16 AUGUST 2022

Life-saving health technology developed in Brisbane is set to be fast-tracked to the global stage under a new Brisbane Economic Development Agency initiative.

MedTech in Brisbane

The search is now on for ten Brisbane-based MedTech companies to partner with international investors under the new accelerator program.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the initiative will further the city’s global reputation for innovation in world-class healthcare technology. 

“We have some of the brightest minds here in Brisbane and the incredible work coming out of our state-of-the-art health institutes and research facilities is quite literally life changing,” Cr Schrinner said.

“By facilitating global connections, these companies could secure funding that would usually take years in just a matter of months, fast-tracking better resources and new jobs for Brisbane.”

The announcement follows six months of industry consultation with leading research institutes and peak bodies, including Life Sciences Queensland (LSQ).

LSQ Chair Christine Williams said the local industry had experienced “remarkable growth” thanks to success stories like Microba, Vaxxas and Ellume.

“Australia has had a long and successful history of being an innovative country with a track record of excellence in translation and commercialisation of medical technologies,” Dr Williams said.

“To me, however, Queensland is home to some of the most exciting innovations.”

Participants will also benefit from mentorship of global giants like Stryker - a US-based producer of medical innovations with a market capitalisation of $82 billion.

The accelerator will culminate with the opportunity to pitch to international investors in San Francisco next January.

Program facilitator, US-based Life Science Nation CEO Dennis Ford said this was the firm’s first collaboration with an Australian agency.

“The world is watching Brisbane's MedTech community thrive, and we are thrilled to participate in its growth in bringing life-saving innovation to the global market,” Mr Ford said.

“Tentativeness can make or break early-stage ventures, and this program will help promising businesses build the tools and confidence to approach some of the most active early-stage life science investors in the world and stand out in this competitive environment.”

The biomedical sector already supports more than 12,400 Queensland jobs and contributes $2.11 billion a year to the state economy with over 100 health and biotech facilities based in Brisbane.

Major discoveries by local scientists, including the world’s first cancer vaccine – Gardasil – have established Brisbane’s reputation globally.

Professor Scott Bell, CEO of the Translational Research Institute said Brisbane MedTech was entering a crucial stage for growth.

“Rather than licensing IP offshore where much of the potential revenue is lost, universities and research institutes are spinning out companies for local commercialisation,” Professor Bell said.

“We have a developing ecosystem, with a number of very successful ventures based within TRI. As a next step we need to be able to take those early-stage companies into scale-up situations.”

The new accelerator has also been supported by local success stories like Microba, a gut bacteria analysis platform that has raised $65 million in funding and is delivering health solutions globally.

Microba CEO Luke Reid said the program would help set up the next generation of companies for success, with tools to secure funding well into the future. 

“Brisbane is a fantastic place to seed and grow MedTech companies, with access to major hospital networks, world class research facilities, top tier university talent and the outstanding lifestyle that Brisbane affords,” Dr Reid said.

“A well-equipped MedTech accelerator is integral to bridging the path to international investment and market access for early-stage ventures.”

David Hoey, CEO of Vaxxas, said he was proud to be commercialising needle-free vaccine technology that was born out of research from Brisbane.

“The city has a highly skilled workforce, stable regulatory frameworks, and manufacturing capability,” Mr Hoey said.

“You don’t find that in many places, and it gives investors comfort. If you’re an innovator with an idea in biotech and MedTech, you couldn’t be in a better place.

Scientist at Vaxxass Brisbane