Congratulations to the MedTech Actuator Origin 2022 Finalists!

Out of thirteen impressive startups that made it to the Origin Semi-final, MedTech Actuator is proud to announce four finalists moving forward to pitch at the MedTech Actuator Showcase in December.

After three days of intensive workshops, 10 emerging founders took to the stage to pitch in the 2022 MedTech Actuator Origin Semi-finals. Amongst the Australian founders, three Semi-Finalists from Origin Japan also joined the program in Melbourne, where they learned from industry experts, pressure-tested their innovations, and explored Australia’s startup ecosystem. 

Tackling some of the biggest challenges in healthcare, Finalists are innovating across dental, IVF, itching and endometriosis. Meet the MedTech Actuator Origin 2022 Finalists:


Team members: Liam Murray, Aaron Binns, Anna Dai, Ashwin Ho, Ivy Weng 

AcuDent is developing a medical device to revolutionise the detection of severe gum disease.

AcuDent’s device, the AcuProbe, applies computer vision within the oral environment to more efficiently and accurately conduct the work that current practice burdens the clinician to do manually. The device will ensure that proper diagnosis is achieved to avoid the occurrence of undetected periodontitis, ensuring patients receive the best possible care and dramatically reducing the chances of tooth loosening and tissue degradation – keeping everyone smiling longer.


Team members: Amin Abbas, Nay Minn, Dr Rizwan Jaipurwala, Frederick Lau, Joey Zhou, Steven Wong

ENVI is improving endometriosis imaging by using ultrasound with inbuilt guidance and 3D reconstruction.

ENVI is working on creating a device that can diagnose endometriosis using ultrasound. The device aims to reduce the diagnostic duration for endometriosis. This allows patients to receive an early diagnosis and hence access to early treatment.  Early diagnosis gives patients hope of slowing disease progression and reduces the harmful long-term risks associated with endometriosis, including its association with an increase in cancer risk. It also benefits GPs by reducing multiple patient visits with undifferentiated symptoms, improving the workflow of primary care staff and increasing patient satisfaction. 

Innova IVF

Team members: Dr Fabrizzio Horta, Dr Victor Cadarso, Prof Adrian Neild, Prof Beverley Vollenhoven, A/Prof Sally Catt

Innova IVF is creating simple, affordable chip technology to measure the energy of embryos in real time for IVF treatments.

Innova IVF aims to improve treatments for couples suffering from infertility worldwide. The most critical aspect of IVF treatments relies on the selection of embryos that will lead to a healthy live birth. Thus, the team aims to improve embryo selection by introducing novel non-invasive technology to measure the embryo’s energy in the form of metabolic activity.

Osaka Heat Cool

Team members: Kenzo Ibano, Kiyono Yoshikuni, Toru Sugahara, Kuichi Itoh, Katsunari Sato, Shintaro Izumi 

Osaka Heat Cool helps to tackle the symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis (AD), allergies, and other skin diseases by stopping itchiness using thermal illusion on the skin.

The team is solving the pain caused by itching using thermal illusion on the skin. Using an illusion called the thermal grill illusion, the device provides pain sensation by applying hot and cold sensations simultaneously. This pain sensation does not harm the skin, instead relieves the itch without scratching by nails.

We would like to thank our judges Dr Buzz Palmer, CEO of MedTech Actuator, Lorace Zhang, CEO at Vysum and MedTech Actuator Origin 2021 Winner, Laxmi Pun, Director of Early-stage Investments at Breakthrough Victoria, Shanna Lam, Project Officer at MedTech Actuator, and all community members for attending the MedTech Actuator Origin Semi-final and cheering on startups improving health outcomes.

The MedTech Actuator Origin Final will take place on Thursday, December 1 at the MedTech Actuator Showcase. At the Showcase, teams will have the chance to take home a $10K cash prize, over $5k worth of in-kind support and gain access to fast-tracked entry into MedTech Actuator Accelerator 2023.

What is next?

