$65 million CSL-backed biotech incubator on the hunt for Aussie start-ups


A new biotech incubator in Melbourne, the Jumar Bioincubator, operated by Cicada Innovations, has put a call-out to early stage start-ups looking to scale their ventures.
Science concept; Experimental scientists in chemical laboratory. Development and scientific research in laboratory
Key Takeaways
  • A new biotech incubator, Jumar Bioincubator, located in Melbourne is calling for early-stage start-ups to take up residency.
  • The biotechnology industry was estimated to be worth US$1.37 trillion in 2022, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 14% from 2023 to 2030.
  • Biotech is becoming a major area of focus for venture capital firms, a Cut Through Ventures’ Q1 funding report reveals

The Jumar Bioincubator, which cost $30 million to build in Melbourne’s Biomedical Precinct, is backed by $65 million in industry and government investments.

Founding partners, $136 billion biotech company, CSL, The University of Melbourne and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, have committed $45 million over 10 years, while Breakthrough Victoria, which manages the Victorian Government’s $2 billion investment fund, contributed an initial investment of $25 million.

The incubator is now on the hunt for early stage start-ups to take up residency in its facility, which claims to be a “first home” for young biotech ventures, with affordable lab facilities and office spaces as well as practical support.

It comes off the back of a report by Sydney-based deep-tech incubator, Cicada Innovations, which found that start-ups that received incubator support are 85% more likely to reach the 5-year mark (compared to a survival rate of 30-50% of standalone startups over the same time period). Average annual growth of incubated startups was 55% per year compared to 30% for those working standalone.

Jumar Bionincubator, which gets its name from the “jumar” mountaineering technique where climbers receive the support necessary to scale mountains, aims to boost innovation in the burgeoning biotech sector.

The global biotechnology market size was estimated to be worth US$1.37 trillion in 2022, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 14% from 2023 to 2030, according to GrandView Research.

According to the research, COVID-19 was a major propeller for the industry, leading to a rise in opportunities and advancements for drug development and manufacturing of vaccines for the disease.

The Melbourne Biomedical Precinct is home to more than 40 hospitals, and the Jumar Bioincubator will be located across two floors of biotech giant CSL’s new global HQ and centre for research and development, when it opens in September. It will be led by general manager Camille Shanahan, who’s been in the industry for over 15 years.

Camille Shanahan, general manager of Jumar Bioincubator. Image source: Supplied

“To transition from a biotech start-up to a commercial success requires shifts in capabilities, processes, mindset as well as access to capital,” Dr Andrew Nash, chief scientific officer and senior vice president of research at CSL, says.

“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.”

Biotech is becoming a major area of focus for venture capital firms. Cut Through Ventures’ Q1 funding report revealed Biotechnology was the fifth-most invested in sector, after being off the radar entirely in the same time period in 2022.

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