National boost for medical tech pipeline

South Australia’s Medical Device Partnering Program will expand to Victoria and further in 2019.

National MDPP Director and founder, Flinders University College of Science and Engineering Dean (Research) Professor Karen Reynolds, says this first important step in national expansion will deliver significant benefits not only to SA and Victoria, but will add impetus to medical technology research in Australia as a whole.

“In the past decade, the MDPP at Flinders University has created a streamlined model for early-stage medtech development,” Professor Reynolds says.

“This exciting, strategic expansion reinforces the strong foundation of expertise that has been established in South Australia.

“A wonderful way to mark our tenth anniversary, the establishment of our sister entity adds critical mass to our efforts and is an important step in delivering benefits to the sector in Australia more broadly.”

Professor Reynolds also noted a significant $290,000 grant from MTPConnect, the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Industry Growth Centre, announced ahead of the MDPP’s national rollout in 2019.

“This new funding from MTPConnect will allow us to build on our successes in South Australia and pursue the expansion of the MDPP on a national scale,” Professor Reynolds says.

“The support will allow us to formalise partnerships, establish a comprehensive national capability directory and create extensive training materials, with the aim to commence operations of a national MDPP in 2019.”

Founded by Flinders University in South Australia, the MDPP was also a recipient of funds from MTPConnect’s 2016 Project Fund Program.

The national expansion of the MDPP has been supported by MTP Connect and the Growth Centres Initiative.

Over the past 12 months, the MDPP have been busily engaging across the country, holding workshops in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, as well as internationally in Singapore.

“We are passionate about supporting the development of the medical device industry and working with a wide range of stakeholders who can achieve that,” says Professor Reynolds.

LaunchVic, the State Government agency charged with growing the Victorian startup ecosystem launched the Victorian MDPP with $2 million funding over two years to deliver the program in Victoria.

The Victorian MDPP partnership is led by Swinburne University of Technology and brings together CSIRO, University of Melbourne, Monash University, RMIT University, Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) and BioMedical Research Victoria.

It leverages the proven model and processes developed and implemented by Flinders University over the past 10 years.

Professor Sally McArthur, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Swinburne and CSIRO Research + Science Leader in Biomedical Manufacturing, has been appointed as the Regional Director of MDPP in Victoria.

Lusia Guthrie, Deputy Chair of the BioMelbourne Network, will lead Victoria’s Steering Committee.

Professor McArthur says she is excited about the prospects for Victoria, not only in connecting the stakeholders in the medtech sector, but in creating new ventures and employment opportunities for the State.

“Victoria has excellent research expertise and an entrepreneurial clinical community. The MDPP provides a vehicle to connect the medtech ecosystem, untap ideas and rapidly progress new product opportunities,” says Professor McArthur.

Flinders University’s President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling says the MDPP “is living up to the Flinders ambition of ‘Making a Difference’ “.

“Its dedicated researchers have been instrumental in life-changing breakthroughs, from our Re-Timer glasses to help combat jetlag and sleep disturbances to the Austofix device to help surgeons more accurately repair broken bones.”

“We’re delighted to be extending our expertise, knowledge and initiative interstate, and look forward to being joined by an exceptional array of researchers sharing their talents via the MDPP’s new team in Victoria,” says Professor Stirling.

The MDPP will soon begin recruitment for the Victorian-based team, with an official opening anticipated for early 2019.


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