Publish Date: 
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 15:00

TRI Welcomes new Biotech tenant Microbio

The Queensland scale-up company, Microbio, has moved into laboratories at TRI, with the aim of eventually setting up domestic manufacturing capability.

The company, which recently had its COVID-19 tests cleared for use in Europe, made the move to TRI to help fast-track the manufacture of the reagents used in its tests. At TRI, Microbio has set up new offices and laboratory space to house its expanding staff numbers.

TRI CEO Professor Scott Bell welcomed Microbio to the Institute, and said that the company was joining a unique cohort of scientists, researchers and clinicians working to solve health challenges faster.

“TRI offers an ideal environment for Microbio to grow and develop its commercial offerings,” said Professor Bell.

“Microbio now has access to state-of-the-art research and clinical trials facilities as well as the opportunity to collaborate with leading scientists, clinicians and other emerging biotechs, to help bridge the gap between research, commercialisation and the clinic.

“TRI is the only medical research institute in Australia to incorporate incubator space for start-up companies, with nine commercial groups based at TRI and a waiting list.”

Microbio Chief Scientific Officer Dr Flavia Huygens said that the move to TRI provided the facilities that Microbio needed at this stage of its development.

“Early last year, we changed our research direction into developing tests for COVID-19 and have been busy adapting the technology we originally developed to detect the pathogens that cause Blood Stream Infections and Sepsis” Dr Huygens said.

“The imminent sale of these COVID-19 tests in international markets has meant we have had to scale up our operations, with built-for-purpose office and laboratory facilities. We were delighted when we were invited to move into TRI, which is the home of some of the greatest scientific and medical innovators in Australia.”

TRI combines clinical and translational research to help companies move from discovery to application in the community.

“The timing of the move is perfect for where we are in our development,” Dr Huygens added. “We have developed two distinct versions of InfectID-COVID-19 tests – Detection and Replicating tests.

“There is increasing interest in Microbio’s InfectID-COVID-19-Replication test, which is a novel real-time PCR test designed to detect the SARS-COV-2 virus while it is in its early replicating phase.

Microbio currently manufactures small quantities of reagents at its new laboratory in TRI and aims to offer sovereign capability to Australia by eventually manufacturing locally at scale, to complement its offshore manufacturing facilities.

DMTC Limited (formerly the Defence Materials Technology Centre) has worked with Microbio on underpinning developments related to this diagnostic technology and supported the pivot of the work to focus on COVID-19.

Dr Felicia Pradera, General Manager – Health Security Systems Australia at DMTC said that Microbio’s plans to develop onshore manufacturing capabilities aligns with DMTC’s goals.

“DMTC is working with the defence innovation system to achieve outcomes for Defence but also to build the breadth and depth of sovereign Australian industrial capabilities,” said Dr Pradera.

“Projects like this are an example of DMTC bringing the best of industrial and research expertise together, in Australia, to ensure that research expertise, Intellectual Property and industrial capability stays here,” said Dr Pradera.

For more information, visit

About Microbio

Microbio is an Australian biotechnology company based in Brisbane. The team at Microbio has brought together the latest advances in bioinformatics, genomics and molecular microbiology to develop a unique and revolutionary pathogen detection test. The Microbio team is working tirelessly to deliver their game-changing new test to the millions of patients who will benefit from better pathogen diagnosis. Microbio is actively seeking partners worldwide, especially in population health and virology, who will integrate this new information into their proactive regional and corporate testing protocols. Additionally, Microbio is looking to work with pathology laboratory partners who can help deliver these highly specific results faster and to remote locations to improve health, regardless of a patient’s location.

About InfectID®

InfectID® is a diagnostic technology that detects and identifies bacterial, fungal and viral targets. The test targets Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), the pathogen’s DNA ‘fingerprint’, found at a specific point in each pathogen’s genetic code. By focusing on SNPs rather than the whole genome, the process is fast, inexpensive, highly sensitive and can be adapted to target different pathogens. The technology was refined and became the foundation of Microbio’s core product InfectID®-Blood Stream Infection (which is currently in development) InfectID®-Blood Stream Infection uses real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to identify Sepsis-causing pathogen species directly from whole blood without the need for pre-culture. Because the technology is suitable for detecting viruses, the company pivoted in 2020 to develop SARS-CoV-2 detection tests.

Microbio Founders

Dr Flavia Huygens | Executive Director, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

Flavia’s 30-year teaching and research career has focused on molecular microbiology, with a particular focus on human pathogens. Flavia’s expertise and exceptional ability to bring together emerging technology in molecular microbiology, genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics have culminated in the creation of InfectID. Flavia recently received a DMTC Ltd 2020 Excellence Award in recognition of exemplary professional conduct in support of DMTC’s objectives.

Paul Carboon | Executive Director, Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Paul has 25 years of commercialisation experience. In the technology sector, Paul brings deep understanding of commercial and product management as well as product development. Paul is a leader in biotechnology innovation. He currently serves on the AusMedtech national advisory group and is a founding adviser with the BridgeTech Program. Paul is also an Honorary Fellow of Biotechnology at Melbourne University and has been a judge for the prestigious Eureka awards.