Patients the real winners of Australian Technologies Competition

20 November 2017

The medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector has been recognised for its impact and potential at the 2017 Australian Technologies Competition, taking out three of nine awards.

Australian high-tech companies with global potential were celebrated at a gala dinner in Sydney on 16 November. The event showcased technology companies delivering solutions across all of the country’s high growth sectors including energy, resources, mining, agriculture, cities and medtech.

Victorian company LiVac won the Medtech & Pharma Award and overall 'Australian Technology Company of the Year' award for its Retractor System, used to retract the liver during upper gastrointestinal tract laparoscopic surgery with minimal trauma to patients.

The LiVac Retractor provides a safe, effective liver retraction device that meets the needs of the growing Minimally Invasive (keyhole) Surgery market. As surgical wounds become smaller, improved and novel devices are required to retract internal organs to provide access to the surgical field. For example, most upper abdominal surgeries require liver retraction.

The LiVac Retractor System is the only retractor to retract the liver from above – which means that liver function is not impacted by use of the device. The LiVac Retractor System offers safe, effective liver retraction with no reported adverse events in over 500 surgeries. The LiVac Retractor System has achieved repeat sales, has a strong intellectual property position and regulatory approvals in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States.

Livac CEO, Dr Anabela Correia, said, ‘The team at Livac is honoured to be announced as the Australian Technology Company of the Year 2017. We are making great progress in global markets with an Australian made world’s best product and are excited how this win might accelerate our growth. ‘We are currently fund raising and the validation from the Judges of our business strategy gives us extra confidence in executing our business plan and entering new global markets.’

Competition organiser, John O’Brien, said ‘Livac has developed and brought to market a world-leading technology that improves patient and hospital outcomes for upper abdominal minimally invasive (keyhole) surgery. They are set to be a major player globally and become the standard device for liver retraction. They also fit well with all of our Winners since 2011 as they take Australia’s best to make a difference to the world.’

The People's Choice award went to BCAL Diagnostics, a NSW company that has developed a transformational test that enables the early and accurate detection of breast cancer from a routine blood sample potentially replacing mammography globally.

Following a morning of Investor Speed-Dating with twenty of Australia’s leading technology investors, the companies battled it out in front of an eminent panel of judges. The companies faced ‘Dragons’ Den’ style questioning in front of a packed audience at the Australian National Maritime Museum before the judges went into a huddle to come to their final decisions.

The Category Winners include companies that have solutions for detecting leaks in dams using graphene, internet voting, precision agriculture, surgical devices, safe ore processing, big data and autonomous logistics, with categories aligned with the six Industry Growth Centres.