The Callaghan innovation led HealthTech Activator (HTA) initiative is expected to make decisions in March on how to deliver better support for startups and early stage HealthTech companies.
The HTA initiative deepens Callaghan Innovations sector focus in HealthTech as a constituent part of CMDT/MedTech CoRE and has been allocated $2 million over four years to cover staffing, operational costs and programme support. Services will be virtually accessible, supported by two physical nodes. It will have three key roles:
- Leadership – driving greater collaboration, connectivity and commercialisation rhythm at an ecosystem-wide level in partnership with existing stakeholders (including tertiary, clinical and agency)
- Development – creating programmes and services in conjunction with stakeholders from across the sector to prepare startups for international commercialisation.
- Coordination – linking and connecting the sector, including gathering and organising data and sector intelligence.
“The idea is to speed up the journey of HealthTech startups by better connecting, demystifying commercial avenues and reducing risks,” says CI chief executive Vic Crone. “This will make it easier for HealthTech startups to find and access the support they need to turn their health innovation into successful businesses.
Vic Crone says there are also opportunities for New Zealand to create more successful HealthTech startups, but there is a wider need to pull together support across the sector, which has more complex, expensive and riskier paths to commercialisation.
With terms of reference and an advisory panel appointed, the next task was to gain a better understanding of how the sector currently functions.
“The HTA initiative has kicked off with a discovery process to identify existing support across the sector and any gaps in the ways early stage HealthTech companies navigate commercialisation and scale-up,” says CI Head of Health Technology Andrew Clews.
“What we found was disconnects, a sector not necessarily joined up in a systematic or linear fashion, something that was lumpy. This identified our first task – to help smooth out and connect the sector nationally while prioritising areas of programme delivery.
“The HTA’s activities will strengthen companies at the early stages, supported by a strong cross-sector advisory board from government, the private sector and research institutions,” says Andrew.
The Callaghan Innovation led HTA is supported by an advisory panel that includes government, the private sector and researchers. Dr Diana Siew represents CMDT/MedTech CoRE on the panel.