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University of Sydney spinoff companies win $7.8m from NSW government

12 October 2016
Recognising and rewarding innovation

Three medical device companies established by the University of Sydney have been awarded $7.8m through the NSW Government’s Medical Devices Fund.

The University of Sydney-linked companies won three of just four grants announced in Parliament by NSW Health Minister, The Hon Jillian Skinner.

The Minister made grants to the following University-linked companies:

Elastagen Pty Ltd ($4 million): for Elastatherapy, a skin regeneration and wound repair product based on its unique tropoelastin-based biomaterial platform used in the surgical treatment of severe scars.

Nano-X Pty Ltd ($2.5 million): for Nano‐X, a smarter and smaller cancer radiotherapy machine that will enable affordable, accessible best‐practice radiotherapy in resource‐limited areas.

Respiratory Innovations Pty Ltd ($1.3 million): for Breathe Well, a device that provides breast cancer patients with breath hold instructions to reduce the risk of radiotherapy causing unnecessary and potentially fatal radiation heart damage.

Elastagen’s technology was developed in the Weiss Lab established by Professor Tony Weiss.

In acknowledging the grant, Professor Weiss, who leads the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre Node in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, said:

“I am delighted that the quality of Elastagen has been recognised through this superb award. This is a real tribute to skin repair technology from the University of Sydney that is now a great success story.

“As the Founding Scientist of Elastagen, I am absolutely delighted that the Minister and her team decided to support our exciting technology. Elastagen’s technology can make a big impact on skin repair.”

“This is Elastagen’s second Medical Devices Fund grant, making it a real world success story for University of Sydney technology.” Read more about the Weiss Lab.

The technologies developed by Nano-X Pty Ltd and Respiratory Innovations Pty Ltd were established under the leadership of Professor Paul Keall. Professor Keall is an NHMRC Senior Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Sydney’s Radiation Physics Laboratory.

In accepting the grant, Professor Keall said:

“Our Radiation Physics Laboratory team are overwhelmed that our two spin-off companies, Nano-X and Respiratory Innovations have won these competitive grants to improve cancer imaging and targeted radiotherapy.

“These awards represent a massive amount of work by many people, firstly in the research and development phase at the University, and in parallel with the commercial activities performed at the companies.

“These successes increase the impact of the work that we are doing within the University, and increases the likelihood that our research and clinical trials will have a broader impact on patient lives in Australia and globally.”

“The fact that we received three of the four grants awarded speaks not only to the quality of the underlying science, but the ambition and vision of our researchers to see their ideas and research making a significant difference in our community,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Duncan Ivison.

“Translating our world class research into outcomes that help improve the lives of everyone is at the heart of our new Strategy. These awards recognise just how far our researchers are capable of going to realise that ambition.”

Minister Jillian Skinner said the government was determined to capitalise on the growth of the state’s medical technology industry through the Medical Devices Fund.

“This year’s winners offer a range of pioneering devices with the potential to transform the delivery of health care and deliver life-saving benefits for patients,” she said.

The Minister also awarded $750,000 to HEARworks Pty Ltd for the development of the Auditory Cortical Discrimination test to aid clinicians in deciding which hearing‐impaired infants should receive cochlear implants.

An independent expert panel, chaired by NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane, selected this year’s MDF grant recipients.

The NSW Government annually invests more than $8 million in the MDF. For more information on the recipients of the 2016 MDF, visit: www.health.nsw.gov.au/ohmr/mdf

Elastagen, Nano-X and Respiratory Innovations are portfolio companies of ATP Innovations, Australia's leading advanced-technology incubator.  The University of Sydney is a founding shareholder of ATP Innovations. 

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