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Credit: Australian National University

Credit: Australian National University

Australian National University to develop wearable medical technology

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

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

Microwearables i.e. simple, wearable devices, have the opportunity to be a cornerstone of precision medicine by offering personalised diagnostics across a range of diseases. These devices are minimally-invasive, pain-free sensors applied to the skin to access key biomarkers and biosignals – for both episodic and continuous monitoring. In doing so, microwearables aim to leapfrog traditional diagnostics that are based on lab-based assays of blood samples and histopathology with the costs, risks and time-delays.

WearOptimo will be developed as a fit-for-purpose enterprise to rapidly compete at scale – meeting the unique opportunity at the nexus of three growing markets: IoT for medicine; personalised medicine; and wearable devices for healthcare.

Led by Professor Mark Kendall and in partnership with the Australian National University (ANU), this project will take the next critical step in working to advance microwearables into an enterprise that is commercial, with technical proof-of-concept, and is investor-ready.

The WearOptimo project, led by ANU Entrepreneurial Fellow Professor Mark Kendall, will receive A$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, 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

"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.

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

The BioMedTech Horizons program is being delivered as a part of the Australian Government's A$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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