City of Perth backs SPARK Co-Lab

18/07/2017 - 11:23

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A $70,000 grant provided by the City of Perth in support of SPARK Co-Lab’s new Actuator program will help local medical entrepreneurs take their inventions to market. 

Spark Co-Lab directors Adam Santa Maria (left) and Kath Giles with Peter Santa Maria, who says the sponsorship will help build the capabilities of WA’s biotech sector. Photo: Attila Csaszar

A $70,000 grant provided by the City of Perth in support of SPARK Co-Lab’s new Actuator program will help local medical entrepreneurs take their inventions to market.

Spark Co-Lab has received the City of Perth’s flagship $70,000 Industry Sector Development sponsorship, following an announcement yesterday afternoon. 

Co-founded by 2017 40under40winner Peter Santa Maria, Spark Co-Lab was establised last year as a not-for-profit organisation that engages universities and research hubs in medical research innovation and commercialisation courses, derived from Stanford University.

The funds will be used to power its new 12-month Actuator program, which delivers medical device commercialisation training to researchers who are ready to have their discovery accelerated for licensing or to attract further investment.

Participants will engage with industry mentors, form networks to help their research become realised and receive seed funding for 12 months to help achieve commercialisation milestones.

“We're really hoping this partnership with the City of Perth can build the capabilities of the biotech sector along with the resources of the city,” Mr Santa Maria said.

“And take advantage of the opportunity of a huge growth industry in the region.”

Spark Co-Lab director Katharine Giles said the organisation was working to give people the tools to increase collaboration between industry, science, academia and doctors to create an innovation hub for the Asia Pacific region in Perth.

The organisation’s design program, based on Stanford University’s medical device innovation course, has already resulted in the establishment of five medical device startups, in just one year.

It received more than 90 applications for the 30 positions available for the 2017 program, which is currently under way.

Applications are now open for the recently launched Actuator program, and City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said Spark Co-Lab was a deserving recipient of the inaugural industry sector development sponsorship.

“The Actuator program underpins our goal of promoting Perth’s medical and biotech innovation capabilities and positioning the City of Perth as a business destination for innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world,” Ms Scaffidi said.

“In partnership with Spark Co-Lab, the City of Perth is progressing its goal of establishing Perth as an Asia-Pacific biotech hub, and we are well-placed to take a leadership role in research collaboration.

“We have a wealth of talent here in Western Australia, and the City’s commitment to innovation will help provide the financial means to make this happen.”

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