Medical imaging technology company EMVision Medical Devices (ASX: EMV) is set to receive $8 million funding from a total $40 million pool awarded to commercial partner Australian Stroke Alliance (ASA) under the federal government’s stage two Medical Research Future Fund initiative as part of the ASA’s bid to transform pre-hospital stroke care.
The funding will support EMVision’s development and clinical validation of a planned first responder model for air and road ambulances, as well as confirmation of its portable brain scanner’s diagnostic capabilities for stroke patients in a hospital environment.
The ASA consortium comprises more than 30 leaders across the healthcare sector working together on a research program to develop, test and implement breakthrough portable imaging technologies which will radically transform access to early pre-hospital treatments and dramatically improve stroke outcomes for all Australians.
The consortium provides EMVision with global clinical connectivity, expertise and advocacy from leading minds in stroke care and paramedics across Australia, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
ASA’s $8m funding allocation
EMVision’s $8 million cut of the ASA’s funding will be in the form of non-dilutive cash resources anticipated to be weighted in the early part of the five-year program.
Any money advanced will be contingent on the ASA executing a funding agreement with the MRFF and EMVision signing a project agreement with the ASA, subject to the satisfaction of pre-determined conditions.
EMVision will retain sole intellectual property rights over the course of the research program.
In recognition of the funding and supportive clinical network provided by the consortium, EMVision will also negotiate an appropriate revenue stream with the ASA in respect of Australian road and air ambulance first responder model sales on standard commercial terms.
ASA received $40 million of a total $100 million awarded in the government’s stage two MRFF program to health and medical research recipients across the country.
EMVision’s first generation in-ward model is currently under development and is targeted for use in intensive care and stroke units, neurology wards and emergency departments.
The device intends to principally offer a bedside decision support and monitoring capability for patient response to treatments, complications and progress of strokes.
ASA funding is expected to assist with EMVision’s expanded clinical studies to support first regulatory submissions for the device, as well as the development and clinical validation of a next generation ultra-light weight and cost-effective first responder model which can be carried in ambulances alongside essential monitoring and defibrillation equipment.
This device would be designed to speed up pre-hospital triage and create an opportunity for earlier pre-hospital treatment choices through road and air ambulance deployment.
End-to-end medical research program
EMVision chief executive officer Dr Ron Weinberger said the ASA consortium brings together an end-to-end medical research program with the intention of saving and improving the lives of people who have experienced one of the world’s most debilitating medical emergencies in the world.
“No such consortium exists internationally, and the ASA will become a template for not only managing strokes but also other medical emergencies,” he said.
“The ASA has worked tirelessly to put Australia centre stage in this global battle to save healthy lives and its leadership team is to be congratulated.”
Pilot clinical trial
Dr Weinberger said EMVision would work alongside ASA in furthering the portable first responder model, which will build on a successful pilot clinical trial conducted at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.
“We look forward to working together in the development and clinical validation of our game-changing products,” he said.
“Our lightweight and accessible devices aim to transform the management of stroke for clinicians and first responders whether they operate in urban or rural settings and importantly, they provide desperately needed access to best-in-class, telehealth-enabled stroke care in remote and indigenous communities.”
Future of stroke care
ASA co-chief investigator and neurologist Professor Geoffrey Donnan believes the future of stroke care lies with easily-accessible imaging devices.
“Lightweight, portable and affordable brain imaging is the next frontier in stroke care,” he said.
“The tyranny of distance can be a huge barrier – if you have a stroke in rural or remote parts of Australia, you are twice as likely to be left with a serious, lifelong disability compared to city-based stroke survivors.”
The EMVision partnership brings together clinical and technical expertise to integrate next-generation brain imaging into road and air ambulances for the treatment of stroke “no matter where a patient is located”.
“This funding is a testament to the potential of our collaboration to deliver innovative new Australian technology and drive the transformation of stroke care across Australia and globally,” Professor Donnan said.