MedTech Bites June/July 2021 edition - edited by Kate Harsant

July ushered in a new era in the MedTech research space in NZ. Our MedTech Centre of Research Excellence (MedTech CoRE) programme drew to its official close. The CoRE has been instrumental in developing NZ’s translational research capability and capacity in the application of science to health care. The road from bench to bedside is challenging at the best of times and the ability to navigate this successfully and develop sustainable new solutions with health and economic impacts adds to the complexity. The CoRE developed a contestable translation accelerator which invested 3.79M over its lifetime.  Seventy-five seeded concepts over the 6 years of the CoRE resulted in 15 spin outs and 12 more commercialisation opportunities in progress.  For 3.79M of seed funding invested, the 15 spin outs have now returned 23x that amount based on their current valuation. This is only one aspect of the CoRE’s contribution to the development NZ’s MedTech sector but a fitting one to highlight in this newsletter and take the opportunity to thank Merryn Tawhai, Peter Hunter and Geoff Chase, the directorship of the CoRE for their leadership.

Start ups are perpetually hungry for investment but Toku Eyes, a spin out of the University of Auckland with an AI for diabetic retinopathy screening, has recently raised $3.6M in their seed round. High-five to founders Ehsan Vaghefi and David Squirrell. For those interested in the MZ VC market, there is a nice article on our top 20 most influential VCs and their investments. We give a shout out to Will Charles, Commercialisation Director at UniServices, who is on the leadership group of the CMDT. Amongst his many hats, Will manages the University of Auckland’s Inventors’ $20M Fund dedicated to start ups from the University’s ecosystem.

In this issue we meet Cushla Currie, MTANZ’s new CEO. Cushla is settling into her new role and starting to understand the major changes occurring in the NZ health system. We also feature some clinical initiatives that are being led by the Liggins Institute (well-known for its research in fetal and child development). These initiatives will be incorporated into the national clinical trial alliance that is being formed by the Ministry of Health. Canterbury University researchers came out tops at the 2021 Healthtech Awards for Best Research Translation Project - winning the top three prizes. The projects ranged from implants to rehabilitation to an innovative and non-invasive cost effective technology for blood glucose monitoring.

Dr Diana Siew
CMDT Co-Chair 


Infrastructure to enhance clinical research and trials

Every research project or clinical trial (CT) needs infrastructure – from people, funding and IT through to roadmaps, analysis and access to expertise. The better that infrastructure, the better the results.
Two critical projects are looking at how we improve infrastructure and results.

Read more here


Health reforms attract top performer to MTANZ

The next 18 months will be very interesting for the New Zealand medtech industry due to the government’s extensive health reforms, says Cushla Currie, who has taken over as Chief Executive Officer  at Medical Technology Association of NZ (MTANZ).

HealthTech Awards for Best Research

Researchers from the University of Canterbury, one a PhD student, have taken out the top awards at the 2021 HealthTech Awards for Best Research.

Read more here



Biobridge Workshop: Personalised and Connected Care
Where: online
When: August 26

Further details to be announced shortly

Queenstown Research Week

Where: Queenstown
When: August 29 - September 2

Register here


HINZ Networking Event

Where: Christchurch
When: September 22

Register here


BIOENGINEERING THE FUTURE: Auckland Bioengineering Institute 20th Anniversary Showcase

Where: Auckland
When: September 28 - October 3

Register here

NZHiT Grand Hall Event - Parliament

Guest speakers:

  • Hon Andrew Little, Minister of Health

  • Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director General, Ministry of Health

  • Shayne Hunter, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Health, Data and Digital

Where: Wellington
When: September 29

Register here

Digital Health Week NZ

Where: Wellington
When: November 29 - December 1

Register here
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