Brisbane biotech Gelomics raises $2.2m for 3D tissue culture to phase out animal testing

Brisbane biotech Gelomics raises $2.2m for 3D tissue culture to phase out animal testing

Gelomics co-founder and CEO Dr Christoph Meinert (left) with QIC private equity investment director Patrick Christiansen (right).

Gelomics, a Brisbane-based biotech whose LunaGel 3D tissue culture is used by leading scientific research institutions 22 countries, has raised $2.2 million in a pre-seed funding round led by early-stage investor Jelix Ventures alongside the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) and Angelloop.

Harnessed by scientists from Harvard to Oxford to the Technical University in Munich, the LunaGel photocrosslinkable cell culture system recreates microscopic representations of healthy and diseased human tissue in a petri dish.

The technology eliminates the need for animal testing in pharmaceutical drug development, replicating human biology from tiny beating hearts to tumour tissues within a laboratory setting, paving the way or more ethical, reliable, cost-effective, and efficient medical research and preclinical studies.

The latest funding is expected to support Gelomics’ continued market expansion, creating more than 70 highly-skilled local jobs over the next five years. 

Gelomics co-founder and CEO Dr Christoph Meinert says by improving the reliability of preclinical studies, the 3D tissue culture solution reduces unnecessary financial loss, time taken to market and 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 says.

"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 already demonstrated its market viability through extensive in-market validation of its 3D tissue culture technology, reporting a demo-to-sales conversion rate exceeding 80 per cent, alongside securing more than 250 returning customers.

"With the support of the Jelix Ventures, QIC, and Angelloop, we look forward to expanding our team with top-tier talent in Brisbane while accelerating product development and executing a well-strategised market penetration plan in the United States," adds Dr Meinert.

QIC private equity investment director Patrick Christiansen says growing recognition of the limitations of traditional cell culture solutions and the significant costs to new drug development presents a compelling opportunity for Gelomics.

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

“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. Christoph and [COO] Peter [Levett] are passionate about the problem they are solving, with the ambition to deliver on it.

“Through the Enterprise Acceleration Fund, we’re backing Gelomics’ vision to become the new gold standard adopted by laboratories around the world and the jobs this will create for Queensland.”

Gelomics shares an address with the The Centre for Biomedical Technologies at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) - a university where Dr Meinert was studying his PhD into regenerative medicine, forming the idea that would underpin the company.

Innovation charity Angelloop, which invested in the pre-seed round, also sits within the Kelvin Grove Village. 

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