Health & Wellbeing

Accelerating Health Innovation


Published Jan 20, 2022

The New Zealand Health Innovation Hub (NZHIH) was established in 2012 to identify, share and implement health-related innovations and ideas for the benefit of the health system. With the support of Wellington UniVentures, NZHIH can access expertise to progress their idea from a concept into a viable market opportunity. Andrew Cameron, Wellington UniVentures’ Senior Commercialisation Manager, has been working closely with NZHIH to help advance life-changing solutions for the healthcare system.

Innovators across the country’s healthcare system are supported through NZHIH, as they identify and develop their ideas. In 2019, the Ministry of Health developed a Health Technology Innovation Framework to provide health innovators with direction, and guide the use of emerging health technologies, supporting a strong and equitable public health and disability system. Crucially, the framework recognised the limited capacity and capability within the health system for people and organisations to fully participate in the innovation journey. Wellington UniVentures help to fill this gap by providing knowledge and expertise to shape research into initiatives that create impact. Our team help by supporting technical validation, understanding the intellectual property (IP) position and uncovering potential market opportunities. Working with NZHIH is an opportunity for Wellington UniVentures to support the wider innovation ecosystem in Aotearoa New Zealand and accelerate some of the fantastic ideas designed to build a better future.

“Innovation is key to providing equity and better health outcomes for New Zealanders. Ensuring that the right support and resource is there to grow an idea and take it to the next stage of development will benefit a range of people and processes currently in place in the health system.” Explained Andrew.

“It’s great to see that the Ministry of Health has put such an emphasis on driving the demand for innovation and we’re glad that we can help innovators as they develop the right solution and put their ideas into practice.”

The Wellington UniVentures’ team including Matthew Nicholson and Peter Lai are also involved in helping a number of the NZHIH projects get off the ground. Our team are experts in health commercialisation – they help by bringing together their knowledge and understanding with other industry innovators to collaborate and have impact across the system. From an electronic resource to help improve ward processes, to tests which help predict the progression of disease, the role of Wellington UniVentures is to support more successful innovations coming into the health system.

Dr William Abbott has worked closely with Wellington UniVentures on his project to develop a non-invasive diagnostic blood test that can detect active liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). Dr Abbott says: “Commercialisation of innovations is a complex process and is outside the experience of most people wishing to develop a novel idea. The stages in this process that I could not have completed without substantial professional guidance included organising someone with the appropriate patent-writing expertise, navigating the international patent registration process, responding to patent reviews,  writing a realistic business plan, identifying appropriate local government and private funding opportunities, developing overseas contacts for carrying out clinical trials and licensing of the final product to an overseas business. NZHIH and Wellington UniVentures appointed experienced staff who successfully dealt with all these issues.”

With more opportunities and funding, the Wellington UniVentures team look forward to continuing to support NZHIH’s diverse portfolio.