ANU welcomes funding for wearable medical technology

17 April 2018

Personalised medical technologies can help ensure that healthcare can be provided equitably and universally

The Australian National University (ANU) has welcomed new federal government funding for a landmark project to develop microwearable technology to help drive the future of personalised medicine and diagnostics.

Health Minister The Hon Greg Hunt MP has announced the funding from the government's BioMedTech Horizons program which aims to help commercialise and develop technological discoveries and stimulate collaboration between the research, industry and technology sectors.

The WearOptimo project, led by ANU Entrepreneurial Fellow Professor Mark Kendall, will receive $890,000 from the BioMedTech Horizons Project to further develop the technology for simple, wearable devices which can help monitor and manage a range of diseases.

ANU will match the funding to help develop the WearOptimo enterprise.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt, who appointed Professor Kendall as an ANU Vice Chancellor's Entrepreneurial Professor earlier this year, said the government funding was welcome support for a project with the potential to improve the lives of millions of people around the world.

"Professor Kendall is one of the world's leading medical-technology innovators, and his work is at the centre of finding new ways to use technology to help address some of the major healthcare challenges facing the world," Professor Schmidt said.

"Inequality in healthcare is one of the major challenges of our time and personalised medical technologies can help ensure that healthcare can be provided equitably and universally.

"We welcome the government support for the WearOptimo project, and look forward to the project's ongoing success."

This project establishes microwearables as the next major advance for Professor Kendall. In his 20-year career in medical device innovation he invented the biolistic "gene gun" at the University of Oxford, followed at The University of Queensland by his invention of the Nanopatch for needle-free vaccine delivery and driving it forward towards commercial human utility.

"I am delighted to receive this BioMedTech Horizons funding, which - together with support from the Australian National University - drives Microwearables towards the ultimate goal simple, low-cost wearable devices for widespread, personalised diagnosis of disease."  Professor Kendall said.

Professor Kendall joins world-leading technologist Professor Genevieve Bell as a Vice-Chancellor's Entrepreneurial Professor, under the ANU program to work on the major issues facing the world in the 21st century.

The BioMedTech Horizons program is being delivered as a part of the Australian Government's $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund, which aims to transform health and medical research to improve lives, build the economy and contribute to health system sustainability through targeted strategic investment.

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