A new South Australian ‘intelligent compression’ device could help to save people from pulmonary embolism linked to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition that kills more than 2,000 Australians every year.
The device, being developed by Arkwright Technologies Pty Ltd at Flinders at Tonsley, provides precise pressures to the lower legs to protect against deep vein thrombosis during surgery. It can be reconfigured to deliver compression to patients with varying physiological conditions to promote circulation and lymphatic drainage.
It’s one of two new projects to receive research and development assistance from Flinders University’s Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP), funded by the South Australian Government’s Medical Technologies Program.
In Australia, more than 50 per cent of the 14,716 cases of DVT reported in 2008 developed pulmonary embolism – the most serious complication of DVT – with approximately 30 per cent of these resulting in fatality.
Together DVT and pulmonary embolism are the fifth leading cause of death in Australia, causing more deaths than breast cancer or prostate cancer (Bupa 2012).
Arkwright Technologies managing director, Professor John Arkwright, said he will use the output of the MDPP project to demonstrate the need for better control of compression cuffs.
“Through the workshop process that the MDPP coordinated, we have been introduced to a local surgeon who offered to trial our device,” he said.
“These kind of connections are critical, but are often difficult to make without assistance from programs such as the MDPP.”
The second project to receive funding in the latest round of MDPP State Government funding is a ‘nasal delivery device’ to allow quick delivery of pain relief and other medications in ambulatory, pre-hospital and emergency market, as well as in the home setting.
According to Antony Condina, the CEO of novel device company The Green Dispensary Pty Ltd, its manufacture locally could also mean more jobs for South Australia.
“We are an SA based company using local manufacturers to keep jobs in SA,” Mr Condina said.
“We foresee that, if successful, this new product will generate 17 more jobs locally, as well as numerous other jobs throughout the supply chain.
“What we hope to achieve is a device that can deliver different strengths of nasal drug medications, removing existing requirement of using needles and syringes.
“Our device provides a safer, more accurate delivery of medications such as pain relief, anticonvulsants and sedatives.
“The support we are receiving from the MDPP is very valuable. It will help to improve the device’s current design so it is cheaper to manufacture in SA and more effective and easy-to-use by clinicians and patients. This is important for ensuring commercial success of the product.”
In addition to receiving up to 250 hours of R&D assistance, both companies will also receive a 30 hour market intelligence report from the MDPP to help them prepare their commercialisation strategy.
SA Minister for Health Industries Jack Snelling said it is rewarding to see South Australian engineers working with industry on inventions that can bring real benefit to the community and create more jobs.
“There is huge opportunity in South Australia to leverage the knowledge from universities to build local industry capability and provide better healthcare for our State,” Mr Snelling said.
“Flinders University is leading the way with this collaborative program which offers not only R&D assistance to take products further along the development pathway, but provide opportunities for consultation with end-users and clinicians to ensure products that are developed provide solutions for real health care problems.”
Arkwright Technologies Pty Ltd and previous MDPP recipient, INNOVO Healthcare, have also been awarded $50,000 each from the State Government’s South Australian Micro Finance Fund to help them commercialise and manufacture their products.