3 August 2023 | Media Release
Australia’s flagship deep tech incubator Cicada Innovations is expanding with the opening of a health-focused incubator at one of Australia’s largest health and biomedical research precincts, the Westmead Health and Innovation District, and supported by a grant from Investment NSW.
The incubator will be the first health-focused incubator funded by the NSW government to support pre-revenue health-tech startups in bridging the gap between research and commercialisation, and helping to bring life-changing research with real-world patient outcomes to the market sooner.
Investment NSW CEO Katie Knight said the new Westmead Biomedical Incubator will deliver jobs and better medical care for the world.
“With more than 20 years' experience, Cicada Innovations was the best choice to lead this effort,” Ms Knight said.
“With the right incentives, NSW startups can deliver real-world patient outcomes to the market sooner, and that means everyone in NSW wins.
“Specialists in medical technology including cell and gene therapy, cancer research, infectious diseases, immunology, and vaccines will all benefit from working within this inclusive ecosystem in the heart of the Westmead Health precinct.”
The incubator will act as a landing pad for project and research teams, as well as startups wanting support, space, and time to discover the commercial potential of their idea and find support to translate them.
It will also establish a strong foundation to grow hi-tech health jobs in Western Sydney, create improved health outcomes, and boost Westmead as a leading health innovation precinct.
In addition to commercialisation support and dedicated space in the incubator, located inside Westmead’s Innovation Quarter, health tech companies will have facilitated access to the range of facilities and connections available in the broader Westmead precinct.
The precinct is home to four hospitals, two university campuses, two large research institutes, NSW’s largest pathology service, and allied health centres. It provides more than 18,000 high value jobs, accommodating 3,400 students, and is expected to grow to more than 50,000 jobs and 10,000 students by 2036.
Cicada Innovations will deliver a series of health-focused programs alongside Australasia’s leading life science VC firm, Brandon Capital, which will provide membership for Westmead institutions.
Brandon Capital will also play a role in supporting commercial outcomes through participation in Cicada's commercialisation programs, mentoring, and support for innovators in the precinct.
Cicada Innovations has a proven 23-year track record of nurturing deep tech startups, including successfully delivering NSW Health’s largest Commercialisation Training Program for the past nine years to over 2500 researchers and innovators.
At the new incubator, Cicada Innovations will offer health-tech residents early-stage incubation, capacity building programs, and links to institutional capital, mentoring, expertise, and support, connecting startups to the existing ecosystem and accelerating the commercialisation process.
Sally-Ann Williams, CEO of Cicada Innovations, said: “New South Wales, and Western Sydney in particular, has all the elements of a world leading innovation precinct already in place. Cicada Innovations is delighted to be a bridge between health-focused startups and all the support that the surrounding ecosystem can provide. We’re incredibly proud and grateful for this opportunity to extend our expertise and knowledge to startups seeking to improve health globally.”
Dr Chris Nave, CEO of Brandon BioCatalyst, said: “We are looking forward to working closely with researchers and clinical innovators at the Westmead Health and Innovation District to provide funding and expertise to help translate their research discoveries into improved health outcomes for patients, and at the same time create high-value jobs and income for the state’s economy.”
The opening of the third incubator follows the recent announcement of a second, Melbourne-based, incubator delivered by Cicada Innovations in partnership with CSL, WEHI, and The University of Melbourne.
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Cicada Innovations (www.cicadainnovations.com) is the home of deep tech in Australia. The Sydney-based incubator with a twenty-one year track record of developing deep tech ventures tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Working at the forefront of innovation, it supports ventures seeking to create life-changing technology – applying cutting-edge science such as advanced materials, synthetic biology and AI to challenges like the future of human health, food security and the climate crisis.
Since inception, Cicada has seen an unprecedented $1.3 billion in exits from six deep tech ventures in the last two decades, and helped over 330 companies to raise more than $1.7 billion in funding. It has twice been awarded ‘Top Incubator in the World’ by InBIA, and delivered commercialisation training to thousands working in science & technology.
Brandon Capital (www.brandoncapital.vc) is Australasia’s leading life science venture capital firm, with a strong global presence supported by key partnerships and team members across the US and UK. From early-stage seed investment through to expansion capital, Brandon Capital supports life science companies from proof-of-concept through to commercialisation.
Managed by Brandon Capital, Brandon BioCatalyst (www.brandonbiocatalyst.com) is a unique collaboration of over 50 leading medical research institutes, investors, and government united by a single purpose to progress the next generation of medical therapies and technology which improve health and save lives. To date over 50 companies, backed by Brandon Capital, have been spun out of BioCatalyst members.