A medical device startup helping breast cancer patients is off to a prestigious US medtech accelerator

- June 19, 2019 2 MIN READ

The OncoRes team: chief scientific officer Dr Brendan Kennedy, CEO Dr Katharine Giles and breast cancer surgeon Prof Christobel Saunders

Perth-based medical device startup, OncoRes Medical, has been chosen from among more than 800 applications from 35 countries to join the renowned US MedTech Innovator Accelerator program this year.

The company has developed a hand-held imaging probe and console for surgeons to identify small remnants of breast cancer tumours during surgery that might otherwise be overlooked. Repeat surgeries due to missed cancerous tissue occurs in around a quarter of treatments for women undergoing breast lumpectomy. Around 65% of women only need to have the lump removed as opposed to the whole breast.

OncoRes is one of 25 international startups, and the only Australian one, joining the four-month accelerator program.

Managing director and CEO Dr Katharine Giles told Startup Daily her team were honoured to be selected as part of the MedTech Innovator 2019 Showcase & Accelerator Startups cohort.

“It’s particularly exciting to be the first Australian company to be accepted into the program in its seven years, and the only company from the Southern Hemisphere this year. It’s an inspiring line-up of companies to be linked with,” she said.

“The OncoRes team hope that we will have a device on the market that’s actively improving health outcomes for cancer patients globally. Hopefully we will have expanded into other cancers outside breast, operating in partnership with a global medical device company to ensure we can have the maximum impact possible on patient wellbeing and health care.”

MedTech Innovator CEO Paul Grand said the program gives the world’s best medtech innovators the chance to bring their transformative technologies for patients to the next level

 “I’m pleased to share that MedTech Innovator alumni companies have now achieved more than US$1billion in follow-on funding – a testament to the quality of our portfolio companies, their innovations, and their teams,” he said.

The program commences on June 19 in San Francisco, with the annual two-day MedTech Innovator Summit involving  20 corporate partners, investors, providers, and others.

The MedTech Innovator Accelerator startups will then compete for a US$350,000 prize and four of the companies will score US$25,000 this week as part of a people’s choice vote at San Francisco’s annual Medical Devices Conference.

For Dr Giles, being chosen to take part in the MedTech Accelerator validates the global importance of the OncoRes technology and approach

“It provides us with unparalleled exposure and access to global investors and industry players, and on a practical level, it provides us with one-on-one corporate mentorship with these global industry players that we ultimately hope to partner with in the future,” she said.

“It’s a great opportunity to build our networks in the medical device marketplace, which can sometimes be a challenge as an Australian company.”

OncoRes landed $6 million from the Australian government and super funds-backed Medical Research Commercialisation Fund in 2017 and is on the hunt for $15 million this year to scale up the business.