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Firefly Biotech is an Adelaide start-up that targets a growing niche between medical research and engineering. They specialise in space medicine and research tools. They also offer advice, expertise and inspiration to the next generation of aspiring space scientists. Founded by Dr Giles Kirby, a thought leader in space medicine and top 100 Australian innovator 2022, Firefly Biotech has already achieved great advances in a very short time. Upon its’ conception, Firefly Biotech was successful in winning a prestigious place on the Venture Catalyst Space program, offered by the Innovation and Collaboration Centre (University of South Australia).

On-shore research, development and manufacture has been a priority and their equipment has generated excellent capabilities within Australian universities that are quickly translating to excellent science results. Firefly Biotech is paving the way to translate innovative approaches into excellent medical solutions for space travel. Part of their core offering includes the development of tools and approaches that tackle Earth-based medical needs in a unique and new way. The fields of cancer biology and developmental biology are already showing strong promise using tools developed and tailored by Firefly Biotech.

Founder, Dr Giles Kirby, was identified by ‘The Australian’ as one of Australia’s top 100 innovators in 2022. By driving development in a key area at an opportune time he has helped place Australia at the leading edge in the new and fast-growing sector of space medicine. By collaborating with experts in their respective fields, Firefly Biotech is driving and supporting Australian research. Adelaide has provided the foundation required with its’ thriving space sector and wonderful living conditions.

“In just 10 years, average people like you and me will be working and living in space. We critically need to accelerate development of the medical knowledge and infrastructure to support this new space lifestyle.” “We’re not just engineers; we’re biologists, chemists, medical device specialists and more. We intimately understand the problems we’re tackling and can effortlessly communicate our solutions to users and help them get the most out of new capabilities.”– Dr Giles Kirby

Dr Giles Kirby, Founder

Ideally, space research would be conducted in space but cost is a significant factor. It’s critical to optimise a payload and send the most useful experiments to space to obtain the best results. This is where ground-based studies are critical. It is possible to simulate the effects of microgravity on Earth under certain circumstances, however, doing it well and planning appropriate experiments remains a challenge. Firefly Biotech does the heavy lifting, the tool development, and the validation. They work with customers to develop and plan the most useful experiments for their application and develop tools that integrate well with biology and real scientific workflows. No other provider makes these methods this accessible to researchers.

Firefly Biotech currently produces innovative tools, approaches, and software for ground-based research but their sights are set towards the stars. They plan to translate their capability to space medical solutions for advanced health monitoring and remote medicine. Firefly Biotech has a clear pathway for growth. Their company tag-line “Off-world healthcare and medical research” clearly articulates these lofty goals.

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