Historic buildings in Ōtautahi Christchurch’s Te Matatiki Toi Ora - The Arts Centre are now home to a new generation of healthtech companies under the banner of the Health Technology Centre.
The Centre focuses on building and accelerating capability in start-ups and scaling businesses in Ōtautahi Christchurch’s key strengths, including next generation medical devices, sensors and diagnostics, manufacturing, and sustainable medtech. Founding tenants include Komodo, oVRcome, Myovolt, Johner Institute, The Kite Programme, ContentedAI, The Honest Human and Calmly. It will also provide a platform for advice and expertise including quality, regulatory, health economics, marketing, sales and clinical research.
“Being part of the Arts Centre means we are surrounded by people who understand creativity and innovation. We occupy most of the Engineering Extensions building built in 1923 and the top floor of the Electrical Engineering building built in 1902. We are continuing their history of discovery and advancement,” says General Manager Madeleine Martin.
“Our goal is to help health technology ventures succeed and ensure that the technologies with the most impact for the community are supported,” says Martin.
Ōtautahi Christchurch has a strong reputation for innovation, cutting-edge technology, and collaboration between health agencies, and the Centre also sets up important connections.
“We can offer the wider community a unique and collaborative work environment being situated on the edge of Te Papa Hauora Health Precinct, bringing tenants into proximity with hospital clinicians, tertiary educators, and mana whenua. The Arts Centre already hosts all the ancillary services of a technology precinct, including bookable venues, a boutique hotel, and hospitality outlets.”
Martin brings 15 years of healthtech experience to the position. She began her career at Fisher and Paykel Healthcare as a product development engineer, moving to Christchurch as general manager of orthopaedic engineering company Ossis. She is passionate about supporting health tech companies to succeed through both connection and collaboration and providing commercialisation support through mentoring and the development of the Health Technology Centre.
“There was both a need and an opportunity to provide a safe environment for new companies working in the digital and device sectors, and to support their journey from research to commercialisation,” says Martin. “It’s also about enabling more connections with groups including Te Papa Hauora: Health Precinct Christchurch, Christchurch’s Economic Development Agency, and Canterbury Health Innovation.”
The Centre caters for healthtech companies working in medical devices for patients, clinicians and allied health professionals, and digital health such as software, IT systems, and online platforms to improve health and wellbeing. These new companies can use co-working space and access advice about the commercialisation journey. The Centre also offers support such as meeting spaces for more established companies. As Martin says, “It’s about bringing people together, connecting with others. For example, we host healthtech breakfasts with a guest speaker who shares their challenges, successes and expertise.”
Martin says Canterbury has a strong foundation in healthtech, partly thanks to the post-earthquakes rebuild which has created a well-connected health precinct. “What we’re trying to do is fill the gap between our innovators and industry and do more to both tell and leverage our success stories.
“This is about the healthtech innovation ecosystem and the journey from concept to commercialisation. We want to inspire, connect and collaborate with our innovators and ensure their work has the best possible opportunity for translation into commercial products and services that will improve New Zealanders’ health and wellbeing,” says Martin.