Team Sirius wins Perth Biodesign

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Perth BioDesign
Team Sirius holding the 2021 Perth Biodesign trophy. L-R Deepika Gupta, Oscar Beilin, Cade Trigg, Dr Nipanjana Patra, Dr Karen Pedersen. Photo by City of Perth.

Team Sirius won the judges’ prize at the 2021 Perth Biodesign for their monitoring technology that aims to protect our smallest and most vulnerable patients from avoidable injuries associated with peripheral intravenous catheters.

Premature babies rely on intravenous (IV) therapy to receive essential lifesaving treatment, but while IV infusion is necessary it is not without risk of injury caused by unintended leakage of fluid into the surrounding tissue. Current practice largely relies on regular observation by nursing staff to detect leakage, and in these tiny patients the injury can occur very quickly. 

From speaking with doctors working in neonatal medicine and having seen first-hand the care needs for premature babies the team saw the opportunity to reduce harm to babies, distress to families and associated health care costs by developing a monitoring device small enough for these tiny patients.

Their aim is for novel use of technology to enable early detection of peripheral IV catheter leakage to help improve patient outcome while freeing up the time of nursing staff.

The problem we are aiming to solve is very close to home for one of the members of our team and after hearing their stories we felt it was of high clinical need and very worthy of the effort.

Oscar Beilin

The multidisciplinary team first met when the Biodesign course commenced in October 2020 and is made up of:

  • Cade Trigg, a physiotherapist working in the medical device industry;
  • Deepika Gupta, an Orthotist with the WA Department of Health;
  • Dr Karen Pedersen, Manager with the WA Department of Health;
  • Dr Nipanjana Patra, a Research Fellow at Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy; and
  • Oscar Beilin, a Mechanical Engineering master’s student at UWA.

Sirius was one of four teams who presented at Tuesday night’s Perth Biodesign event hosted by the City of Perth at Council House. Other solutions presented were a digital platform to improve therapy compliance in post-stroke patients with facial palsy, a device to assess the throat in non-compliant paediatric patients, and a novel urinary catheter designed to prevent bacterial infiltration which leads to blockages.

The Perth Biodesign course is a fast-paced, hands-on course for aspiring biomedical innovators and entrepreneurs with a drive to improve healthcare. Over 7 months, multidisciplinary teams identify unmet clinical needs during a clinical immersion and invent a medical technology solution, whilst learning about the medical device development and commercialisation process.

Previous winners include VeinTech in 2019 and eMotionGait in 2018. The program forerunner was SPARK Co-Lab, established in 2015 and based off a program with a similar name from Stanford University. It morphed into Perth Biodesign in 2018 which is run by Accelerating Australia, a national consortium of medical and clinical organisations.

The 2021 Perth Biodesign course, administered by The University of Western Australia (UWA), received X-TEND WA grant funding from the New Industries Fund, managed by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, and from a consortium of partners including UWA, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, Murdoch University, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Telethon Kids Institute, the AMA (WA), and the Perron Institute.  

Course co-director, Intan Oldakowska, said that Team Sirius was a deserving winner:

After 7 months of demanding work, all the teams identified strong unmet clinical needs and presented innovative solutions to address them, so it was incredibly difficult for our judges to choose an overall winner.

The Sirius team identified a great need in an underserved population and has developed a commercially and technically viable technology concept to address this need, with fantastic support from their Alumni Mentor Jacob Petersen and Business Mentor Dr Simon Graindorge.

Intan Oldakowska

The teams presented their ideas to a panel of expert judges including: Ian Brown, Chair of Perth Angels; Dr Kath Giles, CEO of OncoRes Medical; and Dr James Williams, Investment Director at Yuuwa Capital.

Perth Biodesign will be running a shorter offering in the form of a 2-day bootcamp on 24-25th May for anyone interested in learning the Biodesign methodology for medical innovation. For more information and registration see the website.

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