Preparations are now underway for a night-of-nights celebration at the MedTech Actuator Showcase, where all programs converge and the ecosystem – from across the Asia-Pacific – will come together to applaud the achievements, impact and progress of founders in health innovation. 

The MedTech Actuator Showcase will be held on Thursday, December 1 in Melbourne. If you are interested in purchasing a table or sponsoring a prize for this exclusive event, please reach out to Matthew Frith, Chief Commercial Officer at MedTech Actuator.

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MedTech Actuator Origin is supported by the REDI initiative, powered by MTPConnect, funded by the MRFF and LaunchVic.

From fighting cancer to founding ChezLeon: Cheryl Pollock’s story

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and MedTech Actuator would like to acknowledge the impacts of breast cancer and the importance of creating awareness about it. 

MedTech Actuator startups work to improve and save the lives of people through health innovation. This month we are shining a light on ChezLeon, a MedTech Actuator startup that designs & manufactures patented DP-TX Massage Wear that helps relieve pain and reduce swelling from fluid blockages. Fluid blockages can be caused by a wide range of conditions including lymphoedema, mastitis, oedema, heart & vascular conditions, major surgery, injuries and post-breast cancer treatment. By treating the blockage rather than the swelling, DP-TX products help patients regain their freedom and quality of life.

The journey from fighting cancer to founding ChezLeon

 Cheryl Pollock came up with the idea for her startup ChezLeon after going through cancer treatment and dealing with lymphoedema herself. 

After undergoing cancer treatment involving the removal of all my lymph nodes in both groins, I started to experience pain and swelling caused by the blockage to the lymphatic system.  I tried everything on the market and found that the current treatments were unsatisfactory and were causing more issues”, Cheryl Pollock, CEO and Founder of ChezLeon Pty Ltd.

With a background in mechanical engineering, construction and studying remedial massage and the lymphatic system, she realised that the current treatments were not addressing the problem which is the blockage caused by the surgery and lymph node damage.

The current treatments for lymphoedema focused on the outcome – the swelling; they were not suitable for everyone, particularly in the hot Australian climate. Using her engineering skills, Cheryl designed a clothing insert using differential pressure to gently massage the site of the blockage providing immediate relief. ChezLeon DP-TX massage bra inserts for Breast Cancer, gently massage the area of the blockage, helping to break down scar tissue and to move the fluid around the blockage. It helps drain the limbs or prevent build-up in the limb or associated area. Soon Cheryl was approached by other patients suffering from various fluid blockage conditions asking for help. Seeing patients dealing with pain and swelling for several years and finding immediate relief by wearing the product is what drove Cheryl to do more. 

“I was able to help women with golf-ball size swelling and pain due to lymphoedema lead a pain-free life with the ability to return to work and regain their quality of life”, adds Cheryl.

ChezLeon DP-TX massage inserts

Bringing the product to market

The startup journey has been challenging for ChezLeon, particularly in finding a manufacturer, and a supportive community. Existing manufacturers were reluctant due to a lack of capability and skills. After spending months finding the right manufacturer locally, in the end, ChezLeon had to rely on outsourcing manufacturing for the product.

Being a solo female founder in her 60s, it has been a hard road to find funding for ChezLeon. Due to the nature of its product, bridging the funding gap between the Minimum Viable Product (testing) to commercialisation (market launch) has been complicated due to the costs involved. 

In spite of these challenges, ChezLeon is breaking through these barriers and making significant progress in bringing high-impact health products to market. Cheryl advises startups on a similar path to focus on their passion and the impact their product can have on patients when facing difficult times in their commercialisation journey.

I started as a patient and then worked with patients gaining a real understanding of what they were experiencing and what they wanted.  I developed my products with and for the patients.  They gave me the passion and determination to get through hard times, they picked me up and kept me going.  Being a medical start-up is one of the most difficult paths to go down. Without passion and people to motivate you, it would be extremely difficult. Deeply understand what your patients need by listening to their pain and addressing the cause; you will find helping them the most rewarding and grateful experience”.

