Mini brains and lab-on-a-chip wearables: Jumar Bioincubator officially begins its mission to build “Australia’s next CSL”

Australia’s newest biotech incubator Jumar Bioincubator has officially opened its doors and revealed the first 16 innovative early-stage ventures to take up residency in its much-awaited Melbourne-based facility at an event officiated by Lord Mayor, Sally Capp AO.

The state-of-the-art facilities, infrastructure, and support offered by Jumar creates a world-class hub for biotech innovation translation, research commercialisation, and talent development that will help to progress discoveries towards real-world patient treatments.

It aims to build “Australia’s next CSL” by capitalising on the talent and capabilities of the local biotech research community to support the next homegrown global success story, and create a critical mass of entrepreneurial-skilled scientists who have the ability to run successful biotech companies.

The official opening on 16 April 2024 was hosted by founding partners CSLWEHI, and The University of Melbourne (UoM), as well as initial investor Breakthrough Victoria and operator Cicada Innovations.

VIP guests, including biotech leaders from across government, academia, business, and research, were introduced to a number of “born global” biotech residents working on health issues across pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, bioinformatics, health-related AI and more:

  • Denteric is developing a therapeutic vaccine for the one billion people (one third of all adults) globally suffering from periodontal gum disease – a disease that is also associated with diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, and certain cancers. Investment from Brandon Capital, CSL, and UoM is now funding the development of safe and convenient periodontitis treatments that are much less painful, more reliable, and more effective.
  • Ovulation bio-sensing startup Symex Labs has developed a wearable “lab-on-a-chip” solution that provides continuous “set-and-forget” monitoring of hormones to more conveniently and effectively predict ovulation for people wanting to conceive. It is also now developing a biosensor-based home-use device to replace blood tests associated with IVF treatments. This could have an incredible impact on the 17.5 percent of the global adult population – roughly 1 in 6 worldwide – that experiences infertility.
  • Tessara Therapeutics is creating “mini brains” in test tubes through 3D neural micro-tissues that mimic the human brain and offer all the essential requirements for drug discovery, including dense and heterogeneous neural networks, compatibility with high-throughput automation, short generation time, and high optical clarity. This will help to fast-track the ability to find cures for neurodivergent diseases like dementia, an affliction currently expected to almost double every 20 years to reach around 139 million people globally in 2050.

By supporting the next generation of biotech startups bringing innovative health solutions like these to market, Jumar is enabling the research translation that will ensure Australia’s world-leading research results in real-world patient outcomes.

Dr Andrew Nash, Chief Scientific Officer, SVP Head of Research, at CSL said: “Successfully translating medical research into new therapies or technologies can be a long and arduous process. As a home-grown success story that is a leader on the global stage, CSL recognises our responsibility and is deeply committed to supporting the promising young biotechs coming out of Australia. Together with our partners at WEHI and the University of Melbourne we are delighted to offer this support from CSL’s Global Headquarters in Melbourne, and hope to foster the development of more great companies in the future.”

Professor Alan Cowman AC, Acting Director at WEHI, said: “By nurturing the next wave of biotech entrepreneurs, Jumar Bioincubator is helping to take the most exciting ideas out of research laboratories and into the world, for the benefit of our communities. Jumar bridges a key gap in our biomedical ecosystem, with world-class research facilities and expert commercialisation support to empower our scientist-entrepreneurs. We need to accelerate the translation of innovative Australian discoveries into the new treatments, diagnostics and devices that can have the greatest impact on global human health – and Jumar is a vital step forward for this.”

Ken Jefferd, Managing Director of Research, Innovation & Commercialisation at UoM, said: “Deep collaboration between academics, research institutes, industry, investors, government, and innovation ecosystem partners such as CSL, WEHI and the University of Melbourne is key to increasing our impact from research on a global scale. Today’s launch of the new Jumar Bioincubator is a great example of how we’re continuing to evolve support to our world-class researchers here in Melbourne, as they address some of the world’s biggest challenges and make people’s lives better.”

Sally-Ann Williams, CEO of Cicada Innovations, said: “Australia is the birthplace of a wide variety of transformative household-name medical innovations, such as the ultrasound, pacemakers, spray-on skin, the cochlear implant, the cervical cancer vaccine, and more. We must continue to facilitate research commercialisation and translation in these critical fields, by providing biomedical scientists and researchers with access to the knowledge and skills needed to build ‘born global’ biotech companies right here on shore. We are proud to be working with three of Victoria’s most distinguished entities spanning industry, research, and academia to help catalyse growth in commercial biotech outcomes for Australia and, in turn, the world.”

