Skip navigation
Government of South Australia - Department of State Development


    South Australia’s medtech industry: meeting global healthcare challenges head-on

    Medtech is a diverse sector, with clinicians and researchers from a wide variety of backgrounds coming together to develop medical devices and diagnostics.

    Anything that can be used to diagnose, prevent, treat and monitor medical conditions comes under the medtech umbrella – from wound dressings to catheters, pacemakers to baby incubators, Covid tests to blood pressure monitors.

    Medtech is an industry that relies on collaboration between research and industry to identify and solve challenges, and develop devices to improve health outcomes.

    This is an area South Australia excels in, and we have a long history supporting the medtech sector.

    The Adelaide BioMed City research precinct supports more than 2,000 researchers and 10,000 staff across hospitals, universities and research, fostering high-impact translational research collaborations between researchers, clinicians and students, together with entrepreneurs and leading industry players.

    Its proximity to and connections with researchers and companies at the Lot Fourteen and Tonsley innovation precincts is taking collaboration to the next level.

    All three South Australian universities are active in the medical device research space.

    Flinders University has its own dedicated Medical Device Research Institute (MDRI), while the other two have medical devices and medical engineering as part of other research institutes, including the University of South Australia’s Future Industry Institute (FII) and Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB), and the University of Adelaide’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) and Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML).

    The South Australian Government continues to support the Medical Device Partnering Program – an initiative of the MDRI – which has been based at Tonsley since its inception in 2008.

    The Government is fast-tracking South Australian innovations in the global marketplace by investing a further $900,000, matched by more than $1.7 million from Flinders University, research and industry partners, to support the continuation of the MDPP and continue to fuel the medical device innovation pipeline at Tonsley.

    The MDPP fosters collaborations between researchers, industry and end-users to create medical technologies where there is both identified clinical need and viable market potential.

    The additional funding will allow the MDPP to further develop the state’s sovereign medtech capability, retain its team of world-class medical device and technology experts, and scale its global impact.

    With its strong capability in digital technologies, South Australia is positioned to have a major impact on medtech mega trends such as the digital evolution, healthy ageing, precision healthcare and global biosecurity.

    The state is home to a wealth of innovative medtech companies making major breakthroughs in healthcare.

    One example is precision medicine company Ferronova, a UniSA spinout and MDPP alumnus, which is housed within FII. Ferronova recently raised venture capital and is currently running a multi-centre clinical trial of its Ferrotrace product, a diagnostic tracer that aims to identify high risk lymph-nodes in cancer patients and detect the early spread of cancer.

    Micro-X, based at Tonsley, has developed a novel x-ray source based on carbon nanotubes. A smaller and lighter x-ray tube means the x-ray machines are portable and can be brought to the patient rather than the other way around. The company is currently developing a CT machine that can be integrated into an ambulance.

    AIML works with a range of companies at Lot Fourteen, such as Personifycare, Presagen and CareApp, to develop digital tools, including artificial intelligence, to improve patient care and diagnostics.

    South Australia’s strong links between researchers and industry is further illustrated by the number of medtech related Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) that have had researchers based in the state.

    The CRC for Tissue Growth and Repair was headquartered in Adelaide, and spinout company TGR Biosciences, acquired by Abcam, manufactures diagnostic assays for the global market in Adelaide.

    The SAAFE CRC, headquartered in Adelaide, aims to solve antimicrobial resistance, not only in medtech but more broadly, including food and agribusiness.

    To foster relationships and continue to build capability in this crucial sector, South Australia regularly plays host to conferences and other events designed to bring research, industry and government together and highlight the state’s achievements.

    • The annual AusMedTech Conference and ANDHealth Summit – which focuses on digital devices and digital health – recently came to Adelaide for the second year running.
    • In August the University of Adelaide’s thinclab will host its second Adelaide Medtech Hackathon, focusing on healthcare dilemmas and sustainability, and medical technology.
    • The MTPConnect Adelaide Intermediary and AusBiotech SA regularly organise events to highlight the sector and foster collaboration between research, industry and government.

    As Australia grapples with the same health challenges facing most of the developed world, ensuring a robust and resilient medtech sector will lead to advanced medical technologies and improved patient outcomes, and allow us to meet these challenges head-on.

    Dr Louise Smith is the Manager, Policy and Performance at the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science. She has worked in the multidisciplinary medtech field as an academic in the UK and Australia, and in the CRC for Cell Therapy Manufacturing and its spin-out company TekCyte to develop and commercialise a wound dressing

    Up Next

    18th Jun 2024

    Attracting SA students to Italian Language studies