New manufacturing facility to accelerate medical device development in Victoria


Victorian Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford officially opened Neo-Bionica – a joint initiative between the Victorian Government, the Bionics Institute and the University of Melbourne.

Located at St Vincents Hospital, the new state-of-art manufacturing facility will fast-track the time it takes to develop and trial medical devices, including new treatments for people with diabetes.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister Pulford said the laboratory would address a nationwide shortage of medical device development and manufacturing facilities, boosting Victoria’s reputation as a global centre for biomedical engineering.

“This new facility will be a link for Victoria between the concept phase and the clinical trial phase, which is crucial for the development and commercialisation of medical devices,” the Minister said.

“Through investment in medical research and innovation, we’re bringing Victorian ideas and talent to the world.”

Bionics Institute CEO Robert Klupacs said Neo-Bionica would significantly reduce the time it takes to develop and trial a medical device, making it available to those who need it much earlier that before.

“Bionics Institute researchers have discovered that vagus nerve stimulation can be used to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD),” Mr Klupacs noted.

“However, to create a prototype device for use in future clinical trials, we had to contract a company in America, resulting in an 18-month delay.

“Neo-Bionica has the latest cleanroom technology needed to create implants for human trials, as well as the latest engineering equipment, 3D printers and, most importantly, the combined expertise of our highly-trained engineers, scientists and clinicians.”

The project is supported with $4 million in funding from the Victorian Government which will be used to fit out of Neo-Bionica with essential equipment; for applied research jobs; and for a voucher program to help industry start-ups commercialise medical prototypes.

Image credit: Bionics Institute YouTube channel