Grant Dooley, CEO of Breakthrough Victoria, said: “Breakthrough Victoria supports innovations that enable industries to create sovereign capability and jobs by mobilising intellectual property for the good of Victoria. Through the launch of the Jumar Bioincubator, Victoria has taken another giant step towards becoming one of the great globally recognised hubs for biotechnology development and commercialisation. At Breakthrough Victoria, we believe in the power of capital and its ability to positively impact people’s lives and the planet, which is why we invest in and support the ideas, businesses and products that can change lives for the better and generate a positive social and environmental impact for all.”

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Jumar media contact: Laura Morelli (+61 480 097 479, [email protected])

CSL media contact: Kim O’Donohue (+61 449 884 603, [email protected])

 

Jumar Bioincubator is Australia’s first and only biotech incubator co-located with a leading biopharmaceutical company in a world-class biomedical precinct. Its mission is to create a world-class hub for innovation translation, research commercialisation and talent development in biotechnology, with a critical mass of entrepreneur-skilled scientists who have the knowledge and confidence to run successful biomed and biotech companies. Jumar was established by three of Victoria’s most distinguished entities spanning industry, research and academia – CSL, WEHI and the University of Melbourne. Together, with backing from innovation investor Breakthrough Victoria and operator Cicada Innovations, their unrivalled legacy in the Australian biomedical landscape sets the tone for what’s possible for the next generation of biotech startups.

CSL (ASX:CSL; USOTC:CSLLY) is a global biotechnology company with a dynamic portfolio of lifesaving medicines, including those that treat haemophilia and immune deficiencies, vaccines to prevent influenza, and therapies in iron deficiency and nephrology. Since our start in 1916, we have been driven by our promise to save lives using the latest technologies. Today, CSL – including our three businesses: CSL Behring, CSL Seqirus and CSL Vifor – provides lifesaving products to patients in more than 100 countries and employs more than 32,000 people. Our unique combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the fullest. For inspiring stories about the promise of biotechnology, visit CSLBehring.com/Vita and follow us on Twitter.com/CSL. For more information about CSL, visit www.CSL.com.

The University of Melbourne is a global leader in higher education where brilliant minds come together to address important questions and tackle grand challenges. We equip our students with a future-facing education personalised around their ambitions, enriched by global perspectives and embedded in a collaborative research culture. As active citizens and future leaders, they represent our greatest contribution to the world. We engage our communities to ensure that education and research is inspired by need and for the benefit of society. In this, we remain true to our purpose and will fulfil our mission as a public-spirited institution dedicated to the principles of fairness, equality and excellence in everything we do.

WEHI is where the world’s brightest minds collaborate and innovate to make life-changing scientific discoveries that help people live healthier for longer. Our medical researchers have been serving the community for more than 100 years, making transformative discoveries in cancers, infectious and immune diseases, developmental disorders, and healthy ageing. WEHI brings together diverse and creative people with different experience and expertise to solve some of the world’s most complex health problems. With partners across science, health, government, industry, and philanthropy, we are committed to long-term discovery, collaboration and translation. At WEHI, we are brighter together. Find out more at www.wehi.edu.au

Cicada Innovations (www.cicadainnovations.com) was founded in Sydney, and has a 24-year track record of developing deep tech ventures that tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. Cicada’s national incubators, commercialisation training, and community brings together the entrepreneurs, scientists, business leaders, and policymakers to solve complex challenges with deep tech like the future of human health, food security and the climate crisis. Cicada has seen an unprecedented $1.3 billion in exits from six deep tech ventures, and has helped over 400 companies raise more than $2.5 billion in funding. Named the ‘Top Incubator in the World’ by the International Business Innovation Association.

Breakthrough Victoria is an independent investment company established in 2021 to manage the Victorian Government’s Breakthrough Victoria Fund. Breakthrough Victoria invests in innovation for impact, supporting companies to commercialise new technologies that will create jobs and investment in Victoria and have a positive impact on people’s lives. Learn more at breakthroughvictoria.com.

 

SOURCE: https://newsroom.csl.com/2024-04-18-Jumar-Bioincubator-Release

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