Microscopy Australia has recently completed a project funded by both the Medtech Industry Growth Centre, MTPConnect, and in-kind support from our facilities. The Microscopy Australia Technical Voucher Fund provided subsidised access so medtech companies could get critical microscopy results at a fraction of the normal price. Seven Australian companies applied successfully to the Fund. The subsidies provided gave these companies access to nearly $500,000-worth of time at Microscopy Australia facilities around the country. Some of the outcomes and impacts from those projects are highlighted below:
Little Green Pharma (LGP) was the first company to produce and bring a 100% Australian grown and made pharmaceutical‐grade medicinal cannabis formula to the Australian market. They also continue to develop new, high quality, efficacious medicinal cannabis formulations for Australians with unmet clinical needs. They used their Vouchers to validate the physical makeup of some of their novel investigational formulas and to understand the stability of the formulations during storage to ensure high-quality, reliable products. These products are now helping thousands of patients around the world.
Linear Clinical Research used flow cytometry in clinical trials that they were able to attract to Australia by the competitive rates they could offer to the international sponsor with the help of Microscopy Australia’s voucher scheme. This attracted international interest and brought work to Western Australia. This has had a significantly positive impact on the business from a profit and finance perspective, but also allowed them to further enhance their traction in the Chinese market, building Western Australia’s profile as a premiere destination for affordable, high quality (Tier 1) clinical trials, with a favourably pragmatic regulatory environment. Linear has also had some great referrals from other interested companies looking to place work at Linear due to their successful trial, making it an effective tool from a business development perspective.
WearOptimo are developing a sticker like, wearable health sensor that allows real-time monitoring of heart failure and dehydration biomarkers. They used micro-CT and Cryo-SEM to investigate the penetration profile of the fabricated Microwearable sensor into pig skin. Micro-CT also provided insight into the role of micro-projection density, geometry (height/width) and spacings on how effectively it could penetrate skin. The results pave the way for refining sensor design in the future and images such as those achieved with the Cryo-SEM provide an important and powerful visual link for demonstrating the potency and viability of the Microwearable device to a wide array of scientific and non-scientific audiences. One of the images is now firmly part of the company’s investor information materials. They received recent funding to scale up manufacturing which will result in 13 new permanent positions along with support positions.
TekCyte was able to translate their Bioinvisible™ coating from metal stents to polymers. For that they used XPS, ToF-SIMS, confocal microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, successfully optimising their process for coating soft materials. They were able to determine that polymerisation temperature is a crucial aspect of the coating process. Access to the Microscopy Australia equipment and expertise allowed them to see both chemical and morphological changes to the base materials after coating.
Detmold Medical is an Adelaide-based company that pivoted during 2020 to produce medical masks. They used Microscopy Australia’s instruments and expertise to help guide development and to improve their surgical (blood splash resistant) respirators, to understand failure mechanisms and to design products that are resistant to blood penetration. This work resulted in an improved understanding of the performance of each of the layers in the mask, allowing selection and validation of the best specifications of materials to be used in the construction, and modifying their ultrasonic welding design and parameters.
PYC Therapeutics’ used microscopy to assess the effectiveness of two new therapies they are developing for the genetic eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa type 11 (RP11). They tested the candidates in retinal cells collected from patients – the gold standard for genetic eye diseases. They found that the treatment corrected the deficiency that caused vision loss in RP11 patients. Pre-clinical findings have supported this finding.
Microscopy Australia continues to support the full industry spectrum wherever we can add value to R&D, QA, process management and to provide evidence for investment. We are however focussing particularly on advanced manufacturing, where we are building partnerships to support this essential sector.