A winning pitch opens up a MedTech learning opportunity of a lifetime

From Brisbane to the US and back to Sydney, our program alumnus Mana Liao’s winning pitch earned her a whirlwind of career-enhancing experiences. From attending a global conference in Boston to personalised tours of leading MedTech industry headquarters, Mana learnt and opened up more opportunities than she could imagine.
In the lead up to this year’s PitchTech competition, Mana she shares her experience with us.

What was your winning PitchTech pitch about?

I used the competition as an opportunity to pitch a MedTech innovation from where I worked at the time, that uses long-read DNA sequencing technology for a rapid real-time diagnosis of Sepsis, which is the number one cause of preventable death, and the technology can reduce diagnosis in hospital from three days to only six hours.

First stop: Bio-IT World Conference & Expo, Boston

As a recipient of the 2018 award, I had the privilege to attend the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston, USA, which showcased the IT and informatics applications that drive biomedical research, drug discovery, and healthcare.

17 tracks of in-depth technical presentations ran simultaneously, ranging from ‘next-gen sequencing informatics’, ‘cancer informatics’, ‘blockchain in pharma’ to ‘AI for healthcare’.
I was truly flooded by new insights, expertise, knowledge and innovative ideas during the three days of the conference. It was a constant dilemma to decide which of the parallel presentations to attend, because they all seem to be too good to be missed!

Apart from absorbing the vast knowledge in this rapidly growing field, my key objective was to reach out to external stakeholders to discuss prospective partnerships and collaborations with my employer’s capabilities in clinical genomics and sequencing applications.

The conference offered me the opportunity to network with over 3,000 life sciences, pharmaceutical, clinical, healthcare and IT professionals from over 40 countries. It was a great chance to gain a global perspective on the technology as well as the commercial market of applications.

Next stop: industry visits

The PitchTech award also facilitated a series of industry visits, both in Australia and USA.

Google Cloud

At Google’s Cambridge office, I met with Jonathan Sheffi, product manager for the Genomics and Life Sciences, and had a great discussion about his team’s genomics projects, and our team’s innovative approach of genomic data analysis. This provided an excellent introduction for the possible future collaboration work.

BC Platform

I was very impressed by BC Platform – an expert in the area of digital biobank – who demonstrated their data platform when I visited their Boston office. Here I met with Nino da silva, EVP of Sales and Marketing and rest of the team. Following the visit, we continued the discussion about a partnership opportunity with my employer.


Back in Australia, the discussion and tour around Magnetica in Brisbane with CEO, Duncan Stovell, was truly insightful. He gave me a behind the scenes tour of running an early-stage medical device company in developing and commercialising next-generation MRI technologies, from an IP that was originated from the University of Queensland before the company was conceived in 2005.

I learnt that tremendous amounts of diligence and time go into the quality management and regulatory validation process. It was a good reminder and reality check about the process of commercialising medical devices.


Steven Kennedy (VP Global Regulatory Affairs, Cochlear) kindly organised a day visit for me at the Sydney Cochlear site. I had a production tour followed by the opportunity to meet and talk with key personnel from each department in the clinical trial, product development, new production industrialization, and global marketing teams.

As the Australian superstar medtech company that pioneered implantable hearing devices globally, it was truly amazing to see the scale of Cochlear’s operations from different angles. I learnt that idea creation through to product launch may take five years or more. However, constant innovation and forefront strategic planning is needed to adapt with new technological advancement.

A take-home message from the experience

The BridgeTech Program and the experience from the PitchTech award gave me a three-dimensional perspective of the medical technology arena. The combination of the theoretical learning during the program, current technology insight at the conference and understanding the operations adopted by local and international medtech companies at the industry visits, have formed an asset of knowledge, which will guide me in working on commercialising medical technology into the future.

I thank BridgeTech for providing this wonderful opportunity and I hope the program will continue to run to benefit more people in growing the commercialisation of Australian medical technology.

About the 2021 competition

The PitchTech Competition is an opportunity open exclusively to 2021 BridgeTech Program participants.

What is required?

You submit a two-minute video ‘elevator pitch’ to our expert industry judging panel.

The prize

Two winners will receive:

  • personalised feedback on your pitch
  • up to $5,000 of industry engagement travel support.

You can use the award to attend The MedTech Conference 2022, or a conference/opportunity of your choice if international travel is not possible.

How to apply

Log in to Blackboard to apply before 11:59pm on June 28, 2021.

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