MedTech Actuator Accelerator Experience 

 ChezLeon joined MedTech Actuator Accelerator Cohort 5 in 2020 with the hope to gain networking, support and funding opportunities. Since then ChezLeon has been able to get private investment and get sample runs manufactured and trialled with hospitals such as Liverpool &  Campbelltown Hospitals, GenesisCare – Gold Coast, Breast Cancer Physio-Gold Coast and Oncology Recovery Service-Sydney. The company is also engaged in the planned clinical study of head and neck Lymphoedema at  Mater Hospital Newcastle.

“I recommend joining the MedTech Actuator Accelerator early to set the foundation and map out the pathway as this will save a lot of time and energy in the long run. The MedTech Actuator gives you a great foundation to navigate the difficult pathway through the development of medical products. Their connections and networks give you access to specialists in their particular field worldwide so you get the latest information from the source”, Cheryl.

Cheryl at the MedTech Actuator’s Morning with Women in Health Entrepreneurship event.

Breast Cancer Awareness

Chery Pollock, CEO and Founder, ChezLeon Pty Ltd

“Everyone’s cancer journey is different. From my experience, going through cancer treatment is very scary, as you go through a range of emotions. It’s as if life stands still, nothing matters except your family and getting through this. Then you are told that due to the treatment you could end up with lymphoedema, a debilitating swelling of a limb/s with no cure. ‘You have just survived a death sentence only to be given a life sentence’. 

As with cancer, early detection is the key to a successful outcome, the same applies to lymphoedema. Early intervention, and taking a preventative approach help with the long-term management of fluid build-up. As it can take from 3 to 30 years for swelling to develop enough to be diagnosed, patients need to take a proactive approach to manage their condition from day one.  From breaking down scar tissue to encourage lymph growth and strengthening lymphatic pathways to self-massage, exercise, skincare and deep breathing.  Also understanding their condition, their body and what works for them.  There is no miracle cure, no one-off treatment, it is a condition that has to be managed for the rest of your life therefore any treatment has to be maintained.  The most important thing is to have a positive attitude, have some fun and laugh as often as possible.  This not only helps you but also those around you who are on the journey with you”, Cheryl on breast cancer awareness. 

Learn more about the lymphatic system, lymphoedema and how to manage it on ChezLeon’s website and follow their journey as they create awareness about Breast Cancer.

Expression of interest is now open for MedTech Actuator Accelerator 2023.

The MedTech Actuator Accelerator is supported by the REDI initiative, powered by MTPConnect, funded by the MRFF and LaunchVic.

Meet the 2022 MedTech Actuator Origin Cohort

Meet the 29 impressive teams from across Australia selected for the MedTech Actuator Origin 2022. 

Over three days in Melbourne, emerging founders will dive into workshops and industry-led mentoring to help them turbocharge projects and build a strategy to get their ideas to market. The Origin cohort will be joined by the impressive 2022 MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholars. During the sprint, teams will be introduced to topics such as idea validation, intellectual property, pitching, pathways to market, business models, navigating Australia’s healthcare ecosystem, and funding for early-stage ventures.

Ten projects from Australia will be selected to pitch at the Origin Semi-final, along with three Semi-finalist teams from Japan, to secure their place in the Origin Final at the MedTech Actuator Showcase in December.

The Origin 2022 participants include clinicians, researchers, and students working on MedTech, HealthTech and BioTech innovations that will improve the lives of patients and impact clinicians’ workflows. These solutions span key areas in human health, including dental, oncology, IVF, mental health, cardiology, allied health and more.

Welcome to our Origin 2022 participants

We are excited to announce the 29 teams participating in the MedTech Actuator Origin intensive sprint and competing in the Rapid Fire Round. 

  1. 2Hip4U | Kate Gallagher | Designing custom-made clothing that is practical and comfortable for babies with hip dysplasia.

