Friday, 20 August 2021 11:07

Start-up raises $784,000 for device to resuscitate babies Featured

Start-up raises $784,000 for device to resuscitate babies Supplied

ResusRight, a start-up formed jointly by the University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital, has raised $784,000 in an investment round to manufacture a paediatric device designed to safely resuscitate babies who have difficulty breathing soon after birth.

The company was founded by doctoral biomedical students Matt Boustred and Matthew Crott, along with Dr Mark Tracy and Dr Murray Hinder, a research team based at Westmead Hospital that specialises in improving care of vulnerable babies. The objective is to lower neonatal mortality rates and prevent babies from developing disabilities due to complications at birth.

A statement from ResusRight said funding had been received from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Startmate Accelerator and angel investors. The device will be known as Juno.

The money will be used to set up a training system and build a prototype monitor for use, with manufacturing scheduled to begin in the 2021-22 financial year.

Boustred, the chief executive of the organisation, said: "It was very empowering to find a group of investors who strongly support our team and mission. This funding will allow us to roll out the Juno, followed by the manufacture of a resuscitation device prototype in the second half of this year.

"Worldwide, every year over 10 million newborn babies require resuscitation at birth, with approximately one million babies dying annually from birth asphyxia. Experts estimate that at least 30% of these deaths – 300,000 babies a year – could be prevented with better resuscitation.

"A lack of access to life-saving training and equipment contributes to a large proportion of these deaths. ResusRight aims to advance the gold standard of newborn resuscitation through equipment that is accessible in design and at a price point that is affordable to a global market. We want our monitoring systems to be as useful for a consultant in Westmead Hospital as for a midwife out in Bourke or a birth attendant in India.

"Our mission is to improve outcomes at birth to ensure no baby dies or is left with a preventable disability when their life has just begun."

Crott, the company's chief technology officer, commented: "We want to give clinicians the tools to be trained and resuscitate babies more effectively. A key issue in current practices is that the resuscitator has no measure of how much air they are giving to the baby, or whether their mask technique is correct. This means they can easily over-deliver or under-deliver air to the baby, both of which have potential to lead to lung or brain injury.

"In Australia, approximately 17,000 babies require resuscitation annually – sadly, thousands of infants are left with injury or disability through this process which more effective monitoring could help reduce.

"Newborn babies should be given the best chance at life and they deserve high-quality medical techniques that are tailored for their needs.

"With our Juno training system, we aim to provide both better quality and a higher frequency of resuscitation training – something that was recognised as a priority area in the most recent Australian Resuscitation Council guidelines."

The two founder aim to start training programs, which are moderately priced, at Westmead Hospital, Monash Health and the Royal Women's Hospital.

ResusRight is a member of the Sydney Knowledge Hub, a co-working space for start-ups seeking to collaborate with staff and students across the University and helps members connect with researchers, grant consultants, labs and makerspaces, and other resources at the University.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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