Applications Open for Round 9 of the Medical Devices Fund

The Medical Devices Fund is a competitive technology program which helps encourage and support investment in the development and commercialisation of medical devices and related technologies in NSW. The Fund aims to provide support to individuals, companies, public and private hospitals, medical research institutes, universities and the medical devices industry to take local innovation to market.

Since its launch in 2013, the Fund has provided over $60 million to 37 projects. These technologies have now treated over 47,000 patients and are delivering better patient outcomes for NSW.

More than $8 million in funding is available for this round.

For further details regarding the Medical Devices Fund including the preliminary application form, guidelines and application kit, please visit .

The Office for Health and Medical Research will also hold an online webinar for the Medical Devices Fund in late February 2021.

To apply, please review the eligibility and selection criteria and email your completed preliminary application form to Preliminary applications close on Monday 1 March 2021 at 5pm.

Concerns Over Rushed Prostheses List Changes

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This week the Department of Health issues a consultation paper discussing options for reforms and improvements to the Prostheses List.

The Department said it was seeking the input from stakeholders to support an evidence base for future Prostheses List reforms and improvements. The consultation paper contains a number of questions for consideration by stakeholders.

The consultation process announcement follows the recent release of two reports: Options for a Revised Framework for Setting and Reviewing Benefits for the Prostheses List and the Review of the General Miscellaneous Category of the Prostheses List.

The reports acknowledged the significant risk of unintended consequences that could arise because of poorly planned Prostheses List reform including limits to patient access and choice, and the increased risk of cost shifting onto patients. Neither report was able to reach a definitive conclusion about the future direction of the Prostheses List.

The chance to engage in constructive Prostheses List reforms were welcomed by a range of industry groups including the Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA), Catholic Health Australia (CHA) and the Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA).

APHA CEO, Michael Roff, said APHA welcomed the opportunity to be part of the discussions, which to-date have not fully involved private hospitals, consumer, or the medical profession.

“Considering doctors determine which prostheses they use in surgery, particularly in the private setting, it is important this anomaly is corrected,” Mr Roff said.

The message from stakeholders is clear: any reforms need to ensure they do not lead to a ‘managed care’ system where the ability to pick a doctor, medical device, or the procedure that’s best for the patient is compromised.

Concerns have been raised over the weight being given to the Private Health Insurance lobby’s position to transition Australians’ health to a system where insurers can refuse to allow patients access to devices they deem unnecessary for them to have to pay for.

MTAA CEO, Ian Burgess, said the consultation process was an important first step in the process to carefully consider positive reforms to the Prostheses List that genuinely reflect the considered feedback of all stakeholders, and the timeliest way to implement them.

“It’s vital that any reforms put forward by the Government do not remove the protections the Prostheses List provides for surgeon choice and patients access, or result in further out-of-pocket costs,” Mr Burgess said.

The Department set the submission close date for 15 February, meaning doctors, hospitals and MedTech innovators will be forced to work through the Christmas and New Year period (on top of managing the COVID pandemic) in order to ensure their voices are heard.

The decision by the Department to rush the consultation period over the holiday break has raised questions about whether Health bureaucrats have already decided on the reforms they want to implement.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The auction of a restored 1946 Ford Jail Bar has seen Motor Neurone Disease (MND) researchers in Brisbane presented with a $200,000 cheque to continue exploring ways to treat the disease.
It’s the latest donation from Australia’s largest transport and logistics specialist, NTI, and brings the total the organisation has raised for MND research to almost $534,000 in four years.
The cheque was handed over at MND and Me’s Christmas event where medical experts pitched their research ideas in a ‘Shark Tank’ style presentation.

NTI’s donation will fund two research grants for Dr Shu Ngo and Dr Adam Walker at The University of Queensland. Dr Ngo was also named the recipient of the 2021 Charcot Award which is presented to the highest ranked innovator grant applicant.

“Everyone is driven to see a world free of MND and funding from the NTI research grant gives young researchers an opportunity to push harder and go further with their ideas. That will be so valuable to finding a cure for MND and I feel humbled and privileged to be able to carry out this research,” Dr Ngo said.

“With these funds, we will be embarking on a research project that is the first of its kind for MND. Using mini 3D spinal cords that we have generated from MND patient skin cells, we will study how neurons and their support cells interact over time to give us insights into how we can save neurons.”

MND and Me CEO Jane Milne said Motor Neurone Disease claims the lives of two Australians every day.

“There are currently more than 2,100 Australians living with MND and the disease can affect adults of any age,” Ms Milne said.

“The commitment NTI has shown to funding MND research is unique in Australia and means researchers can continue their work to find a cure or effective treatment for MND. These two grants have been awarded to researchers who are in the process of moving to clinical trials and are finding promise in treatments in mouse models, or who are working towards a better understanding of the cause of MND.”

NTI CEO Tony Clark said “Black Beauty” was the third truck NTI had restored since 2016 to fundraise for MND research.

“NTI is committed to supporting MND research in honour of our late CEO Wayne Patterson who was diagnosed with the condition in 2015 and tragically lost his battle soon after,” Mr Clark said.

