A paediatric medical device designed to improve neonatal resuscitation is in development with the aim of clinical trials next year.
ResusRight, a University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital start-up, is developing “Juno” a clinical training system for newborn resuscitation.
ResusRight was founded by two doctoral biomedical engineering 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. Together, the team has a mission to lower neonatal mortality rates and prevent babies from developing disabilities due to complications at birth.
The start-up has raised $1.2 million in funding, which includes support from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance as well as Startmate Accelerator and angel investors, in addition to an $800,000 grant from the Federal Government’s BioMedTech Horizons Program operated by MTPConnect, a growth centre for medical technologies.
ResusRight co-founder and CEO Matt Boustred said the funding will allow them to develop the clinical device and get it into trials next year.
“Our most immediate focus is starting to sell the Juno training monitor and getting that into the key Australian training programs for neonatal resuscitation,” he said. “We’ve partnered with a few leading hospitals to make this happen including Westmead Hospital, Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne and Monash Health.
“We’ve been getting some great feedback from these pilots so want to start selling it by the end of this year. Next year we’re also planning a clinical trial to trial our monitor in actual resuscitations for the first time.”
Currently, babies are resuscitated using devices that provide air to the infants in order to start them breathing. However, Mr Boustred said “these devices don’t measure the amount of air they are giving to the infant”.
“A premature baby can sometimes only need a teaspoon of air (~5mL) so it’s very easy to over or under deliver air to the infant which can both have terrible consequences,” he said.
“Each year 10 million babies need resuscitation, and a million babies die from birth asphyxia at birth. Experts estimate that at least 30% of these could be saved with better resuscitation so this is who we’re trying to help by improving the process of resuscitation.”
The Juno will be used at birth for term to preterm babies ranging from around 5kg to 0.5kg for the tiniest babies.
“One of the big advantages of our device is that we’ve designed it to be very easy to use and portable,” Mr Boustred said. “We want this to enable the monitors to be available anywhere a baby needs resuscitation, whether that be for flying doctors, a small rural centre out in the country, or a big hospital.
“Currently a lot of technology is confined to large hospitals due to cost, difficulty of use and portability. However, babies are born everywhere and could need resuscitation anywhere they are born as a lot of the time (around 50%) resuscitations are unexpected. We want our device to be available at every birth for if its needed.”