Pilot agreement sees Australian biotech reside at UNSW

A new pilot agreement will strengthen UNSW Sydney industry partnerships by opening the door for companies to occupy space on the Kensington campus.

Original article written by Yolande Hutchinson published in the UNSW Newsroom here.  

UNSW Sydney and Drop Bio have signed a pilot collaboration agreement that will enable companies to access and utilise university facilities and forge deeper relationships between the University and industry partners.

The agreement will see Drop Bio, an Australian digital health and biotechnology company focused on measuring and tracking chronic inflammation, take up residency at UNSW’s School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences.

Head of School, Professor Marcel Dinger, said he was delighted to welcome Drop Bio to UNSW.

“Drop Bio will have immediate access to talent, research, established networks and technical infrastructure at our Kensington campus,” Prof. Dinger said.

“This collaboration offers opportunities for academic staff to work closely with industry partners and provides undergraduate and postgraduate students with exposure to an Australian start-up.”

Drop Bio has had a long-standing relationship with the Ramaciotti Centre for Genomics at UNSW. The new agreement signals an expansion of the relationship in line with UNSW’s objective to create an innovation hub including integrated space for business, industry and community partners.

UNSW Professor Eliathamby Ambikairajah, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Enterprise said nurturing collaborative co-working and cultivating networks is key to supporting cross-sector innovation, application of research and problem-solving.

“It is hugely beneficial to be able to work more closely with our industry partners, and to expedite the development of new research and ideas along the discovery-translation-application and commercialisation pathway,” Prof. Ambikairajah said.

UNSW and Drop Bio with support from law firm Norton Rose Fulbright developed an agreement that could serve as the template for similar on-campus industry collaborations.

Professor Marcel Dinger and Phil Hayes St Clair, CEO of Drop Bio.
Professor Marcel Dinger and Phil Hayes St Clair, CEO of Drop Bio.

“The ability to collaborate with world-renowned researchers and favourable intellectual property terms are just two of the advantages we see moving into UNSW,” said Phil Hayes St Clair, co-founder and CEO of Drop Bio.

“This partnership allows the opportunity to welcome incredibly talented science, bioinformatics and UNSW public health graduates to contribute to programs and products which we expect to have a global impact. It’s very exciting, particularly given our interest in women’s health and the mental health impacts of COVID-19 on the community.”