Industry welcomes first grants under BioMedTech Horizons program

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The Turnbull government has announced the first 11 recipients of the $35 million BioMedTech Horizons program.

The program was established out of reforms announced by health minister Greg Hunt last year. The reforms, related to private health insurance, also included cuts to the pricing of prostheses.

The program, negotiated as part of the government's strategic agreement with the Medical Technology Association of Australia, is designed to support the development of new and innovative technologies by Australian medical technology companies.

"Today’s announcement represents the opening of a new avenue for Australia’s world-class researchers to apply their work in the real world — one in which they take their discoveries out of academia and into the clinic," said Minister Hunt.

“MTAA is proud to be part of the BioMedTech Horizons program and supporting Australian innovation," said CEO Ian Burgess.

“Our Agreement with the Government to reform the Prostheses List has provided an additional $30 million towards the BioMedTech Horizons program and has doubled the funding available for these first recipients.

The first round of funding focused on precision medicine and 3D anatomical printing. 

Successful projects in the first round include a fully synthetic 3D printed spinal cage, a genome profiling platform to enable precision cancer medicine, a wireless brain-machine interface suitable for treating neurological disorders, and microwearables for precision medicine.

“Global advances in medical technology have resulted in a 56% reduction in hospital stays and a 16% drop in annual mortality over the past 20 years," continued Mr Burgess.

“This shows the significant value that medical technology can provide – saving lives, improving patients’ lives and saving costs to our health system.

“These exciting technologies that are being supported by the BioMedTech Horizons program can similarly lead to saving and improving lives, and contributing enormous value to the Australian health system.

“With an aging population comes major challenges for our health sector. MedTech will play a vital role in tackling these challenges and these 11 recipients, with a focus on precision medicine and 3D anatomical printing, will contribute towards improved health outcomes.”