Sep 19, 2022

MedTech Actuator Origin Alumni: Vysum

MedTech Actuator Origin Alumni: Vysum

Vysum is developing an eye drop delivery device to make administration more convenient, comfortable and accurate for all, starting with glaucoma eye drop users. Vysum’s solution also supports clinicians to make more informed decisions by providing compliance data on eye drop administration.

Vysum’s Origin story

The idea for Vysum originated from the University of Melbourne’s BioDesign Innovation course, where the team came together in 2021. The team comprises members from diverse backgrounds, with Lorace Zhang, CEO, bringing a scientific background (Biomedical engineering) and is joined by business-driven co-founders David Lin and Isaac Ho. Together, the team is united by their passion to improve the lives of patients suffering from glaucoma.

The team was determined to address an unmet clinical need and interviewing multiple clinicians and ophthalmologists highlighted the struggles of treatment compliance of glaucoma patients. Speaking with hundreds of patients unveiled the scale of this clinical problem, with many patients failing to adhere to treatment plans due to difficulty administering eye drops. At this point, the idea for an eye drop administration device was born to improve health outcomes for glaucoma patients. 

The team in its early days working on the idea for Vysum

Improving clinical outcomes of glaucoma patients and enabling a more positive lifestyle with the use of their device is the team’s mission. For patients with glaucoma, adherence to the treatment regime means preventing blindness. 

“There are devices that can aid in eye drop delivery, listed on 510K database, that date back to 1985. But the problem is still unsolved as these devices are not addressing the core of the problem: the difficulty of administration AND compliance, which is now self-reported by patients. We believe that accurate compliance data will help clinicians make more informed treatment decisions. Challenging the existing market and making the device available to patients is what drives me forward,” says Lorace Zhang, CEO of Vysum.

The journey from BioMedical Student to CEO

Lorace has embraced the transition from student to CEO, jumping out of her comfort zone and into the startup ecosystem, both a challenging and rewarding leap. For the team the biggest learnings came from engaging with the startup ecosystem through programs like MedTech Actuator Origin, industry mentoring, networking events and pitching competitions which allowed the team to establish connections across the ecosystem.

We are living through a new ‘Age of Innovation’ in health. From new diagnostics and devices to new cancer treatments and HIV interventions; from new insights in genomics and data analytics to new wearables that empower people in respect of their own health and wellbeing. It all starts with passion and a desire to create a real impact on society. Whatever the pursuit, superhero entrepreneurs – like Lorace – are out to change the world and advance healthcare for all of us”. Dr Buzz Palmer, CEO and Co-founder of MedTech Actuator.

The MedTech Actuator Origin experience

Before applying to MedTech Actuator Origin, Vysum had just completed BioDesign Innovation and was driven to maintain momentum, learn more about the MedTech ecosystem, build a strong network and tackle the next milestones in their journey. 

Through MedTech Actuator Origin, participants had a chance to pitch their innovation to the industry over multiple rounds and be selected for the MedTech Actuator Showcase – the Origin Final. With a strong pitch led by Lorace, Vysum took home the top prize as the winner of the Johnson & Johnson MedTech Actuator Origin Award 2021

With a cash prize, mentoring and support from the MedTech Actuator, Vysum received an opportunity to collaborate with product development companies. This led them to meet their mentor, Paul Carboon from Outerspace, and to continue to refine their product development goals and design and usability of the device.

Through networking opportunities, Vysum also engaged with MedTech Actuator’s foundational partner FB Rice to file a provisional patent and secure the intellectual property behind their innovation. 

MedTech Actuator Origin is a pre-accelerator for 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, Vysum received this valuable support and successfully applied and was accepted into the MedTech Actuator Accelerator’s  Cohort 7.

After completing Origin, Accelerator did almost feel like the natural step. While Origin gave us the first, official public acknowledgement of our work and vision, joining the Accelerator would give us the exposure and guidance we needed next,” says Lorace Zhang, CEO of Vysum.

Vysum, Winner of the Johnson & Johnson MedTech Actuator Origin Award 2021 at the MedTech Actuator Showcase.

The most beneficial aspects of MedTech Actuator are the exposure to the public, to the industry, and partners in the ecosystem. This helped us to validate our idea, receive public acknowledgement of what we were building and take home the cash prize, which is all very encouraging”, says Lorace Zhang, CEO of Vysum.

MedTech Actuator provides mentoring and networking opportunities to participants across all programs. Vysum is grateful to have the following mentors support their startup journey:

  • Jonathan Crowston, a renowned ophthalmologist and a glaucoma specialist, helped Vysum better understand the industry workflow and clinical requirements. 
  • An external clinical advisor, well connected to clinicians, patients and the industry, has provided clinical advice and helped to strengthen the business model.
  • Stephen Ho has been generously providing guidance on corporate governance, business case and company structure and helping the team grow.
  • Clinical advisors and lecturers of the BioDesign course, Kwanghui Lim, Simon Wilkins, and David Grayden, played pivotal roles in the team’s journey. 

Apply for MedTech Actuator Origin 2022

Are you on a similar journey to Vysum? Have an idea in its early stages that you’re interested in commercialising? Applications are open for MedTech Actuator Origin 2022 until October 7 at 11:59 pm.

“You can’t lose anything by joining Origin – but you gain a chance to win everything from cash prizes to connections, and it is a great learning opportunity! I was not a forward-facing person initially and would never have become the face of Vysum, but Origin forced me into the spotlight and encouraged me to start exploring what the founder’s life could be like”, says Lorace Zhang, CEO of Vysum.

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.