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News & Trends - Biotechnology

Industry-academic partnership fuels launch of new biotech incubator

Health Industry Hub | June 26, 2023 |

Biotech News: A new biotech incubator has announced its grand opening and is actively seeking innovative early-stage Australian biotech companies to become residents of its highly anticipated Melbourne-based facility. Jumar Bioincubator is backed by a formidable line-up of founding partners, including global biotech leader CSL, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), University of Melbourne, and Breakthrough Victoria.

Drawing inspiration from the mountaineering technique known as “jumar,” which assists climbers in scaling and ascending challenging peaks, Jumar Bioincubator aims to be the catalyst that helps biotech entrepreneurs reach new heights of success. With an initial investment of $25 million from Breakthrough Victoria and an estimated total of $45 million over ten years from its founding partners, this biotech haven is poised to make a significant impact on research translation and the commercialisation of medical breakthroughs.

Cicada Innovations, renowned for its expertise in supporting deep tech startups, has been appointed as the operator of Jumar Bioincubator. Their report reveals that startups receiving incubator support have an astounding 85% 5-year survival rate and experience accelerated growth trajectories of up to 40% compared to standalone entities.

Setting itself apart from other incubators, Jumar is the first and only biotech incubator in Australia co-located with a leading biopharmaceutical company within a world-class biomedical precinct. Come September, Jumar Bioincubator will open its doors across two floors of CSL’s new Global Headquarters and Centre for R&D in the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, marking a pivotal moment in Australia’s biotech landscape. The incubator will focus on supporting businesses in various sectors, including pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, digital health, bioinformatics, and health-oriented AI.

What sets Jumar Bioincubator apart is its commitment to the success and independence of the resident biotech companies. Unlike many other incubators, Jumar Bioincubator allows biotechs to retain 100% of their intellectual property (IP) and operate without any equity ties to the three founding partners. This emphasis on autonomy encourages residents to refine their commercial focus and develop into thriving biotech enterprises.

The incubator boasts an impressive array of offerings, including specialist facilities at startup-friendly prices, self-contained laboratories enclosed in physical containment (PC2) wet-labs, support facilities, office spaces, and access to bulk purchasing power for laboratory consumables. Additionally, Jumar Bioincubator provides preferential access to the unique platform technologies of WEHI and the University of Melbourne, along with reliable facility management and curated activities.

Leading the charge as the newly-appointed General Manager is Camille Shanahan, a seasoned professional with over 15 years of clinical, scientific, and commercialisation experience in the biopharma sector. Her expertise, combined with Jumar Bioincubator’s cutting-edge facilities, promises to unlock the full potential of resident biotech start-ups.

Sally-Ann Williams, CEO of Cicada Innovations, expressed her enthusiasm for Jumar Bioincubator’s potential to drive growth and commercial biotech outcomes in Australia. With Camille’s passion for nurturing the biotechnology industry, Jumar Bioincubator is set to cultivate a thriving community that connects to a larger biotech ecosystem nationwide.

Dr Andrew Nash, Chief Scientific Officer and SVP Head of Research at CSL, emphasised the importance of transitioning biotech startups into commercial successes. He said “Jumar Bioincubator residents, based at CSL’s Global Headquarters and Centre for R&D, will receive hands-on support and work near a large and focused CSL R&D team. Aligned to our promise to patients, we are looking forward to supporting the resident biotech start-ups as they navigate the translation of their promising medical research into new treatments and therapies.”

Professor Doug Hilton AO, Director at WEHI, highlighted the crucial role Jumar Bioincubator will play in accelerating scientific discoveries for the benefit of communities. By providing essential support to scientist-entrepreneurs, Jumar Bioincubator will propel their groundbreaking discoveries to the next stage of development at an accelerated pace.

Professor Jim McCluskey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Melbourne, underscored the significance of the Jumar Bioincubator in translating medical research into inventions and commercial outcomes that benefit society. Situated within the Melbourne Medical Precinct, the incubator opens up immense opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

Grant Dooley, CEO of Breakthrough Victoria, commented “By providing the infrastructure, expertise and support founders need through the Jumar Bioincubator, we’re investing in the next generation of company founders. It will help build a pipeline of investment opportunities in local innovation that can be developed in Victoria to improve people’s lives and create jobs and investment in the state.”

With its world-class facilities, strategic partnerships, and unwavering commitment to the success of resident start-ups, Jumar Bioincubator is positioned to become a global hub for innovation translation, research commercialisation, and talent development for aspiring biotech entrepreneurs.

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