Intellectual Ventures, NSW

Researcher: John Stride

University of New South Wales

School of Chemistry

Improving the cost-effectiveness of a surfactant

Advanced research can deliver a competitive edge or improved product performance. 

Advanced research can deliver a competitive edge or improved product performance. 

A surfactant is a surface-active agent such as a detergent that reduces the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved, allowing it to foam or penetrate solids.

Gemini surfactants can be up to three orders of magnitude more efficient than conventional surfactants of equal chain length, and have promising application as industrial detergents. They have even shown efficiency in skin care and pharmaceutical applications.

Known gemini surfactants have historically been prepared by long, complicated and non-cost-effective synthetic steps. With research capability in molecular and molecule-based materials, Associate Professor John Stride investigated the synthesis of various cost-effective gemini surfactants, as well as for use as an additive in commercial applications. Further investigations explored the applicability and synthesis of gemini surfactants for specific uses such as in washable paint and antimicrobial coatings.

Signostics, SA

Researcher: Mary Steen

University of South Australia

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Developing medical devices that improve care

We back Australian manufacturers in their search for life-changing innovation. 

We back Australian manufacturers in their search for life-changing innovation. 

Signostics is an R&D company manufacturing point-of-care ultrasound devices in Australia — ultrasound at the patient’s bed or during a consultation within hospitals, remote communities and the home care sector. This is a growing market aimed at improving patient care and reducing spending.

Signostics has developed a new device, the UscanTM Scanner, to effectively measure the post-void residual volume of the bladder.

The aim of this project, in collaboration with the University of South Australia, is to assess the usability, reliability and accuracy of the newly developed UscanTM Scanner in performing bladder scans on bladders of pregnant women and new mothers. Demonstration of the UscanTM Scanner will open a new market opportunity for the developed technology in a market with global potential.

Atlite Australia, VIC

Researcher: Associate Professor Blair Kuys

Swinburne University of Technology

Interior Architecture & Industrial Design

Finding a new window of opportunity

Business Foundations is working to support local manufacturers like Atlite Australia.

Business Foundations is working to support local manufacturers like Atlite Australia.

Openable skylights are increasingly fashionable in home renovation and construction and are a fast-growth item in the skylight industry. In most cases, however, imported skylights are used.

Atlite has been operating in this sector for more than 50 years and in early 2015, it pursued its ambition to design and fabricate a new fire-rated openable skylight. After being introduced to Jim Grigoriou and Swinburne University’s School of Design, an Innovation Connections grant was used to conceive, design and test an openable skylight, with increased fire-rated specifications and longevity.

The design project concluded in February 2016, fulfilling the brief and meeting the client’s expectations – design, test data and production specifications. The project is testament to Atlite’s ambition to work with a creative and energetic design team from Swinburne University, conceive a unique design and replace imports.

Lithium Australia, WA

Researcher: Chris Griffith

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Minerals

Lithium extraction without roasting

Demand for lithium is predicted to treble: we help producers develop a competitive edge.

Demand for lithium is predicted to treble: we help producers develop a competitive edge.

Lithium Australia NL is working toward controlling the greatest lithium (Li) resource base of any entity worldwide, producing low-cost, battery-grade Li carbonate and hydroxide. In order to achieve this, new processing technologies are being developed which are energy and cost efficient, and which are tailorable depending on the feedstock employed.

This breakthrough will enable more competitive processing of spodumene and commercial recovery of lithium from neglected sources such as mica.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Minerals’ long-standing process development history and association with Australian industry has been utilised to optimise the extraction of lithium from all types of lithium-bearing silicates.

The aim of the project is to better define the nature of the dissolution reactions, optimise leach kinetics, and design process flowsheets applicable to the recovery of lithium from spodumene and other silicates.

This will enable the company to reduce costs for the production of high value-added lithium chemicals, to the point where it could compete with producers in lower-cost environments such as Chile or China. This should place Lithium Australia NL in a strong position to supply a market which is tipped to treble in the coming years.

Phylogica, WA

Researcher: Doug Fairly
Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute
Cell Death & Survival Group

Building Smarter Cancer Drugs

Business Foundations is supporting  Phylogica WA to build smarter cancer drugs. 

Business Foundations is supporting  Phylogica WA to build smarter cancer drugs. 

Research has shown that many cancer types are dependent on certain members of the BCL-2 family of proteins for their survival. Accordingly, researchers have been investigating ways to target these proteins and activate the natural cell suicide machinery within tumours.

Whilst this approach has been effective for some cancers, others do not respond, or respond poorly.

In order to improve the efficacy and precision of these types of treatments, Doug Fairlie’s group at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute have been employing the “Phylomer” based cell penetrating peptide technology developed by Phylogica to deliver highly potent agents capable of targeting BCL-2 proteins into tumour cells.

In a recent pilot study, this approach resulted in effective killing of a range of cell types with minimal off-target effects, and with higher potency than other similar approaches.

As a result of these encouraging results, this highly productive collaboration is now moving into its next phase, where they are combining Phylomer-based reagents developed at both Phylogica and the Institute to further improve the potency of such treatments.

Early results from their work in leukaemia and lymphoma have been very promising and they now plan to extend their studies to other cancers such as melanoma, breast and lung cancer.