We are pleased to announce The University of Tasmania has joined Accelerating Australia as an Affiliate Member. We now have 13 Affiliate Members who can access networks, mentoring, experts and events, and promote their innovators and innovations across our network. We look forward to growing our affiliate and consortium memberships in the future.

The University of Tasmania’s multi-disciplinary approach to critical health problems is aligned with Accelerating Australia’s philosophy of fostering early stage entrepreneurship and biomedical innovation for the good of the community.  The success of their approach is demonstrated by the recent release of OxyGenie; software that controls the oxygen delivered to neonatal patients.

Premature babies often need respiratory support, including oxygen therapy for some time after birth.  Vulnerable infants are very susceptible to changes in the oxygen in their circulation and the maintenance of this blood oxygen in a narrow but critical band may reduce mortality, retinal damage and other long term effects.

Keeping a preterm baby’s blood oxygen concentration at the right value is a challenging task that requires constant vigilance from bedside staff.  This can now be done effectively and mostly automatically with the new technology, freeing staff to concentrate on other aspects  of personalised care of the baby.

Over nine years, Professor Peter Dargaville led a team from the Tasmanian Health Service and Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania, worked with biomedical engineer Dr Tim Gale from the University’s School of Engineering and ICT, to develop the closed loop control algorithm that automatically regulates the concentration of oxygen in the gas delivered to a baby’s lungs.

The OxyGenie system in use. To find out more about OxyGenie, and SLE, go to http://www.sle.co.uk/oxygenie 

Professor Dargaville said, “Cross-disciplinary projects like this one, where expertise from the University and the clinical experience of the Tasmanian Health Service comes together has produced this exciting innovation in neonatal respiratory support that everyone involved can be proud of.”

In 2017 a commercial licence for the technology was granted to SLE, a UK based developer and manufacturer of infant life support devices. SLE incorporated the software into their flagship ventilator and took it through the difficult process of regulatory approval, to a limited commercial release in late 2018 including a Post Market Survey.

Executive Officer of Accelerating Australia, Maud Eijkenboom, said: “We are pleased to see the membership of Accelerating Australia continue to grow, in particular to include innovative, collaborative organisations such as the University of Tasmania. We now have members in all Australian states, making us a truly nationwide support network focused on boosting early stage innovation of new medical technologies for improved patient care.”

Accelerating Australia’s cooperative nature means that we are able to share resources – financial, skills and training – across the consortium to achieve economy of scale benefits. While Affiliate Members do not contribute financially to the consortium, access to training programs can be negotiated, and the consortium can provide guidance to Affiliates wishing to set up their own programs.

If you are interested in becoming an Affiliate Member, please get in touch here.

Consortium and affiliate members are also encouraged to get in touch and work with us to develop your own case study!

Author

Ruth Seeber

Ruth is the senior project officer for Accelerating Australia. She is an assay technology co-inventor and has managed multiple projects at the academic-industry interface.

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