsible for COVID-19. This indicates that Soterius could be a top performing diagnostic for respiratory illnesses by immediately detecting the lowest presence of viral load.

Founded by Dr Alasdair Wood and Dr Chih Wei Teng, the Soterius biosensor is being developed in collaboration with the Burnet Institute, RMIT University, D+I and Vestech.

“In 2019, when the terms ‘social distancing’ and ‘stage 4 lockdown restrictions’ were unheard of, we observed inherent weaknesses in the world’s ability to protect itself against respiratory infection,” recalls Alasdair.

Alasdair and Chih Wei joined the MedTech Actuator – Asia Pacific’s MedTech catalyst – in 2019 to validate their ideas, connect with product designers and partners, and build the skills necessary for scaling their company.

“The MedTech Actuator is a complete package. You’re bound to learn and gain new perspectives, no matter how experienced you are,” says Chih Wei.

For Alasdair, the camaraderie and friendship amongst startups has also been a highlight.

“Peer learning is always great – we went through highs and lows together in a safe environment. I also love the people that populate the MedTech Actuator. The team is great and the people they bring in are amazing – including mentor Dr Elane Zelcer. Our new connections with peers, mentors and the wider ecosystem persist beyond the program,” says Alasdair.

“The MedTech Actuator provides the tools and connections to make ideas a reality, which is a very exciting proposition. But be ready to sprint!”

Reach out to Co-Founder and CEO Chih Wei Teng at chih(@)soterius.com.au to express interest in becoming a Soterius investor.

See the Soterius biosensor in this recent Channel 9 News story and read more about the technology and collaboration in this RMIT University media release.

Photo courtesy of RMIT University: Soterius sensors being prepared at RMIT University’s Micro Nano Research Facility for advanced manufacturing of cutting-edge electronics.

Asia Pacific’s best emerging health entrepreneurs join MedTech Actuator.

Entrepreneurs working to improve and save lives through health innovation have joined the MedTech Actuator – Asia Pacific’s MedTech catalyst.

We wish a warm welcome to our new cohort of clinicians, researchers and other changemakers with big plans to radically accelerate their medical, health or biological technology prototype or proof-of-concept:

  • GenEmbryomics: IVF Embryo Whole Genome Sequencing.
  • Gild: Improving healthcare access by developing gap-payment technology.
  • HatiSens: A handheld sensing device that can accurately diagnose heart attack in under 10 minutes.
  • Moon technologies: Providing emergency patients’ health data to paramedics in real-time.
  • Osteo-X: An internally self-locking intramedullary nail (orthopaedics) that reduces surgical time and radiation exposure.
  • Quitta: Developing safe, effective nicotine replacement therapies for the world’s 1.3 billion smokers.
  • The Mindful Mum (Rebranding to “Nourri”): A digital health platform that helps modern families nurture their health and happiness – for everyone’s benefit.
  • Virtetic: Empowering the prosthetics community through virtual reality.
  • XLR8: Developing wearable sensors and Rebee application to allow patients to perform physical rehabilitation exercises anywhere, any time.
  • Yabi: An innovative, accurate and automated method for monitoring and escalating surgical drain output.

The MedTech Actuator’s specialised acceleration model will surround the startups with the ecosystem support they need to bring their MedTech, HealthTech or BioTech innovation to the patients and clinicians who need it most.

Through MedTech Actuator’s intensive mentorship, industry collaboration, up to AUD$200K initial capital injection and capital raising support, the founders can achieve in 15 months what can typically take 3 years or more.

Embedded in the MedTech Actuator™ ecosystem, they will radically advance their technology development, raise seed capital, and build critical business and management skills. They will become primed and ready to grow their venture even further – including raising series A funding, commencing clinical trials, gaining regulatory approvals, and moving to at-scale manufacturing, and market launch.

Integrated across Asia Pacific, the industry-led MedTech Actuator will open an unrivalled network to founders, including 85 partners and 75 mentors from some of the largest names in health innovation spanning multi-national corporations, hospitals and clinicians, investor groups and VCs, professional service partners, universities and research institutions, and product development firms.

They will go on to join an alumni network of the brightest emerging startups from across Asia Pacific and our networks are their networks as they scale up, prepare for exit and beyond.

To follow founders and their journey sign up to our newsletter below and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarships applications open

Are you a researcher in MedTech, BioTech or HealthTech looking to explore entrepreneurship and commercialisation? Do you have a research project with market translation potential? Apply now for 2021 MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarships!

Applications are now open for the 2021 MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarships. Ten researchers will each receive a tailored learning experience, access to exclusive industry events and a one-off,  $1,000 stipend to explore entrepreneurship and commercialisation goals.  

Scholarships are available to high-potential scientists in MedTech, BioTech or HealthTech and researchers who may be undertaking their honours, masters, PhD or PostDoc – or perhaps have recently started working in industry. 

Scholarship recipients will be provided with unparalleled networking opportunities, leadership mentoring and insights into a career that fuses science, research, and entrepreneurship.

“Researchers make some of the most promising entrepreneurs – they are curious, natural problem solvers, humble and used to getting back on their feet after experiment failures.”
– Dr Buzz Palmer, CEO MedTech Actuator

The three-month scholarship will run from October to December and can be undertaken remotely while studying and working. Valued over $10,000, scholars will have access to the MedTech Actuator knowledge hub, online workshops, a three-day intensive from November 15 – 17 and the MedTech Actuator Showcase on December 9. 

“The MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship helped me improve my understanding of the MedTech industry, and I am already applying this new knowledge to our initiatives in women’s health technologies. I am extremely grateful to the MedTech Actuator and Menzies Foundation for providing me with this opportunity!”
Ritesh Warty, MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholar

Scholarship recipients will learn alongside Australia’s best emerging entrepreneurs competing in the MedTech Actuator Origin pitch competition. In the final month of the scholarship, recipients will attend the MedTech Actuator Showcase and network with the largest names in global MedTech corporates, clinicians, ecosystem VIPs and investors.

Beyond these unique insights and opportunities, scholarship recipients will gain an extensive overview of entrepreneurship, the startup ecosystem and the commercialisation process. Topics will include business modelling, pitching, intellectual property, product development, branding, path-to-market, and more.

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

If you are an academic or industry  scientist or researcher – or you know one – you can find out more about the scholarship and apply today.

Key dates:

  • Applications open July 5 – August 20
  • Shortlisted candidates notified August 25
  • Video interviews September 9
  • MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship outcomes released September 15
  • MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship Lunches October
  • MedTech Actuator Origin intensive November 15 – 17
  • MedTech Actuator Showcase Gala December 9

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

Apply now