  2. AcuDent | Liam Murray, Aaron Binns, Anna Dai, Ashwin Ho, Ivy Weng| Developing a medical device to revolutionise the detection of severe gum disease.

  3. AdraCard| Liam Mahony, Lachlan Timms | Creating an alternative to the EpiPen that eliminates the burden of carrying your adrenaline.

  4. C-arm Angio Screens patient positioning| Tim Stewart | Developing patient positioning devices for intraop use in the Cath Lab and Radiology.

  5. Ello Medical | Maria Borsaru, Daniel Malkinson, Kai Van Lieshout, Jeremy Yeh | A centralised directory for hospital staff to reach available clinicians.

  6. Innova IVF | Dr Fabrizzio Horta, Dr Victor Cadarso, Prof Adrian Neild, Prof Beverley Vollenhoven, A/Prof Sally Catt | Simple, affordable chip technology to measure the energy of embryos in real time for IVF treatments.

  7. La Petite Médicale | Rochelle De Silva, Laura Harman | Preventing extravasation injuries in pediatric patients through monitoring of cannula position.

  8. Frame Health | Melinda Wassell, Marcus Yeo | Efficient, compliant and helpful note-taking software for great clinical outcomes in allied health.

  9. Hormoneo | Hope Newman, Olivia Voulgaris | Developing a continuous hormone monitoring device to boost IVF success.

  10. TENSible | Sean James Dominique, Victoria Shi, Gwyneth Chua, Akanksha Agarwal, Josephine Wong | A non-invasive electrical stimulation device that offers personalised chronic back pain relief.

  11. LYF: Leveraging In Vitro Gametogenesis (IVG)| Jenna Hall | Helping people start families on a timeline best suited to them using stem cell technology.

  12. Sensure Medical |Brandon Qilin Chen, Aaron Khoo, Daniel Bertone, Michael Qu, Sophia Hsiang | A novel way to improve safety and accuracy of injections through tip localisation.

  13. Noodles Medical| Christopher Ong Yean Hong, Cindy Millenia Hidajat, Robert Jenny, Rochelle De Silva, Simone Di Bisceglie | A self-use device to treat and monitor chronic pelvic pain associated with the high-tone pelvic floor.

  14. Acegirl |Desiree D’Cruz | Empowering women to thrive at motherhood and life by creating discreet wearable breast pumps.

  15. SenSur | Fateme Akhlaghi Bagherjeri | Creating a non-invasive point-of-care multi-marker biosensor as a cardiac diagnostic tool.

  16. Vertere | Urwah Nawaz, Kate Leone, Jacky Cai, Vishal Uppal, Sharjeel Nawaz | An all-integrative lateral rotation mattress combined with machine learning automated prevention of pressure sore development. We are building a low-cost disability friendly mattress that provides PwD autonomy over their sleep

  17. EnVi | Amin Abbas | Endometriosis imaging using ultrasound with inbuilt guidance and 3D reconstruction

  18. OncoSure | Benjamin Arya, Oliver Cucanic | Detecting cancer early. In the comfort of your own home.

  19. Living Lateral Australia | Anita Nikora | It is self-operated & raises a patient from lying on their back to seated on the side of their bed.

  20. Tupointo Health – The Helping Hand |Julian Bianco, Mark Perrott, Maggie Lam., Robert Tran, Shehan Wisidagama | Safe patient rolling and holding device for nurses to reduce workplace manual handling injuries.

  21. Aware Care Baby |Clive Kaicer, Jenny Kirschner, Sarah Hunstead, Robert Wise, Jon Seddon | To help parents make informed decisions about their baby’s safety in prams on hot days

  22. DocuMed | Andrew Xu, Gary Chen, Geetika Gupta, Jacky Chen, Sebastian Mensink, Sreshta Sheri | Enables doctors to remind patients of key information from outpatient consultations

  23. Smartheal | Santosh Kaur | SmartHeal allows you to replace paper rulers and dipsticks for wound measurement.

  24. EMR-AI | Taser Zoubi | Leveraging electronic medical records to improve the lives of Australians through the early detection of Osteoporosis.

