Wearables maker gets a Qld govt boost


Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Brisbane-based MedTech manufacturer WearOptimo, which is backed by the Australian National University (ANU), will produce devices in Australia after getting support from the Queensland government.

The company makes small sticker like devices that can detect dehydration in patients. According to the WearOptimo, the ‘microwearables’ provide accurate results in real time and may become a substitute for frequent blood testing for various diseases.

A new facility will be constructed in Queensland to manufacture the devices following support through the state government’s Essential Goods and Supply Chain Program.

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The Queensland Department of Premier and Cabinet has been contacted to confirm how much funding the project received, but a response was not provided.

The Queensland Essential Goods and Supply Chain Program was stood up in May last year to support local manufacturers and businesses impacted by COVID-19 through. So far funding through the $50 million program has gone to manufacturers of PPE, COVID-19 tests, and bio tech but individual amounts have not been disclosed.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the new WearOptimo facility would be “one of a kind” and produce devices for global distribution.

“It’s exciting that such a revolutionary medical technology will be manufactured and distributed globally from Queensland,’ said Mr Miles in a statement Tuesday.

“WearOptimo expects more than 90 direct new high-value jobs created over the next five years with the potential for many more in the future.”

WearOptimo was established in 2018 by Professor Mark Kendal with support from the ANU. The company received state government grants to establish a laboratory and a prototype of the microwearable devices.

More government support means the company will now be able to move to the manufacturing phase, and WearOptimo intends to engage with local industry partners for the electronic components used in the production of devices and software, including printed circuit boards, plastic parts, packaging and app software.

“The Microwearables we’re working on will empower individuals and their health care providers, said Prof Kendal.

“For example, some of our sensors will detect and alert you to dehydration while people are on the job, or to dehydration in the elderly. Another type of our sensors will help with the early detection of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease, which is responsible for 20 million deaths per year.

“We’re working on tackling some of the biggest killers on the planet, so it is a real thrill to receive this important support for our important work.”

The Queensland government says the WearOptimo project aligns with its ongoing biomedical action plan. The decade long roadmap released in 2017 aims to make the state a regionally integrated and globally competitive Asia-Pacific biomedical industry hub and includes a $4 million program to support and attract biomedical enterprises.

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