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Breakthrough for Global Executive MBA Graduate

11 Feb 2012

Health technology company CEO and recent Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) graduate John Kelly is well on his way to revolutionising a key branch of medical science.

Kelly's company, Atomo Diagnostics, has just won a $250,000 grant from Commercialisation Australia that will aid it in producing the world's first fully integrated rapid blood test device.

Hand-held and easy to use, the MicroRapid device is designed for use in both clinical and home-based environments and can be used for a range of test purposes including the detection of cardiac and cancer markers, common infectious diseases, as well as self-screening for conditions such as celiac, allergies, thyroid imbalances and anemia.

"It basically makes blood testing a lot less onerous for the clinician and the patient," says John. "The first product we're bringing to market is a HIV test, primarily for screening programs in Africa. Beyond that there's a lot of scope for the technology in the areas of infectious disease detection and self-testing applications."

The former COO of ASX-listed Unilife Medical Solutions, John decided to start the Atomo Diagnostics venture in 2009 by capitalising on his existing industry expertise.

"At Unilife, and prior to that at ResMed, we'd had a lot of success developing products that provided next-generation usability," he says. "So we decided to start looking for a similar strategic opportunities and found that blood-based diagnostics was an area that offered significant scope to innovate."

Although already having years of executive experience behind him, Kelly also decided to commence his GEMBA at the University of Sydney at the same time.

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"The two kicked off in parallel, so to me the two seem quite interconnected," says John. "When I was the COO of a bigger company I had access to experts in many areas, but when you start your own business you don't typically have those resources available. So I felt I needed to become more of a rounded executive. The GEMBA offered that in a very digestible format. I found my business plan also got adjusted and improved based on learning and experiences generated over the 18-months through the course."