Nanotechnology and artificial intelligence are becoming crucial driving forces behind innovation in medicine and healthcare. Many Australian firms are working in collaboration with some of the world leading nanotechnology laboratories and companies to make a positive difference to people’s lives.
ESN (Endothelium Scanning Nanotechnology) Nanotech is one of those firms. Based in Melbourne, Victoria, ESN Nanotech has been and continues to test the boundaries of available technologies to help prevent the top 10 deadliest diseases.
The ESN story is an example of the booming Australia start-up ecosystem and where Australian universities are jumping in. Large research institutes are incentivised by the Government through grants to partner with small and medium-sized enterprises. ESN Nanotech is working with a number of major local and international universities in helping build their technology.
Leo de Bruin is Founder, CEO and Managing Director of ESN Nanotech. The South African native immigrated to Australia about 8 years ago and spoke with Watermark about his journey. Mr de Bruin recognised early in his career that true innovation and entrepreneurship were not found working in big corporates and that he wanted to create something that makes a positive impact to people’s lives. The innovation chosen was nanotechnology.
According to Mr de Bruin, nanotechnology has come a long way, since experiencing a slight boom in 2012. Believing that if he was going to make a difference in people’s lives, two prerequisites were required: an emotional connection needed to be established and the innovation needed be something that people are very serious about.
With a drive to make the ”biggest difference in the medical space” using nanotechnology, Mr de Bruin decided to target the top 10 deadliest diseases.
The ESN Nanotech technology is highly focused on early and accurate detection of a number of diseases. Obtaining feedback from medical professionals assists in understanding the clinical side, which is key to assessing the success and improving the accuracy of this technology. The current focus for the ESN Nanotech team is the introduction of a saliva platform through the implementation of home testing devices. Detection through the platform of tears and sweat are also planned.
Mr de Bruin is well qualified to discuss the merits of capturing IP and the value of a good patent attorney, who not only understands the technology, but also provides a commercial and strategic point of view.
“Intellectual Property is like a lock on a drawer. If you have the lock there it makes it a lot harder for others to break the lock. The patent isn’t necessarily fool proof but at least it deters companies from competing with you. Once you protect your IP, other companies may hesitate and not research further to take what you’ve got. It will probably never 100% protect it, but it scares enough people away that they go ‘no, hold on, these guys know what they’re doing, they’re working with Watermark and they will protect the business and revenue model.’” says Mr de Bruin.
Mr De Bruin conducted extensive research when selecting an IP provider, searching online and through LinkedIn for people who had strong experience in medical devices, computer science and artificial intelligence.
“James Wan popped up. I started talking to him and I liked his approach. Watermark definitely stands out as the IP firm to deal with. I don’t think there are many that stand next to Watermark in terms of patents and IP advice. From the start, handpicked and now it’s become a lot more than just ‘file this application for me’, it’s commercially relevant advice, it’s truly a partnership working together towards a common goal.”
Watermark’s James Wan advises ESN Nanotech on both patents, designs and other IP related advice.
In giving advice to others considering protecting their IP, Mr de Bruin states “if you’re serious about locking your future in for your investors and entire business use the best. The value it provides you, there is no reason why anyone should go second best. Don’t pick second best partners if you don’t want to be second best.”
Mr De Bruin commented that he has been fortunate in his journey so far. Whilst the ‘honeymoon period’ is not yet over, the strength of the firm has been attributed to making smart decisions in partnerships. Working with “likeminded people who believe in what you are doing” are the key to success.
Further information can be found at ESN Nanotech’s LinkedIn
James Wan, Senior Associate, Patent & Trade Marks Attorney & Lawyer