“This research grant is about supporting research but also promoting awareness of MND, of which two Australians are diagnosed every day.

“NTI will continue its support of this incredibly worthy cause and has plans to restore another truck in 2021.”[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4844″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Call for Industry Sponsors to Apply for REDI Fellowship Funding

The REDI program is providing grants of up to $250,000 to industry to secure one of up to 40 industry Fellowships in the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical (MTP) sector.

This unique workforce initiative is giving industry the opportunity to select a researcher, academic, clinician or technology transfer professional to collaborate on distinct projects involving discovery, translation and commercialisation.

REDI is calling for Australian industry organisations, including multinationals and ASX-listed companies, to apply for a Fellowship, with funding available for up to 40 places.

“Creating links between industry and research is critical for the growth and success of the MTP sector. Our new REDI Fellowships program provides companies with the financial support to bring academics and clinicians in-house for up to twelve months to work on priority medical research projects,” said MTPConnect Managing Director and CEO Dr Dan Grant.

“Our Fellowship program will require that the researcher or clinician return to their home institution for a period at least equal to the term of the fellowship.

“This will help address the issue of ‘brain drain’ of researcher talent into companies and ensure we embed high-level commercial experience in the research sector,” Dr Grant said.

The Fellowship application process is industry-led, so an eligible industry sponsor (company/organisation) needs to submit an application which identifies a Fellow and matches it with a specific research and development project.

Eligible Fellows are medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector researchers, academics, clinicians and professionals (technology transfer organisation professionals, entrepreneurs, business development/commercialisation staff, administrators and executives) from academic/public research organisations/hospitals/technology transfer organisations.

Eligible Sponsors are industry organisations defined as a research-intensive organisation such as biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and digital health companies, specialised best practice organisations such as a Venture Capital (VC) firm, regulatory affairs consultancy, medical affairs consultancy, etc. For clarity, universities, medical research institutes and hospitals are not eligible Sponsors for this program.

Sponsors can select three types of Fellowships to apply for:

  • One-year full time
  • 6 – 12 months full time
  • 6 – 12 months where the fellow spends 50% of time working with the sponsor.

Subject to COVID-19 restrictions, domestic and international Fellowships will be considered.

Applications open on 15 December 2020 and will remain open until either the funds are fully committed or until October 2022, whichever is first.

To find out more, MTPConnect is holding an Information Session on 17 December 2020 from 11am-12pm AEDT – register now and check our website for further information to have your questions ready.


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A new publication in Science Magazine, sponsored by Abbott, shows how Australia can create more value from its enviable biomedical R & D effort by promoting partnerships across industry, research and health services to address our healthcare priorities.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a high point in the recent history of Australian medtech. The urgency of confronting a novel virus put a major premium on agile collaboration.  Arms of the Australian healthcare system that typically operate in competition found themselves working alongside each other to get the most important job in the world done quickly, and right.  We can be proud of the fact that, in Australia, we delivered on the task.  Our testing rates are among the world’s highest; our hospital bed and ventilator capacity scaled up in record time; and normal elective surgery schedules were quickly re-established. 

The important lesson is that healthcare works best when its stakeholders have aligned interests. The urgency of the COVID challenge broke down institutional barriers to collaboration – between the Commonwealth and states, between private and public hospitals, between competitors in industry, and between government and the private sector.  

After the pandemic, there is no need to reinstitute those barriers.  

That is the motivation that inspired Abbott to sponsor a major new publication in the prestigious journal Science, focused on how Australia can, and should, take a partnership approach to the innovation challenges necessary to address our 21st century healthcare needs.  

Australia’s public and privately funded medical research effort is impressive by world standards, at well over $A6 billion.  Yet less than 2% of our R & D spend ends up focused on translating insights from basic science into new therapies, new services or updated clinical guidelines. A key deficiency contributing to that gap is the lack of emphasis on bringing commercial and clinical expertise together with research skills in a coherent way. This insight is not new; it was a key focus of the McKeon Review of Health and Medical Research back in 2013. Not enough has changed since, despite some initiatives from governments and research institutions. 

The Science supplement draws together the major peer reviewed studies conducted over the last decade on what differentiates successful translation efforts. Some of the major findings include: 

  • The role of time. Responsive regulatory and path-to-market systems attract translational investment 
  • Incentives for localisation: where the intellectual property is registered is a complex decision, based not just on market size but other factors including expected returns from reinvestment, relative taxation of IP, and successful examples of win-win outcomes from IP collaborations 
  • Recognition that translation is a specialist skill: integrating it into research institutional structures and incentivising direct funding of translation initiatives. The Medical Research Future Fund does some of this, but added scale will create better results. 

We also highlight two examples of “self-starter” collaborations in Australia with great promise: the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACVA) and Australia’s National Digital Health Initiative, ANDHealth. 

The post-COVID environment is an ideal time to revive the impetus for change in our health innovation effort. We can already see what happens when we all pull together.  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]