Deep tech incubator opens new western Sydney facility

Anoulack Chanthivong, Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology, and Sally-Ann Williams, CEO of Cicada Innovations.
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Australia’s flagship deep tech incubator Cicada Innovations has officially opened the doors to the “Cicada HealthTech Hub” at Westmead.

Anoulack Chanthivong, Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology, helped open the Hub.

The world-class incubation facility is supported by a grant from Investment NSW, and will be situated within one of Australia’s largest health and biomedical precincts, the Westmead Health and Innovation District.

Incubation is now open to pre-revenue stage startups, spinouts, research projects, and more established businesses looking for a landing pad in areas of medical technology and devices such as cell and gene therapy, cancer research, infectious diseases, immunology, and vaccines.

Benefits include affordable and flexible workspaces, dedicated facilities, critical connections, and curated support services, all aimed at facilitating the rapid commercialisation of life-changing research with real patient outcomes.

The first resident already on site is iiSheild, a healthtech startup whose groundbreaking “kidney pyjamas” (Ischemic Injury Protective Jacket) aim to double the available time for kidney transplants by minimising the heat of the kidney during procedures.

iiShield originated in Westmead then moved into Cicada Innovations’ Eveleigh site as it completed the Cicada-run NSW Health Commercialisation Training Program, then moved back to Westmead to be closer to precinct, progress clinical trials, and raise its next round of capital.

Residents like iiShield will benefit from being located in a district that boasts four major hospitals, four world-leading medical research institutions, two university campuses and the largest research-intensive pathology service in NSW.

Western Sydney more broadly also offers a rapidly-growing diverse population of 2.5 million people and over 1000 clinical trials including some of Australia’s biggest, while Australia’s first commercial-scale viral vector manufacturing facility is currently being built in the precinct.

All of these factors and more make Western Sydney one of Australia’s most critical “hidden innovation gems” according to Cicada Innovations CEO, Sally-Ann Williams.

“Western Sydney may not be the first location that springs to mind when we think ‘innovation’. But when you look at the groundbreaking work coming from the precinct, it really could be considered one of Australia’s most exciting hidden innovation gems,” she said.

“Companies like iiShield, originating in Westmead, offer a perfect case study of the journey Australia’s most critical medtech companies take from research lab to commercialisation to the homes and industries where they will positively impact the largest number of people.

“We’re excited to now be calling for many more iiShields to come and take advantage of these state-of-the art facilities and the many benefits the growing precinct has to offer.”

Chanthivong praised the initiative.

“The HealthTech Hub will play a vital role in driving biotech, medtech and pharmaceutical industry development in NSW by bringing our world class health researchers and entrepreneurs together. It will support early-stage startups to build capability, fast-tracking commercialisation and helping to grow our state’s future skills pipeline,” he said.

“The Hub is a great example of how the NSW Government is working with organisations like Cicada to build a collaborative, inclusive and more supportive innovation ecosystem.”

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