22 October 2004

A device that helps tackle debilitating back pain has taken out the UQ Business School’s $100,000 Enterprize business commercialisation competition.

BakBalls is empowering back pain sufferers to regain control of their lives with a new self-treatment device that is delivering revolutionary results.

Widely recognised as the fastest growing musculoskeletal disability in Australia, back pain costs Australian society $10 billion each year in medical bills and lost productivity.

BakBalls team leader Mr Mark Alexander said he was thrilled to have won the $100,000 cash prize, which would enable him to release the device to the public by January 2005.

“We’re very close to taking BakBalls to market,” Mr Alexander said.

“The $100,000 prize will go towards production and marketing costs, and help us get the product out to health care professionals for distribution to their patients.”

A sports physiotherapist for the Australian Olympic Triathlon Team, Mr Alexander developed the spinal manipulation device to suit the anatomical shape of the spine and exert pressure directly on to the painful muscles and joints, providing relief of symptoms

The easy-to-use device requires no effort and can be used every day lying on the floor while watching TV or reading a book.

“At this stage, we haven’t seen one patient that hasn’t had significant improvement after using the treatment device,” Mr Alexander said.

“The potential savings for patients, as well as society are massive.”

BakBalls was joined on the winners stage by Runner-Up BioQ Devices, a Queensland company that received the award for its development of the Walsh Stent Graft and supporting technology. The technology aims to improve treatment outcomes for patients suffering heart failure and aortic aneurysms.

Dr Peter Walsh, inventor of the Walsh Stent Graft, said that millions of people worldwide could benefit from the device.

“Across USA, Europe, Japan and Australia, 10 million people suffer from heart failure and it is growing at 10 percent each year, consuming more than USD$30 billion in treatment costs,” Dr Walsh said.

Designed to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop business plans and compete for prize money to commercialise their business dreams, Enterprize is a “passport to getting business ideas of the ground”.

Pitch Day 2004, staged last night at the UQ Centre, The University of Queensland, saw the culmination of the teams` zealous business plan preparations when they pitched their business concepts to a judging panel of experienced venture capitalists.

Media: For further information, contact Karissa Douglass (telephone 07 3367 1220, mobile: 0410 642 027) or the UQ Business School (07 3365 6179).