  25. Kali Healthcare | Emerson Keenan | A digital health platform for pregnancy monitoring to provide better access to care

  26. Shrinker | Omar Ibrahim | Solving the problem any therapy seeker faces, not knowing if their prospective therapist will be a good personal match/fit, through Artificial Intelligence, genetics, and neuroscience

  27. VR for remote mental healthcare support | Shiva Pedram | Provision of mental healthcare through applications of VR for members of remote communities.

  28. Ophthalmoscope | Jacob Cook |  Patient-empowered retina analysis

  29. A-Eye | Mojtaba Golzan | A-Eye is a disruptive technology platform that detects signs of abnormal brain pressure through a simple eye scan

What is next?

The experience culminates in the MedTech Actuator Origin Semi-Finals on 27th October where teams will compete for a place in the MedTech Actuator Showcase. At the Showcase, teams will have the chance to win a share of the $10K prize pool, over $5k worth of in-kind support and gain access to fast-tracked entry into MedTech Actuator Accelerator 2023.

Stay in the loop by signing up for our newsletter below to get the latest updates on our programs and upcoming events.

MedTech Actuator Origin is supported by LaunchVic and the REDI Initiative, powered by MTPConnect. 

MedTech Actuator Origin Alumni: Vause Medical

Vause Medical is making lumbar punctures more accurate and accessible in newborns. Using machine learning and medical imaging, the team are creating LumVi – a guidance system that will help clinicians choose the best point to insert needles during lumbar punctures, increasing accuracy and efficiency of care. This will allow more children to have access to this crucial procedure and medical care, no matter where they are.

Vause Medical’s Origin story

Mara Quach, Shelby Holland, and Michelle Callow, founders of Vause Medical, came together while undertaking the University of Melbourne’s BioDesign Innovation course in 2021. After talking with clinicians, the team identified the recurrent problem of finding accurate puncture points, prevalent across paediatrics and general medical practices. When a newborn is brought to an emergency room with a fever or seizures, chances are they will need to get a test for meningitis, which includes a lumbar puncture where a long needle is inserted into their back. This critical procedure is not only painful, but also difficult to perform on small children, particularly in rural areas with the added costs of equipment, wages, manual labour, and a need for an extra specialist to perform the imaging. With a device like Lumvi, the team aims to streamline lumbar punctures with medical imaging to identify puncture points, taking the guesswork out of difficulty in meningitis diagnoses.

Motivation to improve healthcare accessibility

Healthcare disparities in the team’s respective home countries impacted them directly and drove them to come together to try and create a solution that removes barriers to accessing healthcare. 

For Shelby Holland, financial barriers to healthcare are the motivator: 

As a US citizen, I don’t have access to health insurance as it’s a huge cost for me. Back in 2019 when I went home to visit my family over Christmas, I didn’t have health insurance. I had to go to the hospital for an anaphylactic reaction and I am still paying off those medical bills. There are countless times in my life when I’ve had to make the decision between using my EpiPen and going to the hospital and incurring the costs after,” Shelby Holland.

For Mara Quach, her personal motivation comes from her experience in Vietnam where healthcare resources are limited. 

When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time in hospitals as my mother was really sick. The question to me was how do you distribute a limited amount of resources to 90 million citizens in a country? Experiencing illness and seeing cancer patients not getting access to treatments motivated me to try to make healthcare accessible and adequate for all,” Mara Quach.

After spending significant time working in the pharmaceutical industry, Michelle Callow is inspired to address the biases in healthcare.

I’m very conscious of inequities in health globally. In my current role in the pharmaceutical industry, I see the impact that innovation could have on patient outcomes and equally in remote areas. I am driven by the impact that innovation can have not only on addressing problems in accessing resources but also on the patient and their families,” Michelle Callow.

Their strong support network consisting of the MedTech Actuator, BioDesign Innovation leaders and other startups is driving the team to bring this product to market. 

