Neo-Bionica will make prototype implantable medical devices in Australia

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A new company, Neo-Bionica, designs and manufactures prototypes of implantable medical devices. It will speed up their development in Australia.

Neo-Bionica builds electronics for medical devices and packages them so they can be implanted safely. It aims to reduce the time between initial concept and clinical application.

The company, which opened in July 2021, is a joint venture between the Bionics Institute and the University of Melbourne. Researchers at both institutions design devices to understand, diagnose and treat medical conditions. These conditions include epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, hearing loss, stroke and diabetes. Only a small number of high-quality devices are needed for early clinical studies. But no manufacturing facilities in Australia could make this type of device. Ordering from international suppliers is costly and can take months.

Neo-Bionica fills this gap for academic and industry researchers. The company will collaborate with centres such as the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication.

Neo-Bionica staff can also help clients navigate the approval process for first-in-human studies of medical devices. They are experts in Australia’s ethical and regulatory requirements.

The Bionics Institute and the University of Melbourne each invested AU$2.5 million in Neo-Bionica. The company is part of the capabilities available to the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery, of which both institutions are partners. Neo-Bionica is based at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

Clients work with Neo-Bionica on a fee-for-service basis. Using funding from the Higher Education State Investment Fund, the company has created a voucher program. It will subsidise access costs and seed projects that have the potential to become ongoing collaborations. The company will issue calls for applications several times a year.

Image: NIH/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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