Homegrown success brings new hope for Parkinson’s disease patients

Melbourne once again proves it is an emerging powerhouse in the biotech and medtech sphere as leading minds at the Florey Institute partner with Global Kinetics Corporation to develop a world first piece of tech.

PKG – a wristwatch style device changing lives

Global Kinetics Corporation (GKC), with researchers from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, have created a medical device, known as the Parkinson’s KinetiGraph™ (PKG™) movement recording. The PKG™ Data Logger looks similar to a wristwatch and automatically records tremor movement data to assist doctors in their diagnosis and treatment of the symptoms of movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s Disease.

Michelle Goldsmith is the Business Development Director of Global Kinetics Corporation.

“Treating Parkinson’s patients has at times been difficult because [doctors] need to conduct an assessment of movement of people with Parkinson’s. Until our technology became available there was no way of remotely assessing that accurately.”

This month marks the completion of 13,000 PKG reports and the device is now available in 17 different countries.

Melbourne’s collaborative environment is key to success

The product is a home-grown success story, says Ms Goldsmith: “The device is manufactured and designed in Melbourne, research is conducted in Melbourne and we also have our head office here in Melbourne.”

Facilitated by the Victorian Government, Global Kinetics Corporation have developed a number of strategic partnerships and collaborations with local institutes, such as the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, St Vincent’s and Royal Melbourne Hospitals.

“The environment [in Melbourne] has been fantastic. It is central to the success of company,” explains Ms Goldsmith.

Tackling Diseases of Aging Together

Professor Ashley Bush, CEO of The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health agrees and says that Melbourne has a concentration of activity, particularly at the Florey.

“I think [the concentration is] part of the reason our clinical expertise is up to the highest standard in the world. The U.S. FDA, for example, trusts our abilities and will trust our data in terms of registering new drugs. Big drug companies from the United States for example, won’t hesitate in using Australian investigators to do clinical trials.”

Professor Malcolm Horne’s research work with the Florey Institute, and also as a co-founder of GKC and co-developer of the PKG is just one great example of what is coming out of Melbourne currently.

“Scientifically our achievements are pretty impressive. We certainly punch above our weight, as they say,” said Professor Bush.

Melbourne on a Global Stage

The power of this collaboration was evident on a recent US trip. Dr Krystal Evans, CEO of BioMelbourne Network led a delegation of 15 companies, including GKC, on a trip to Boston, also taking in the AdvaMed conference in Minneapolis.

“This is the 4th year that Melbourne has sent a delegation of companies to this conference, which is the leading medtech conference in North America, a global hub of medical technology,” explains Dr Evans. “GKC were one [of those companies] – they’ve just got their FDA Approval – and had a series of very productive meetings and explored new markets for their data logger.”

The Victorian Government’s international office in New York facilitated setting up many of these meetings between Melbourne and US-based companies. The delegation typifies the cutting edge and collaborative approach that is at the heart of innovation in Melbourne’s biotech and med-tech scene.

The Future is Bright

Ms Goldsmith acknowledges the role the State Government plays. “I feel the Victorian Government have been long standing supporters of medtech here in Victoria and that we are grateful for the support we’ve received from the State Government. The State’s future in digital health is particularly bright and a lot of that comes down to the support the State Government has provided.”