We want to make our idea work as we want people to live happier, healthier lives and want to make an impact on newborns and their families”.

The MedTech Actuator Origin experience

Before applying to the MedTech Actuator Origin, Vause Medical was undertaking BioDesign Innovation at the University of Melbourne. Having completed the concept designs and early-stage clinical validation, the next step was to develop a prototype and build their network. 

We knew that Origin was a well-respected competition to test out your idea and see what people think about it. So we applied for the program as it ended up being a safe learning environment to validate our theories, pressure test our concept and gain feedback from people that were valuable”, Vause Medical team.

As Vause Medical progressed, they learned innovative ways to design and test the solution to get closer to a prototype and minimum viable product. Other challenges have been finding stakeholders, such as clinicians, to assist with product development and further validation. 

The team utilised the mentoring opportunities in Origin to rework the initial LumVi designs and deepen their connections with the ecosystem. The team also engaged with regulatory consultants, who helped to craft a clear vision of what a LumVi would look like in clinical settings and how this would inform the subsequent regulatory pathway. From here, the team were able to pivot and refine their product strategy and better address a variety of benefits to different stakeholders. 

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel

During ideation, Vause Medical received key advice from mentors early on – don’t try to reinvent the wheel – and this has become their north star. For emerging teams and startups, Vause Medical advises a similar approach; don’t try to change something for the sake of changing something, you must start with a powerful mission statement that addresses a clinical need for a specific user group. 

From an industry perspective, Michelle advises, “Healthcare is a challenging industry to be in because of all the regulations that we have. You should have a real love or connection to what you’re developing and a business or a clinical need”. 

When it comes to taking the first step, Vause Medical recommend reaching out and not being shy when it comes to asking for help from partners, distributors, and manufacturers. There is power in asking for help and you never know where one conversation can lead to.

Mentors and advisors of Vause Medical have been incredible drivers to help progress the team, including: 

  • The BioDesign Innovation lecturers, Prof David Grayden, Prof Kwanghui Lim, and Simon Wilkins, showed the A-Z of identifying a problem that is worth bringing to market. 
  • Yaser Darban, General Manager of Sales Strategy at EnTech Electronics, was their Origin mentor and who inspired them inspiration, shared wisdom and connected the team to other industry partners. 
  • Elise Sutherland, Founder of Stelect, guided them through some of the early-stage unknowns of building a healthcare venture.

Apply for MedTech Actuator Origin 2022

Vause Medical made it to the Semi-finals of MedTech Actuator Origin 2021, helping them to get out of an echo chamber and into the startup ecosystem. The Origin experience connected them with key stakeholders and mentors, enabling them opportunities to stress-test LumVi and dive into their product strategy.

MedTech Actuator Origin is a pre-accelerator for the MedTech Actuator’s Accelerator program. Participants can gain fast-tracked entry into the program and the Winner of Origin receives further mentoring to help address key milestones required for the application. After completing MedTech Actuator Origin, Vause Medical applied and was accepted into the MedTech Actuator Accelerator Cohort 7.

Origin was incredibly beneficial for us, as it gave us that springboard that we needed and the confidence to know that we could progress forward. We are very grateful for the opportunity and are fortunate to join MedTech Actuator Accelerator as the next step. We’re working hard on LumVi, and we’re dedicated to getting it to market”, Michelle Callow.

Whether you’re a researcher, scientist, clinician or student, MedTech Actuator Origin is looking for passionate entrepreneurs to transform healthcare. The winner of MedTech Actuator Origin will receive a $10k cash prize, over $5k worth of in-kind support and gain access to fast-tracked entry into MedTech Actuator Accelerator 2023.

Have questions about the application or program?

Check out the FAQs or reach out to Makenzie, Program and Community Coordinator via email – makenzie@medtechactuator.com – or book a meeting with the team via calendly

MedTech Actuator Origin is supported by LaunchVic and the REDI Initiative, powered by MTPConnect.