As a young first-year student armed with curiosity and a passion for science, alumnus and DoseMe founder Dr Robert McLeay never dreamed that one day his IT solutions would improve patients’ quality of life and promote efficiencies in the hospital system.
No two patients are the same.
UQ graduate Dr Robert McLeay took this founding medical principle to heart when rethinking how to approach prescribing medication doses for hospital patients.
Dr McLeay is founder and Chief Technology Officer of DoseMe Pty Ltd, a Brisbane-based technology start-up, which came about thanks to a chance encounter over a few beers at a barbecue.
“One of my wife’s colleagues made a passing remark about spending hundreds of millions of dollars doing research to predict the outcome of specific dosages on patients,” Dr McLeay said.
“Then they said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do that in clinical practice?’.”
That conversation led to the development of DoseMe, the world’s first decision-supporting software that uses algorithms and mathematical modelling to construct a virtual avatar of a patient’s pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics – essentially, their individual metabolism and ability to absorb drugs. It can be used on a smartphone or tablet, and its portability allows doctors to calculate precise doses for each patient from their bedside.
A critical step in bringing the idea to fruition was bringing in Chief Executive Officer Charles Cornish, whose experience was the final puzzle piece to develop a partnering and commercialisation strategy.
DoseMe has now partnered with organisations such as Apotex, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturer Siemens, and other organisations and research centres, including UQ.
“Developing partnerships that not only help get you access to the markets that you want to, but also help you continue to build and improve your product, is critical,” Dr McLeay said.
“DoseMe has enjoyed several successes since its commercialisation, but one particularly encouraging outcome of our commercialisation has been heavy uptake in Slovenia as a tool for managing transplant medicine.
“Helping a patient keep a transplanted organ impacts the cost of the medical treatment, but it has a massive impact on their lives, too. That really is rewarding.”
Dr McLeay graduated from UQ with a Bachelor of Information Technology and Bachelor of Science (Honours) in 2006, before completing a Doctor of Philosophy (Bioinformatics) in 2011.
He credits UQ as an inspiring environment for a young student who had a passion for the emerging field of bioinformatics – an exciting and emerging field during his undergraduate studies, when sequencing the human genome was still being finalised.
“I thrived from having access to that traditional research university, where my lecturers were actually doing cutting-edge research into what I wanted to study.”
DoseMe is based close to UQ’s St Lucia campus, and maintaining engagement with the University provides many concrete benefits, such as research collaborations and a pool of graduates to hire from.
Dr McLeay said his immersive experience at UQ and the excellent relationships he formed with his college, lecturers and classmates also led to a long-lasting desire to give back.
He is actively involved in several boards and councils, such as the Emmanuel College Council and the Young Alumni Advisory Board, where he collaborates with other like-minded alumni and decision-makers, so that future generations of students and graduates can benefit from his experiences.
“In some ways, colleges are an ideal start-up incubator, in that you get a whole lot of talented people and you stick them in buildings to live together. In that environment, you make fantastic friends and have chance encounters all the time that are really valuable,” he said.
“The council and Young Alumni Advisory Board are ways of giving back to an organisation that I valued as a student. It’s a way I can engage with students and young alumni, to improve their experiences and keep them in contact with the University as well.”
To learn more about DoseMe, visit doseme.com.au.