Game-changing medtech and biotech startups going global from Melbourne

25 August 2023

Got a business idea that could change the world? You’re in good company in Melbourne.

We’re supporting impressive local startups as they journey from prototype to global impact through our Invest Melbourne team.

The startups are reducing emissions from city buildings, empowering urban designers to build better neighbourhoods, and giving doctors new tools to care for patients.

Here are some local startups working at the intersection of healthcare and technology.

Helping premature babies breathe

Ventora Medical is designing a neonatal airway pressure monitor to empower doctors with information to help them care for babies who experience breathing difficulties.

“Our goal is to improve the health outcomes for these vulnerable newborns. We are fortunate to be working with world-class clinicians who have helped us to create a product that can have a real impact on the standard of care.

“Being named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 was an incredible honour and validation of Ventora’s potential. We felt a sense of pride and excitement to be recognised among some of the most innovative and impact-driven young people in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Amy Yu, Ventora Medical

Read our full interview with Ventora.

Three young professionals
Alan Haszard, Amy Yu and Edward Buijs from Ventora Medical

Creating “Alzheimer’s in a dish” to help cure neurodegenerative diseases

Imagine a small laboratory tray that holds nearly 100 human “mini brains” – each one a millimetre in diameter and taking us closer to finding cures for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but this ground-breaking biotechnology is happening right here in Melbourne amid Parkville’s renowned biomedical precinct.

“Brain health is the most valuable asset we have. The brain holds our memories, our personalities, the legacies of our family – of who we are and what we pass on to the next generation,” Christos said. 

“Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s can erase these experiences and wisdom. It’s very sad and disheartening to see this in a loved one. We’d like to change this with our technology.” 

Christos Papadimitriou, Tessara Therapeutics

Read our full interview with Tessara Therapeutics.

A tray holding 96 “mini brains” created in the Tessara Therapeutics lab

Turning frowns upside down in children’s hospitals

Imagine watching digital fish nibble your arm while you have a blood test. Or embarking on a space adventure with Poggles the Penguin to prepare yourself for what to expect in an MRI.

Smileyscope, the world’s only medical-grade virtual reality device, is making medical procedures safer and more enjoyable for patients in every children’s hospital in Australia, and in more than 40 centres in the USA.

“We use virtual reality as a tool to take people away from the sterile clinical environment, and reframe medical procedures in a much more enjoyable and safe way,” Evelyn said.

“Our vision is to expand the frontiers of patient-centred care, improving the moments that matter most.”

Dr Evelyn Chan, Smileyscope

Read our full interview with Smileyscope.

A child taking an interactive adventure with Smileyscope

Supporting people with limb loss

Virtetic is using virtual reality to improve outcomes for people with limb loss in the critical time while they wait for a prosthesis.

“Our goal is to empower the prosthetics community through virtual reality – whether it be from the comfort of their home or their neighbourhood clinic, we want to be able to ease their transition, one screen at a time.

“Invest Melbourne has opened up several opportunities for us and we are seeing the fruits of this already. Having support like this, from people who care about and promote what you do, helps us a lot and makes all the difference.”

Raphael Mayer, Virtetic

Read our full interview with Virtetic.

A user immersed in Virtetic’s virtual world

Improving people’s dental health

Incisive Technologies helps dentists diagnose tooth decay earlier, before it is visible to the eye or x-ray machine. Their BlueCheck biomolecule turns sites of decay temporarily blue.

“Our aim is to advance oral healthcare by enabling preventative dentistry – this is hugely exciting and very rewarding personally. The greatest immediate impact may be seen in underserved or disadvantaged communities.

“As a company intending to launch our product internationally, the global TradeStart network is a crucial resource in supporting the engagement of partners across a wide range of activities including logistics, company incorporation and market strategy.”

Campbell Robertson-Smith, Incisive Technologies

Read our full interview with Incisive.

A happy child in a dentist's chair.
Incisive’s innovative product helps detect tooth decay earlier

What’s next for Invest Melbourne

Invest Melbourne continues to eclipse its job creation and economic targets, and the team is currently working across more than 140 projects.

This could create or fast-track an estimated 8000 new full-time jobs across the city and generate around $1.3 billion in capital

Get support to start and grow your business

Experts from the City of Melbourne can help you unlock your business potential and join the many innovative and successful
companies investing locally.

Our Business Concierge service is working to make it even easier for traders to operate in the city – with fast-tracked permit approvals, business and marketing support, and industry contacts.

Our TradeStart advisers help small and medium-sized businesses identify and secure opportunities in global markets. The TradeStart network is an initiative of Austrade.

To learn more and book an appointment, visit Invest Melbourne.

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