Thursday, May 19, 2022

CSIRO’s VC Fund Main Sequence Supports Biotech Startups in a New UNSW Accelerator

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The University of NSW’s entrepreneurship program, UNSW Founders, will launch a new venture-backed accelerator for deep-tech startups focused on synthetic biology and biotech, with support from Main Sequence, the VC arm of the CSIRO.

SynBio 10x will perform in combination with the RNA Institute and UNSW School of Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences. Main Sequence will invest $120,000 in each startup in the accelerator program, promising that the VC will look at further investments after the program for high-performing startups. UNSW Founders will also invest an additional $20,000 in each startup in the cohort.

The SynBio program will run in two phases: as a pre-accelerator and then as an accelerator.

Registrations close on May 15 this year. An initial 15 teams will be shortlisted for a due diligence phase before six startups are chosen and given full-time access to labs at UNSW’s new $250 million biotechnology facility.

David Burt, Head of Entrepreneurship at UNSW

UNSW Director of Entrepreneurship David Burt said: The SynBio industry has already proven that it can help solve some of the world’s biggest problems in food, agriculture, health and medicine.

The CSIRO’s National Synthetic Biology Roadmap estimates that the industry will be worth $27 billion annually by 2040.

Burt said SynBio 10x aims to help Australia realize this potential by giving researchers and scientists the capabilities, resources and capital to achieve it.

“The biggest bottleneck for Australian SynBio startups is a lack of access to the labs and scientific infrastructure they need for product development. Lab infrastructure is rare and expensive, which is why UNSW will be giving six of the top Australian SynBio startups six months of free access to everything they need to go fast,” he said.

There is tremendous potential in the SynBio space to address global challenges, but only if they have access to the necessary facilities and capital.

“That’s why we launched SynBio 10x. Building on the success of our existing 10x accelerator programs, we will accelerate more great Australian startups that can positively impact synthetic biology.”

Main sequence principal Gabrielle Munzer said that engineering in biology is still largely untapped.

“But it has the potential to reinvent the way we create food, tackle climate change, find better health outcomes and much more. We just need to build an ecosystem that helps accelerate startups in this space,” said they.

“UNSW has the labs, Australia has the scientific talent and with capital to back it up, we can help unlock the full potential that synthetic biology offers. We are proud to be part of SynBio 10x.”

The CSIRO Innovation Funds 1 and 2, managed by Main Sequence, have invested in more than 40 companies since 2017. Those companies have created more than 1,200 jobs, in partnership with industry, CSIRO and 22 Australian universities.

You can submit an EOI for SynBio 10x here

Details about the accelerator program are: here.

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