Bench Side Story

Next Generation Condom Contraception, Dr Simon Cook

Dr. Simon Cook, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Operations at Eudaemon Technologies, has had a diverse and impactful career journey. Beginning with a background in biotechnology from the University of Wollongong, his focus on bacterial pathogenesis during his PhD led him to study Group A Strep and the streptokinase protein.

Subsequently, Dr. Cook ventured into a unique project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he became involved in the development of a next-generation condom to address existing issues such as feel, odour, and taste.

Next Generation Condom Contraception, Dr David Shepherd

Dr David Shepherd is a Lead Production Engineer and Materials Specialist at Eudaemon Technologies. His journey began at the University of Wollongong, where he pursued advanced studies and eventually obtained a PhD under the guidance of a distinguished professor. His research initially focused on actuating materials and artificial muscles, particularly centred around hydrogel materials. These early explorations have seamlessly evolved into his current focus on utilising hydrogels in the realm of sexual reproductive health, with a specific emphasis on developing innovative hydrogel condoms.

CASE STUDY Next Generation Condom Contraception 

Eudaemon Technologies, an early-stage medtech company with a focus on sexual reproductive health, is developing a hydrogel condom to address the need for a better feeling, next generation condom, with the potential to improve user experience and address issues with traditional latex condoms.

“Over 1 million STI’s being diagnosed every day and up to 120 million unplanned pregnancies every year result in a $60 billion health burden across the globe”, says Co-Founder and Executive Director of Operations, Dr Simon Cook.

Formed in 2018, the company focuses on developing tough hydrogels as an alternative to address issues with odour, colour, and taste commonly associated with latex condoms. This technology can be loaded with small molecule drugs for flavours or anti-STI compounds, and was developed in response to a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to address unplanned pregnancies and STIs.

Targeting chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer patients

Dr Alex Cole, from the Centenary Institute’s Centre for Biomedical AI, is now leading the research focused on developing a new treatment to counteract a protein called follistatin (FST), known for making ovarian cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy.

By employing cutting-edge molecular biology and directed evolution techniques, the project aims to create nanobodies—small, precise molecules—that can block FST. If successful, these nanobodies could enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy and improve ovarian cancer treatment rates.

Investigating invasive lobular carcinoma and metaplastic breast cancer sub-types

Assoc Prof McCart Reed is the scientific lead on an MRFF-funded (Medical Research Future Fund) genomics program investigating the potential for the application of Whole Genome Sequencing in the breast cancer care pathway in Australia, ‘Q-IMPROvE’. She applies genomics and spatial transcriptomics methodologies to archival clinical samples to understand the differences between tumour types and their potential for treatment. Amy is passionate about clinical research, biobanking and precision oncology. In addition to her breast cancer research portfolio, she is on the steering committee for the Brisbane Breast Bank and the Scientific Advisory Board for Breast Cancer Trials.

Understanding the experience of pain for novel brain-based treatments

Associate Professor Tasha Stanton leads the Persistent Pain Research Group at SAHMRI. She is also co-Director of IIMPACT in Health at the University of South Australia, Adelaide. She is a clinical pain neuroscientist, with original training as a physiotherapist, and her research focusses on pain – why do we have it and why doesn’t it go away?

Prescribing exercise to regional population with cardiovascular disease & diabetes

Associate Professor Gordon’s research is aimed at determining the optimal methods of prescribing and implementing exercise as part of the health care plan for people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Specifically, he is leading work to determine if and how the components of exercise can be considered as a whole for prescribing exercise to generate health benefits. This is important to overcome the series of barriers that people living in rural and regional areas experience when trying to become active.

Clinical guidelines for diagnostics and early intervention in Primary Aldosteronism

Primary Aldosteronism (PA), or Conn Syndrome, is the most commonly under-diagnosed cause of high blood pressure affecting millions of people. Associate Professor Jun Yang’s goal is to facilitate the diagnosis of every case of PA and make treatment widely available to all communities including the disadvantaged.

Health and economic burden of interstitial lung diseases

Dr Cox’s main research interests focus on respiratory diseases and primarily on the economic burden and economic evaluation of interventions and treatments for their management. She earned her PhD from the University of Tasmania where her doctoral research examined the health and economic burden of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in Australia, one component of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence for Pulmonary Fibrosis, a national project implemented alongside the Australian IPF Registry and the Lung Foundation Australia. This research provided the first epidemiological profile and first costing estimates of the economic burden of the disease in Australia, providing essential evidence for health service reimbursement policies.

Benefits of prehabilitation ahead of surgery

Dr Matthew Wallen PhD, AES, AEP is a Senior Research Fellow in Cancer Survivorship, the Deputy Lead of the Cancer Survivorship Program, and a Senior Lecturer in Exercise Science and Clinical Exercise Physiology within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University, in South Australia. His clinical interest focuses on improving outcomes for people requiring major surgery, specifically (1) lifestyle interventions, including exercise, nutritional, and psychological support to improve the health and wellbeing of people prior to surgery, termed ‘prehabilitation’, (2) novel physical function assessments aimed at identifying people at risk of treatment-related complications, and (3) implementation of new models of care in cancer.

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