Synthetic tissue BioTech completes pre-seed capital raise

Brandon How

Brisbane-based startup Gelomics, which technology to support the cultivation of synthetic tissue, has completed a $2.2 million pre-seed capital raise with the support of local investors, including the state-owned Queensland Investment Corporation.

Gelomics’ 3D tissue culture system lets scientists grow small representations of human tissue on lab-sized equipment, from heart tissue to tumour tissue. The technology is suited to pharmaceutical drug development, helping to reduce the need for animal testing.

The pre-seed round was led by Sydney-based early-stage investor Jelix Ventures alongside entrepreneurship supporter AngelLoop and the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC).

QIC’s investment comes out of the $24 million Enterprise Acceleration Fund which makes individual investments of between $500,000 and $2.5 million.

Dr Christoph Meinert. Image: QUT

The firm was co-founded in 2018 by chief executive Dr Christoph Meinert and chief operating officer Peter Levett as a spin off from the Queensland University of Technology’s Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing.

Dr Meinert said the company’s technology improves the reliability of preclinical studies, reducing costs and replacing the need for animal testing.

“Over 200 million animals are euthanised for research and drug development every year, despite over 90 per cent of drug candidates failing in human trials after successful animal testing,” Dr Meinert said.

“This technology is not just a leap forward in terms of innovation; it is a paradigm shift towards creating life-like human tissue models in the lab, which are scalable to industrial requirements and fully compatible with current automated systems.

“The impact of this technology extends beyond accelerating drug development timelines – it promises substantial reductions in the costs and ethical concerns associated with traditional research and development methodologies.

Gelomics has more than 250 returning customers across 22 international markets, with a “demo-to-sales conversion rate exceeding 80 per cent,” according to QIC.

The latest investment will drive Gelomics’ market expansion and help create 70 jobs over the next five years.

QIC Private Equity Investment director Patrick Christiansen said Gelomics’ technology could overcome some of the limitations of traditional cell culture solutions and lower costs of drug development.

“This investment allows Gelomics to capitalise on these sector headwinds and position themselves as an emerging leader in the transformation of the pharmaceutical industry,” Mr Christiansen said.

“The QIC Ventures team has been impressed with the deep technical expertise of the founding group, and importantly, their commercial nous and experience which compliments this.

Mr Christiansen said QIC is “backing Gelomics’ vision to become the new gold standard adopted by laboratories around the world and the jobs this will create for Queensland”.

Gelomics has also previously received support through Trade and Investment Queensland’s Go Global Export Program and the Cooperative Research Centre Projects program.

The federal government’s National Reconstruction Fund has earmarked $1.5 billion for the manufacture of medical devices, digital health solutions and innovative therapeutics.

The NRF Corporation released a Medical Science Co-investment Plan in mid-April to guide investment in businesses looking to commercialise technologies and generate returns.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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