The Australian government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), has invested a combined $3.25 million in four digital health startups through the commercialisation program ANDHealth+.
ANDHealth backed two AI-based startups with non-dilutive funding: Baymatob, which developed a wearable monitor for pregnant women that uses AI to analyse to their vital signs for risks of birth complications; and Macuject, which uses AI to analyse macular scans for early detection of preventable vision loss.
The other two are Neurotologix, which is pioneering remote assessments of dizziness and vertigo with a portable and user-friendly device called ROMI. WeGuide allows healthcare providers, clinical trial sponsors and medical research institutes to create bespoke digital health applications securely and 12 times faster and 10 times cheaper than alternatives.
The capital will support the four companies to hit clinical and commercial milestones and gain regulatory and compliance approvals in Australia, the US and Europe, to export their digital health products
ANDHealth CEO Bronwyn Le Grice said the 19 companies supported by ANDHealth+ have raised a combined $150 million delivered 920 commercial pilots, commenced 69 clinical studies or trials, and undertaken 30 international market launches.
“Baymatob, Macuject, Neurotologix, and WeGuide are perfect examples of how Australian digital health businesses are using new technologies to solve real health problems,” she said.
“And we know that when sufficiently supported through investment and clear reimbursement pathways, Australian-made technologies can generate economic benefits by achieving healthcare efficiencies and growing our export portfolio.
“The fact that this funding allocation is being assigned to AI and machine-learning focused companies supports the potential AI has to offer within healthcare, in augmenting technologies and processes to help health clinicians, providers and patients alike. Currently, 19% of Australian digital health companies list AI and machine learning as their primary technology.”
The funding support will roll out over the next 12 months.
Baymatob’s AI-powered wearable ‘Oli’, was recently granted FDA breakthrough device designation for its potential to improve maternal care. Baymatob will use the funding to finance projects to address deployment challenges and develop a business and payment model for US hospital systems.
Macuject will use the funding to undertake regulatory activities for FDA pre-submission in the US and implement two in-market pilots with optometrists and ophthalmologists in the US.
Neurotologix will use its funding to conduct regulatory and compliance activities for a TGA submission, implement pilots in Australia, and gather evidence to support future market entry.
And finally, having built its platform so the healthcare sector can cheaply and quickly to create bespoke digital health applications, WeGuide will use the funds to find new customers and develop features that unlock their ability to purchase.
ANDHealth is Australia’s only organisation specialised in the commercialisation of evidence-based digital health technologies.In 2021, it was awarded A$19.75 million from the MRFF to expand the ANDHealth+ program, with $15 million of non-dilutive investment available to proof-of-concept digital health startups.
“The funding provided through ANDHealth+ and the ANDHealth Digital Health Accelerator Fund is one of the largest non-equity taking investment programs available to Australian digital health SMEs,” said Le Grice.