UTAS technology helps win UK award

UTAS-based technology helps oxygen-delivering neonatal device win UK award.

A life-saving infant ventilator manufactured in the UK and using technology developed by University of Tasmania and Royal Hobart Hospital scientists has won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Innovation for their “software tool to control the oxygen saturation (SpO2) of the patient on a ventilator”.

The SLE6000 neonatal ventilator produced by UK-based developer SLE Ltd uses the OxyGenie closed-loop Auto-O2 software system for controlling the amount of oxygen in a baby’s blood within a narrowly prescribed range.The SLE6000 with OxyGenie has already been used in over 40 countries worldwide in the care of critically ill babies.

The ability to breathe normally is often the biggest challenge facing premature babies, many of whom need respiratory support, including oxygen therapy for some time after birth.

OxyGenie’s patented algorithm technology was developed over nine years by a team of UTAS scientists led by Professor Peter Dargaville, a clinical researcher with the University’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research and the Tasmanian Health Service, and Dr Tim Gale, a biomedical engineer in the University’s School of Engineering.

A commercial licence for the technology was granted to SLE Ltd in 2018.

UTAS Executive Director, Innovation and Enterprise, Professor Craig Johnson, welcomed news of the Queen’s Award.

“This is a wonderful example of how innovative cross-disciplinary thinking has delivered an exciting invention that delivers highly significant positive health outcomes for neonates. The team are to be congratulated for receiving the highly prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category,” Prof Johnson said.

Neil Campbell, CEO of SLE’s parent company, Inspiration Healthcare Group plc, said: “This is fantastic recognition of how a UK company can work with the best research groups around the world to bring an innovative idea like Auto-O2 to become a commercially successful product.”

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of innovation, international trade, sustainable development, and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

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