News & Analysis

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and Curve Tomorrow launch incubator program for healthtech startups

- April 28, 2016 2 MIN READ

The Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) and tech company Curve Tomorrow are launching Bytes4Health, a new incubator program of sorts giving two health and medtech startups the opportunity to embed themselves within the MCRI for four months.

As well as $25,000 in funding, the startups will receive access to experts at the MCRI and Royal Children’s Hospital, help with product design and development from Curve Tomorrow, and access to healthcare networks. They will also work with teams at the Melbourne Children’s Trials Centre, which specialises in the evaluation and development of new products.

Dr James Dromey, general manager of business development and strategy at MCRI said that despite the growing number of accelerators and incubators around Australia, there are few opportunities for startups in the health and medical fields to access medical research along with clinical expertise.

“This broad exposure will increase the likelihood of the companies launching a successful clinically validated digital health product,” he said.

The program is based on a model for collaboration developed by MCRI and Curve Tomorrow, with the company long having been embedded within MCRI.

“The model’s success is due to the convergence and integration of technology and healthcare in the development of digital health products, from product concept to commercialisation,” Dromey said.

The MCRI and Curve Tomorrow, which has expanded into Perth and Silicon Valley, have more than 30 products in their development pipeline, with others already on the market.

Among them are HeadCheck, an app that helps parents determine whether their child is suffering from symptoms of concussion and what to do, PEERS, an app for the early detection of social disorders, and ALT, a tool that helps identify children that may have speech delay and language problems.

The two organisations also won an Launch award in 2014 from Health 2.0, an international showcase for innovations in the healthtech space, for their SONNY Movement platform, which uses technologies such as 3D cameras, gesture control, and gaming to assist with the development of rehabilitation programs.

Through the Bytes4Health program, the organisations are looking to work with startups that have either already developed a product for health that needs clinical evaluation and validation, those working on a technology that has a potential health application, or those looking to test a concept for a new health product.

The program is the latest initiative to launch encouraging the Australian tech space to look to the health and medical industry. Corporate accelerator Slingshot is currently running a healthtech accelerator in conjunction with HCF, while next month will see Sydney’s Fishburners host a hackathon focused on creating solutions for those suffering from chronic pain, and Perth’s Spacecubed run MindHack, a hackathon for mental health.

Applications for Bytes4Health close at the end of May, with the program to begin in August.

Image: Dr James Dromey of the MCRI and Avniash Rugoobur of Curve Tomorrow. Source: Health 2.0