In May, a Western Australian medtech delegation travelled to Adelaide to attend AusBiotech’s AusMedTech 2023 Conference, joining over 400 delegates from national and international medical technology sectors.
The delegation was formally led by the Hon Stephen Dawson, WA's Minister for Science; Medical Research; Innovation and the Digital Economy, reflecting the WA government’s commitment to promote and foster the growth of the state’s medtech industry.
The AusMedtech conference brought together industry leaders, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers from across Australia's medtech sector – for engaging discussions on emerging trends, technological advancements, and key industry challenges, and provided opportunities for networking.
The WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub was involved in supporting the delegation and the Hub’s Director Stakeholder Engagement WA, Dr Tracey Wilkinson also played a key role in helping to deliver the conference as part of the AusMedTech 2023 organising committee and curating a program of dynamic speakers.
Thirty-four Western Australians representing 17 organisations attended the conference. Notably, startups Biotome Pty Ltd and Reliis Ltd were supported by the State government’s Market Access Grant Scheme (MAGS) to attend the conference. MAGS provides grants of up to $5,000 (on a co-contribution basis) to eligible WA companies in the sector to cover travel costs to major industry conferences or business events.
Showcasing WA’s medtech sector
To showcase the state’s burgeoning medtech sector, leading WA medtech companies – Biotome, Gene S, Metabolic Health Solutions, OncoRes Medical, Alcolizer, Reliis and Cortical Dynamics – were featured together in a booth at the AusMedtech Exhibition Hall, made possible by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI). The WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub worked closely with JTSI to promote, organise, and facilitate WA's presence at AusMedTech.
A selection of WA speakers featured in both the main conference program and the Early-Stage Innovation Forum. In the session ‘Economic development meets medtech: A Chief Scientist, a Minister, and a CEO discuss state-government driven public policy’, Minister Dawson discussed how state governments drive public policy to support the growth of the medtech sector, alongside AusBiotech CEO Lorraine Chiroiu, and South Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Caroline McMillen.
Roger Hunt from Alcolizer, Dr Kath Giles from OncoRes Medical and Dr David Morrison from Royal Perth Hospital made presentations, providing WA perspectives on manufacturing and automation, workforce talent, and personalised medicine. Notably, three WA companies were featured at the Early-Stage Innovation Forum, with Alcolizer Technology, Metabolic Health Solutions and Biotome delivering quick-pitch presentations to a panel of experts and investors.
Sharing SA and WA perspectives
Tapping into MTPConnect’s national team, Dr Wilkinson connected with the Director Stakeholder Engagement SA, Jo Close who hosted a tour of the Adelaide BioMed City innovation district for Minister Dawson and John Van Der Wielen – Chair, Future Health and Medical Research Innovation Fund, alongside MTPConnect’s Chair Hon Jaala Pulford. The group visited the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Australian Bragg Centre, Adelaide SME Fusetec’s Advanced Surgical Training centre and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).
Strong existing partnerships between WA and SA were highlighted by Professor Alex Brown, Professor of Indigenous Genomics with Telethon Kids Institute and the Australian National University, who met with the group and discussed his work in Indigenous research at SAHRMI.
Opportunities for co-location, collaboration and connection were on full display as the group learnt about South Australian capabilities in areas such as robotic pharmacy operations, digital health, and advanced manufacturing. The tour ended with the group donning safety gear at the top of the future Bragg Centre for a discussion on the need for infrastructure that brings researchers and innovators together in a physical location, while also providing connections across Australia and the world.
A positive business experience
AusMedTech 2023 delegate Dr Niamh Troy, Innovation and Engagement Manager at OncoRes Medical, reflected on her positive experience at AusMedTech, her first medtech industry conference.
“Attending AusMedTech was a transformative experience for me as a newcomer to industry conferences. One of my key takeaways was the potential of the medical technology sector in Australia to revolutionise healthcare and improve patient outcomes.
“Engaging panel discussions and networking sessions provided valuable insights from thought leaders and established meaningful connections within the MedTech community. These experiences broadened my understanding of the industry and set the stage for future collaborations and professional growth,” said Dr Troy.
Ashley Zimpel, CEO of WA medtech company Cortical Dynamics, noted that the organisation was motivated to attend the conference to gain profile, seek investment, network, and see the latest developments in the industry in Australia, and he intends to return to AusMedTech in 2024.
AusMedTech will be held in Adelaide again in 2024 and the WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub is already planning how to support next year’s WA delegation to take advantage of this valuable industry event.