The treatment of acute stroke is a race against time that requires swift access to computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging - a hospital-based diagnostic technology that currently only 10% of the global population can access. With the help of the Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer grant, Wellumio is creating a future where anybody, anywhere, suspected of a stroke can receive a pre-hospital diagnosis and begin life-changing treatments within the golden hour.
Who are Wellumio?
Wellumio is a portable Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) start-up that has recently secured funding to realise their goal of installing their Axana portable MRI device in every ambulance roaming the streets and skies. Wellumio was founded in 2019 and is led by co-CEOs Dr Shieak Tzeng and Dr Sergei Obruchkov.
Wellumio’s benefits to the innovation ecosystem
Wellumio's Axana portable MRI scanner creates a new market category. This pre-hospital imaging market has the potential to drive innovative product and service development within the new category including:
- Software companies developing record-keeping, image-processing and decision support tools.
- Telehealth companies developing data exchange and communication tools for integrating portable imaging data with clinical end users.
- Mobile radiology services offering imaging modalities beyond conventional X-rays.
Strong evidence already exists that the knowledge and expertise in creating their compact MRI system has inspired other innovators to explore novel portable applications of magnetic resonance technology.
What the panel had to say about Wellumio:
Wellumio made a well articulated application, outlining the strength of their technical team and well-defined market. Their application was strengthened further during the pitch presentation, specifically in the areas of commercial viability and benefits to the innovation ecosystem.
They worked extremely hard in both their application and presentation to demonstrate impact to the ecosystem and how they’re bringing other businesses along on the journey, which was great to see from a business at an early life stage.
The panel highlighted Wellumio appears to be creating and following robust processes and that the current team have a strong commercial nous. It’s exciting to see this application succeed.
How Wellumio will be investing their grant
Wellumio will use the Ārohia funding they receive to complete product development for beta testing and clinical feasibility trials, complete feasibility trials, meet with regulatory requirements and set up partnership agreements. In preparing to enter the market, Wellumio will also set up their marketing capability in target markets and establish a manufacturing and production process.
Our technology grew out of Paul Callaghan's laboratory, so it's fair to say our journey has been fueled by his vision of a prosperous Aotearoa powered by innovation. Paul demonstrated trailblazing leadership when he took a portable earthfield magnet to Antarctica, paving the way for ground-breaking discoveries. Now, it is our moment to step up and become trailblazers ourselves as we introduce a new generation of portable MRIs that will save lives.
Dr Shieak Tzeng, co-CEO