A 31-year-old Brisbane entrepreneur who developed a smaller, stronger and cheaper screw to fix fractures has been given the approval to sell it in the US.
Dr Chris Jeffery can now add US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for his medical micro screw to his list of accolades, which includes the 2018 QUT Young Alumnus of the Year and the 2017 Lord Mayor Young Business Person of the Year.
Field Orthopaedics chief executive Dr Jeffery said the response to the product in the US was overwhelming and proved Australian products were not just competitive, but also world leading on the international stage.
“Our initial orders of the product from 15 US states have been encouraging and we expect that by the end of the calendar year we will easily make back our initial investment,” he said.
“According to our US distributors, the United States is the largest target market for medical devices, with an estimated global market share of around 45 per cent.”
It took Dr Jeffery less than 18 months to develop the product, and for less than $600,000. A study from Stanford University said that, on average, it costs medical-device makers of similar micro screws 31 months and about $39 million to develop the product.
Dr Jeffery started his professional career as an electrical and computer engineer, before he became an army officer. He was deployed to the Middle East in 2009.
When he returned, he studied medicine and underwent executive business training before commencing his PhD in bionics.
Dr Jeffery said the Field Micro Screw was a smaller and stronger screw that could be inserted over wires for faster and more accurate repairs.
“The reality is that millions of people undergo operations every day,” he said.
“To create products that have the potential to radically improve the outcomes of those operations based on our research, development and creation with world-renowned surgical experts for a lot less cost and timeframe than traditional methods are both a medical and a business model game-changer.”
Dr Jeffery said he sought FDA approval ahead of approval in Australia through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) because it would take a longer time to get approval in Australia.