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Life Sciences Catalyst program sees medical device start-up hit the ground running

Start-up medical device company and Life Sciences Queensland (LSQ) member, Augmented Bionics, has been successful in raising pre-seed capital to further the development of its non-surgical alternative to the traditional cochlear implant hearing device, thanks to LSQ’s international business development and networking initiatives, including the LS Catalyst program.

The $650,000 deal with investor IP Group resulted from the company’s participation in the BIO Queensland Investment Seminar — hosted in partnership by LSQ and Trade Investment Queensland — during the 2019 BIO International Convention in Philadelphia last June.

The event saw more than ten Australian bioscience start-ups pitch to investors from across the globe, to secure venture capital and gain intel on international backers.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Augmented Bionics, Viraj Agnihotri, said the BIO Queensland Investment Seminar helped connect his company to both Australian and American life sciences investors and also networked them with regulatory, reimbursement and clinical trials specialists from the US and Europe during the broader BIO Convention.

“It is crucial but very challenging for early stage companies to land a pitching opportunity with targeted investors on a global scale. This event connected us with investors who led our current investment round, as well as investors who expressed interest in  future investment rounds of the company.” he said.

Following the integral deal, Augmented Bionics is also looking to access global partnering organisation Life Science Nation’s Investor Platform to identify new investors for their future capital raise — a unique networking opportunity available to Queensland life sciences companies through the LS Catalyst program.

LSQ Chief Executive Officer Clare Blain said Augmented Bionics’ story is a prime example of LSQ creating opportunities for industry stakeholders to come together to grow their businesses and help create a dynamic, internationally competitive and sustainable life sciences industry in Queensland. It also demonstrates the LS Catalyst vision coming to life — to activate networks, accelerate ideas and achieve success for start-ups.

“Through our LS Catalyst program, LSQ strives to harness the depth and breadth of our established national and global networks to cultivate the next generation of ideas and provide gateways to opportunity at any stage of the innovation spectrum for start-ups and SMEs,” she said.

“We encourage emerging enterprises throughout Queensland like Augmented Bionics to pursue the opportunities LS Catalyst provides.”

LSQ’s Deputy CEO, Dr Nagaraj Gopisetty who leads the LS Catalyst program added, “With the onset of COVID, we have now embraced digital networking platforms with our collaborator Life Science Nation to provide over 20 start-ups the opportunity to meet with global investors. We hope such initiatives will not only increase awareness of Queensland’s emerging innovations in the life sciences sectors, but more investments from the global venture capital community.”

The LS Catalyst program, funded by the State Government’s Advance Queensland initiative through the Department of Innovation, is open to regional and south-east Queensland start-ups and SMEs in the life sciences sectors that aim to help feed, fuel and heal the world.

LS Catalyst participants have the opportunity to partner with experienced academics, clinicians and corporate leaders via ongoing one-on-one mentoring programs, attend regional and sectoral training and education events, and access various networking initiatives.

Read more information on the program here.