From supporting role to the driver’s seat
Playing a supporting role
Nano-X were working to develop their first prototype of a revolutionary radiotherapy system, to flip radiotherapy on its back, literally! Their vision was simple, rotate the patient not the heavy, expensive linear accelerator equipment and treatment becomes significantly cheaper, giving more cancer suffers access to life saving treatment. Their development partner was not progressing as needed and for a start-up commercialising university research, it was critical to prove feasibility fast, to attract investment. Nano-X reached out to us and weighing up the options, it was best to support them in managing their current partner. So using our experience we provided instruction and guidance they needed to direct and manage their supplier.
Pick Up the baton and run
But it didn't work, we needed a plan B! With a major investment opportunity looming, we were asked to deliver the fully functioning prototype. The prototype had to be produced fast, yet be reliable enough and safe enough to be deployed in a major Sydney hospital, for use in trials. There was a lot we had to learn. We explored all options quickly and focused on the fundamentals to select a development path that gave us flexibility to adjust to any unanticipated problems, we only had one shot to get this right. No pressure!
Scaling our effort whilst generating more value
The patient rotation system design, risk management and manufacture was our responsibility. Managing the level of effort across all disciplines, was key to keeping to a tight and finite budget. Some tough specifications made us nervous, so blending simple models and complex analysis gave us the confidence to make important decisions and keep progressing. We did not let these limitations hinder us from adding value and creating new IP, nor applying and meeting relevant regulatory and safety requirements.
Pulling it all together
Testing the system thoroughly was the only way to prove we had achieved our goal and all testing was conducted in-house, showing we met all the specifications. However, it still needed to be coupled to a linear accelerator in the hospital bunker, who was going to do that? We put our hands up, because for us a successful outcome was only possible if the two meshed together seamlessly, to be fully functional, showing the true value of this disruptive technology. It just had to be done. The result? $2.5million was awarded to Nano-X from a government grant. We were tired, relieved but proud, yet energised to continue down this disruptive path.