Australia invests $13mn in new medical technologies
Australia is looking to invest $13 million in three new medical technologies to support those with long-term mobility issues and chronic conditions, such as back pain. Part of its $500 million Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF) the investment will see $250 million of Commonwealth funding “matched by private investors,” according to the company website.
The co-investment venture capital programme will aim to support local health companies in Australia who are working to develop medical technologies and support economic growth. It is the main focus of President Malcolm Turnbull’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.
“This vital funding will support researchers when they need it most – for clinical testing, developing prototypes and other requirements before a high potential product or service can come on the market,” Minister for Health and Sport Greg Hunt has said.
The three new companies, Rex Bionics, Saluda Medical and CHARM Informatics will be responsible for developing new prototypes in order to support those with long-term mobility issues in order to enable patients to regain their independence and support long-term rehabilitation and recovery.
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Granted $5 million, Rex Bionics will focus on the development of hands-free devices to help those with physical disabilities to remain active, whilst Saluda Medical will work to create technologies for those suffering with long-term neuromodular conditions, such as spinal injuries, with over $3 million in funding. Additionally, CHARM Informatics has been granted $5 million to commercialise and push these technologies into the public space.
“The BTF is helping early stage biomedical companies to become internationally competitive, creating new markets for healthcare and producing better health outcomes,” commented Arthur Sinodinos, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.
“Saluda Medical with its novel chronic pain solution, involving spinal cord nerve stimulation via a surgically implanted micro device, and Rex Bionics, the manufacturer of a robotic chair enabling paraplegics to walk again, are both splendid Australian examples of how Industry 4.0 may help deliver extraordinary quality-of-life improvements,” commented Bill Ferris, Chair of Innovation and Science Australia.
“Both require advanced manufacturing, new technology and new skilled jobs,” he added.
Introducing Dosis - the AI powered dosing platform
Cloud-based platform Dosis uses AI to help patients and clinicians tailor their medication plans. Shivrat Chhabra, CEO and co-founder, tells us how it works.
When and why was Dosis founded?
Divya, my co-founder and I founded Dosis in 2017 with the purpose of creating a personalised dosing platform. We see personalisation in so many aspects of our lives, but not in the amount of medication we receive. We came across some research at the University of Louisville that personalised the dosing of a class of drugs called ESAs that are used to treat chronic anaemia. We thought, if commercialised, this could greatly benefit the healthcare industry by introducing precision medicine to drug dosing.
The research also showed that by taking this personalised approach, less drugs were needed to achieve the same or better outcomes. That meant that patients were exposed to less medication, so there was a lower likelihood of side effects. It also meant that the cost of care was reduced.
What is the Strategic Anemia Advisor?
Dosis’s flagship product, Strategic Anemia Advisor (SAA), personalises the dosing of Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs). ESAs are a class of drugs used to treat chronic anaemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease.
SAA takes into account a patient’s previous ESA doses and lab levels, determines the patient’s unique response to the drug and outputs an ESA dose recommendation to keep the patient within a specified therapeutic target range. Healthcare providers use SAA as a clinical decision support tool.
What else is Dosis working on?
In the near term, we are working on releasing a personalised dosing module for IV iron, another drug that’s used in tandem with ESAs to treat chronic anaemia. We’re also working on personalising the dosing for the three drugs used to treat Mineral Bone Disorder. We’re very excited to expand our platform to these new drugs.
What are Dosis' strategic goals for the next 2-3 years?
We strongly believe that personalised dosing will be the standard of care within the next decade, and we’re honored to be a part of making that future a reality. In the next few years, we see Dosis entering partnerships with other companies that operate within value-based care environments, where tools like ours that help reduce cost while maintaining or improving outcomes are extremely useful.
What do you think AI's greatest benefits to healthcare are?
If designed well, AI in healthcare allows for a practical and usable way to deploy solutions that would not be feasible otherwise. For example, it’s possible for someone to manually solve the mathematical equations necessary to personalise drug dosing, but it is just not practical. AI in healthcare offers an exciting path forward for implementing solutions that for so long have appeared impractical or impossible.