Gabrielle Munzer has been promoted to Partner at deep tech venture capital firm Main Sequence. Gabrielle will manage the firm’s renewed emphasis on bringing biotechnology (biotech) research to scale in her new role.

Gabrielle has been an integral part of the Fund’s “Feed 10 Billion People” and “Decarbonise the Planet”challenge during her three years at Main Sequence, assisting in the creation of new companies such as animal-free dairy company Eden Brew and infinite plastic recycling company Samsara Eco.

This year, she teamed with UNSW to launch Australia’s first biotech accelerator programme, SynBio 10x, to assist companies in accelerating their biotech or synthetic biology (SynBio) product development and commercialisation. 

As Australia embraces global bio-revolution, Gabrielle Munzer, Partner at Main Sequence, told Dynamic Business, “Australia has a great opportunity to become a leader in the fields of synthetic biology (synbio) and biotechnology. 

“With greater emphasis being put on our environmental output and the future of our planet, we are seeing Australian researchers delve deeper into reimagining the future of food, agriculture, plastics and more. 

“But this is just the beginning of where we’re headed. Solving the world’s biggest challenges requires much collaboration, and that’s where programs such as our SynBio 10x accelerator become so powerful. 

“As our research base continues to grow, the program serves as a way for us to support the burgeoning synthetic biology industry in Australia, helping to fast-track startups in the field, providing mentorship, infrastructure and capital.”

A $27 billion opportunity

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Main Sequence was launched in Australia in 2017 to handle the CSIRO Innovation Fund, which was established by the Australian Government and the national science agency to reinvest its historic contributions into future triumphs. Main Sequence’s Fund I and Fund II have invested in 42 firms that are transforming healthcare delivery, food production, and space connectivity, among other things.

Quasar Satellite Technologies, Endua, Eden Brew, and Samsara Eco were all born from Main Sequence’s Fund II, which saw the fruition of the firm’s innovative Venture Science model’s benefits. The method involves selecting a significant global challenge and putting together a research team to address it. The company will continue to focus on biologically-based solutions to address the world’s most pressing problems through Venture Science in its upcoming Fund III.

With support from the business community, CSIRO predicts that SynBio-enabled solutions could have a profound impact on the world and position Australia for a $27 billion opportunity that could create 44 thousand new employment by 2040. 

Main Sequence Founding Partner Phil Morle said, “Biology and nature’s smallest elements have formed the foundation of many leading innovations, for example, the insulin that is used for treating diabetes. Today, we’re only scratching the surface of the possibilities biotech and SynBio offer. Gabrielle is an important voice inside Main Sequence, pushing the boundaries and unearthing the next generation of breakthrough inventions.

“She brings a unique perspective based on years of helping to inspire leaders and build companies that challenge the way we think about alleviating the world from human damage.”

Researchers could overcome some of Australia’s biggest problems with the aid of synthetic biology-enabled solutions, which have applications in fields including health, agriculture, biosecurity, and the environment. According to CSIRO, by 2040, synthetic biology could provide up to $27 billion in annual income and 44,000 new jobs for Australia under a high growth, high market share scenario.

This National Synthetic Biology Roadmap report, published in August 2021, details the potential benefits of synthetic biology for Australia and offers suggestions for how to speed up the development, scalability, and commercial success of its uses.

Read the report PDF (4 MB)

More on Main Sequence.

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CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, is expanding Australia’s advanced manufacturing capability by offering free research and development (R&D) assistance to businesses to help them develop new products or services. 

With 25 seats available, small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) working on novel advanced manufacturing solutions can join the free, 10-week online Innovate to Grow programme to support their commercial idea by increasing their R&D knowledge.

After completing the programme, participants may be eligible to get facilitation help from CSIRO to link to research talent across the country and dollar-matched R&D funding. 

Marcus Zipper, CSIRO’s Director of Manufacturing, stated that global supply chain disruptions emphasised the importance of developing Australia’s sophisticated manufacturing capability.

“Advanced manufacturing plays an important role in so many sectors, with manufacturing contributing about six per cent of Australia’s GDP, from biomedical manufacturing to smart robotics and automation,” Dr Zipper said.

“Building Australia’s advanced manufacturing capability is a key part of Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, and much of this capability will be driven by SMEs, which make up 99.8 per cent of all businesses in Australia,” he said.

In 2020–21, manufacturing in Australia generated more than A$115 billion in yearly production. Additionally, manufacturing attracted A$117 billion in foreign investment in 2021. Over the last five years, Australian manufacturing exports have increased by 4.1 per cent annually, according to data.

The CSIRO is widely recognised for its high-quality research and is Australia’s largest patent holder. Its scientific and technical capabilities, equipment, and worldwide connections assist Australian industries in expanding into new markets while being environmentally friendly. Discover what you can achieve with a collaboration with CSIRO. 

With inventions such as the electronic pacemaker (1926), the ‘black box flight recorder (1958), ultrasound (1961), multi-channel cochlear implants (the 1970s), wi-fi (1990s), the polymer banknote (1988), Google Maps (2003), and a cervical cancer vaccine, the twentieth century has been a period of rapid progress (2006).

Deputy Director of CSIRO’s SME Connect team, Dr George Feast, said that to help businesses take their products or services to the next level, R&D was essential to understand better what opportunities might be presented to them.

“Even though we know R&D drives innovation, it can be an expensive undertaking for businesses, risky and time-consuming for those without the right guidance and support,” Dr Feast said.

“Through this program, participants will be given help to refine a new idea they want to explore and better understand their idea’s business and scientific viability.

“They will also be exposed to industry knowledge, hear from innovation and industry experts, and work with an R&D mentor.”

The program is open to all companies, regardless of sector, who incorporate, or would like to incorporate, advanced manufacturing to improve their existing business operations.

“Even though collaboration is key in driving good R&D outcomes, research we released last year found that less than 15 per cent of Australian businesses engage universities or research institutions when they are thinking of exploring new innovation opportunities – our goal through this program is to up that percentage,” he said.

It commences on 6 September and is available for up to 25 SMEs. Applications close on 22 August.

This program is being delivered in partnership with the CSIRO Lindfield Collaboration Hub and Investment NSW.

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