Global partnerships brewing at bioengineering institute

Supplied Content (Edited) – 

The Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) of the University of Auckland hopes to develop new international strategic partnerships and investor opportunities for medical technology (medtech).

The Institute’s Strategic Partnership Specialist Dr Diana Siew said that she would focus on promoting ‘Medtech Core’ and ‘Consortium for Medical Device Technologies’ (CMDT), the latter founded by her with ABI Director Distinguished Professor Peter Hunter to reduce the isolation of medical technology research institutions in New Zealand.

CMDT is a partnership led by University of Auckland with the Canterbury University, Otago University, Auckland University of Technology, Victoria University of Wellington and Callaghan Innovation.

High Achiever

ABI announced today the appointment of Dr Siew as its Strategic Partnership Specialist, stating that she has a strong innovation, research management and relationship management background in New Zealand’s medical technology sector.

She will continue in her role as the Co-Chair of CMDT and Associate Director of Medtech Core. She is an alumnus of the University of Auckland with a doctorate in Chemistry with several years of experience in New Zealand’s Medtech environment, including previous roles with Industrial Research Ltd and Callaghan Innovation.

“Feedback from multinationals was that they found it hard to work in New Zealand with its large number of different research organisations in the medical health technology space. They sometimes did not know where to start to find all the people for a particular focus,” Dr Siew said.

CMDT partners have developed Consortium as a national network to highlight New Zealand’s medtech activity and connect companies, the research industry, health providers and government stakeholders.

It is the ‘NZ Inc’ front for medtech research in this country and makes it easier for multinational companies to work in New Zealand.

Trust and Transparency

Medtech Core is a translational research pipeline of new technologies for the medtech sector. ABI has created a high level of trust in the network and transparency between the partners.

Earlier this month, the CMDT partners hosted a workshop for a group of Japanese researchers, companies and funders to support a collaboration between the two countries, focused on developing new technologies for elderly care.

While working at Callaghan Innovation, Dr Siew established ‘Standing Trial Population Centres’ that support fast early-stage validation studies of medical devices and digital health systems to accelerate technology development for both health and economic outcomes.

Quick validation

“This platform accelerates the ability of a medtech company to get quick validation for prototypes and concepts on which they are working. This reduces the time and expense in identifying clinical expertise and recruiting patients,” she said.

It is an easy access tool for multinationals to see the four main areas where the Standing Trials Population Centres operate – in technologies for elderly care, rehabilitation innovation and remote community care, and design and development for new devices.

Waikato District Health Board’s Institute of Healthy Ageing and AUT are key partners to two of the Standing Trials Populations Centres.

Another initiative developed by Dr Siew for medtech is a showcase on the latest technologies available in New Zealand.

These Technology Innovation Knowledge and Interchange (TIKI) tours focus on the latest innovations for busy clinicians in health boards and other health organisations.
“The TIKI tours are intended to be a discussion platform between clinicians at district health boards and New Zealand health tech innovators. It is about alerting clinicians to what technologies are coming out – both from industry and research institutions, so that they are aware of these for use in our health system,” Dr Siew said.

Photo Caption: Diana Siew

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