A University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital start-up has raised almost $800,000 in a recent investment round for a paediatric medical device designed to safely resuscitate babies who struggle to begin breathing after birth.
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 received funding from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance in the organisation’s first investment in a company, as well as Startmate Accelerator and angel investors for the development of “Juno”, a clinical training system for newborn resuscitation.
The capital raised will allow ResusRight to launch the training system and develop a prototype monitor for use in the clinical setting at birth, with manufacturing set to begin in the 2021-22 financial year.
ResusRight Co-Founder and CEO Matt Boustred 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 percent 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.”
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Matt Crott said: “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 ResusRight team hopes to provide better accessibility to neonatal training through affordable pricing and are introducing the Juno into educational programs at Westmead Hospital, Monash Health and Royal Women's Hospital.
In Australia, over 60,000 medical clinicians receive regular neonatal resuscitation certification.
ResusRight is a member of the Sydney Knowledge Hub (SKH), a co-working space for startups (non-profits and corporates) seeking to collaborate with staff and students across the University. The SKH helps members connect with the researchers, grant consultants, labs and makerspaces, and other resources at the University of Sydney.
“We’ve had a fantastic experience at the Sydney Knowledge Hub. There’s a great community with other startups in the Hub which we’ve benefitted from getting to know and share advice with. The Hub team goes above and beyond in actively listening to us and the community to continuously improve the experience and make it a phenomenal co-working space. We’re really looking forward to utilising the new manufacturing facilities they’re developing to assist with next-gen prototyping,” said Matt Boustred.
Announced on 23 September 2021, ResusRight received an additional $800,000 from BioMedTech Horizons Program operated by MTPConnect, a growth centre for medical technologies.
The team plans to use this funding to move to their first human clinical trial in 2022.