Business & invest
World-class medtech start-ups shift operations to coast
Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct | September 20, 2021
The Texas-based business behind the world’s first rotary artificial heart, a novel surgical laser company from San Francisco, and a Netherlands blockchain tech company, are set to base their operations on the Gold Coast.
Investment attraction incentives endorsed by City of Gold Coast, together with strong research collaboration opportunities at Griffith University, helped attract the companies into the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct (GCHKP), where they join a growing cluster of medical, health and digital technology businesses.
BiVACOR, founded by biomedical engineer and CEO Daniel Timms and headquartered in Houston Texas, has based its international office and software, electronic hardware, and blood compatibility R&D in the Precinct to continue collaboration with Griffith University’s world-class Mechanobiology Research Laboratory.
Precise Light Surgical (PLS) will base its CEO, Australian R&D and commercial team in the Precinct and plans to roll-out Australian manufacture of its patented Optical Scalpel (O-Pel™) system that precisely removes selected tissue while sparing surrounding nerves and blood vessels.
ASX-listed TYMLEZ, operating in the Netherlands and Germany, offers enterprise-grade blockchain solutions with a focus on clean energy sustainability, along with opportunities to develop healthcare products that rely on secure, trackable and traceable data transfer.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the GCHKP provided the perfect place for innovative companies to scale-up and grow knowledge-based jobs for the city.
“These companies are in the growth industries of the future and will build the ecosystem of innovation that is developing in the Precinct alongside Griffith University and the hospitals,” Mayor Tate said.
Griffith University Vice Chancellor Professor Carolyn Evans, who joined Mayor Tate to view the BiVACOR artificial heart being tested for optimum blood-flow, said industry co-location was critical to taking research out of the lab and providing jobs for graduates.
“There is an increasing focus on linking university research with industry for commercial outcomes and social impact,” Professor Evans said.
BiVACOR CEO Daniel Timms said the company, which has recently raised a further $22 million to develop its device as a viable alternative to transplantation for end-stage heart failure, was confident in the opportunity on the Gold Coast for successful research translation, and a smooth pathway to bringing the technology to the first Australian patients.
Precise Light Surgical CEO Richard Nash, an experienced medical technology executive with more than 10 years in management with industry giant Medtronic, said support from City of Gold Coast enhanced the attractiveness of the local Medtech ecosystem as an Asia Pacific base, working alongside their global headquarters in Silicon Valley.
“The GCHKP offers a unique opportunity for medical device companies, in having major hospitals and a reputable university. Combined with all resources within Southeast Queensland, the region provides everything required to establish and commercially scale a technology company.
TYMLEZ CEO Daniel O’Halloran, said local connections and support, together with its growing Australian investment base, were key drivers to shift the Rotterdam based company’s global headquarters down-under.
“Our software is designed to create enterprise-grade solutions that can build and manage blockchain-based ecosystems as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible, replacing traditional databases with decentralised records that can’t be disputed,” Mr O’Halloran said.
“After coming back from the US where we work very closely with the world-renowned Texas Heart Institute, to see the expansion of this area was really attractive for us to bring our technology back to work with a world-leading laboratory at Griffith, which didn’t exist when we started almost 20 years ago,” Mr Timms said.
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