Perth Biodesign graduate and Course Co-Director of Perth Biodesign for Digital Health, Eldin Rostom, has been accepted into the 2020 cohort of the MedTech Actuator with his HealthTech startup Diag-Nose, injecting up to $200,000 of investment into the company.
In a time where people are now hyper-aware of every cough, itchy throat or sniffle, a (virtual) visit to the GP for common cold symptoms may be more urgent than ever. But even up until now, upper respiratory tract infections have been the 3rd most common reason for GP visits and antibiotics are still frequently prescribed unnecessarily, contributing to the growing global issue of antibiotic resistance. Diag-Nose Medical is working to reduce antibiotic resistance, having created a rapid diagnostic tool that helps physicians to only prescribe antibiotics to patients who truly need them. The idea spun-out of Stanford University’s Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat (EENT) Innovation Course in California, where the idea also won Best Project. The team features deep medical expertise within the ENT field having three medical co-founders namely Dr David Yen, Dr Brian Wang and Dr Josie Xu. The fourth co-founder, Mr Eldin Rostom is an engineering professional with skills in medical device design and commercialisation.
“Working with the doctors in my team and talking to primary care physicians, we realised that there was a lot of ambiguity in objectively diagnosing bacterial cases of acute sinusitis as opposed to viral cases. As a result, there was a huge gap between the rate of suspected bacterial infections (<10% of all cases) versus the rate of antibiotic prescriptions (>80% of all cases). We identified several reasons for this, the most common one being a mismatch in expectations between patients and physicians where the interaction would lead to prescribing antibiotics regardless if it was ineffective.” Says Eldin. Diag-Nose was recently a finalist in the Medtech’s Got Talent competition and their acceptance into the Medtech Actuator is a serious step for the team, with Eldin relocating to Melbourne for 6 months in order to take part. A rigorous 15-month technology and entrepreneurial skill development program, the MedTech Actuator will also provide $200,000 seed investment and a fast track to Series A through investment partners, Artesian Venture Capital. R&D tax incentive allows promising medtech start-ups a pathway to nearly $4 million within 15 months—an unprecedented accelerated pathway to market in Australia. “Having access to the Medtech Actuator program is a fantastic opportunity – it really takes a village to be able to grow a start-up and the program brings the village to you by surrounding the companies with mentors, business coaches and expert suppliers with a demonstrated track record in MedTech. This will allow Diag-Nose to continue validating our market and developing our product as well as gain access to potential future investors.” said Eldin. During his time in the 2018 Perth Biodesign for Medtech course, Eldin and his team undertook clinical immersions in the burns unit at Fiona Stanley Hospital, and worked to improve first-aid for burn injuries. The course helped to unlock Eldin’s passion for healthcare innovation and, upon graduating, he secured an Accelerating Australia scholarship to attend the EENT Innovation Course at Stanford University. Immediately upon returning to Australia, Eldin left his engineering job in the mining industry to pursue medical innovation full time. “Growing up in Mauritius and experiencing a developing healthcare system, I have always been passionate about driving innovation to make healthcare accessible and affordable for everyone to meet their own socio-economic needs. As an engineer and technology enthusiast, I get excited about ideas and technologies that I encounter every day. However, I often see they don’t really address the human factors or a poignant unmet need and instead make healthcare more expensive. This is where the Perth Biodesign program really helped me define my core belief that medical innovation should be fundamentally based on solving an unmet need and drive value in healthcare.”