Start-up raises $784,000 for Westmead Hospital baby resuscitation system

Westmead Hospital neonatal intensive care staff specialist Dr Mark Tracy (right) demonstrates a prototype oxygen monitor in a training session with a dummy. Note: this photo was taken before masks were necessary in hospital settings.

A prototype medical device that could save hundreds of thousands of newborn babies every year will soon be manufactured thanks to almost $800,000 raised in a recent investment round.

ResusRight was founded by a world-leading research team based at Westmead Hospital neonatal intensive care unit that specialises in improving care of vulnerable babies.

The team, led by staff specialist Dr Mark Tracy, has a mission to lower neonatal mortality rates worldwide and prevent babies from developing disabilities due to complications at birth.

“The idea was to build a world-first micro monitor that would test the effectiveness of resuscitation being provided to newborn babies,” Dr Tracy said.

“Improving the way we resuscitate babies will help reduce mortality and prevent later risks such as cerebral palsy, brain injury, blindness and hearing impairments.”

The Juno is a prototype device that gives real-time feedback on resuscitation efforts for newborns, allowing for immediate improvement in life-saving technique.

Around 17,000 babies require resuscitation at birth in Australia every year. Worldwide that figure is over 10 million, and tragically one million babies die annually from birth asphyxia.

Experts estimate that at least 30 percent of these deaths – 300,000 babies a year – could be prevented with better resuscitation. 

The start-up has seen Dr Tracy work with two University of Sydney doctoral biomedical engineering students, Matt Boustred and Matthew Crott, along with clinical engineer Dr Murray Hinder to combine clinical expertise with cutting-edge technological innovation.

They received funding from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance in the organisation’s first investment in a company, as well as Startmate Accelerator and angel investors for the development of “Juno”, a clinical training system for newborn resuscitation. 

The capital raised will allow ResusRight to launch the training system and develop a prototype monitor for use in the clinical setting at birth, with manufacturing set to begin in the 2021-22 financial year. 

“ResusRight aims to advance the gold standard of newborn resuscitation through equipment that is accessible in design and at a price point that is affordable to a global market. We want our monitoring systems to be as useful for a consultant in Westmead Hospital as for a midwife out in Bourke or a birth attendant in India,” ResusRight co-founder Matt Boustred said.

“Our mission is to improve outcomes at birth to ensure no baby dies or is left with a preventable disability when their life has just begun.”

The ResusRight team hopes to provide better accessibility to neonatal training through affordable pricing and are introducing the Juno into educational programs at Westmead Hospital, Monash Health and Royal Women’s Hospital. 

Newborn resuscitation training occurs annually and will greatly benefit from the ResusRight device to measure training effectiveness.