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.