MTPConnect launches Western Australian Node to support the state’s burgeoning life sciences sector

03 July 2018

Pictured: MTPConnect Chair Dr Bronwyn Evans, The University of Western Australia Vice Chancellor Dawn Freshwater and Minister for Innovation and ICT the Hon. Dave Kelly MP

MTPConnect – the Australian Government’s Medical Technology, Biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical (MTP) Industry Growth Centre – in conjunction with the Western Australian Government and The University of Western Australia (UWA), is delighted to announce the establishment of the Western Australian Node (the WA Node) of MTPConnect in Perth, to support the state’s burgeoning life sciences sector.

The WA Node of MTPConnect was launched with the Western Australian Government today, in collaboration with The University of Western Australia (UWA), at the Harry Perkins Institute and Centre for Medical Research. Dr. Bronwyn Evans, Chair of MTPConnect, was joined by the Honorable Dave Kelly, Minister for Innovation and ICT, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to work in partnership on the establishment of the WA Node and to capitalise on the state’s significant capability in innovative life sciences research.

Western Australia has a strong heritage of successful medical training and research discoveries, as a result of its well-established medical research facilities, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and internationally-recognised capability in gene technologies such as phenomics. The WA Node of MTPConnect, in collaboration with the State Government, UWA, will run educational programs to support life sciences start-ups and innovation, working closely with local sector stakeholders to develop skills in product translation and commercialisation, and in attracting investment opportunities.

The WA Node will also ensure that the local sector is linked to major initiatives, programs and projects, and is focused on the growth priorities identified in MTPConnect’s Sector Competiveness Plan, including clinical trials and the development of pre-clinical expertise, and capability in precision medicine and regenerative medicine.

Dr. Bronwyn Evans, Chair of MTPConnect, said the new WA Node of MTPConnect will provide welcome support for life sciences start-ups and SMEs, and in directing international investment into Western Australia.

"MTPConnect is delighted to work in partnership with the State Government and The University of Western Australia, to grow innovation, business capability and successful commercialisation in Western Australia’s life sciences sector," Dr Evans added.

"The WA Node of MTPConnect will build on local capability strengths of cutting-edge research and innovation to grow competiveness of products and services, and its ability to play a key role as a strategic launch pad for national growth and investment opportunities in the Australia’s MTP sector.”

The Hon. Dave Kelly, Minister for Innovation and ICT, said: “The McGowan Government is delivering on its election commitment to diversify the economy and create jobs by establishing a second innovation hub through the $16.7 million New Industries Fund. Through this new life science innovation hub the McGowan Government will support high growth small and medium-sized enterprises and job growth in this exciting and developing sector.

“We have some of the most innovative people in Australia located right here in Perth. With the support of the McGowan Government through this innovation hub, I look forward to seeing what these innovators can deliver for the benefit of our local economy and health sector.”

The State Government’s investment of $300,000 per annum for four years will also provide funding to run workshops, training and coaching sessions, bring national and international experts to Perth. MTPConnect will match the funding by contributing $100,000 in cash per annum and $200,000 per annum in in-kind support over four years, for joint co-funded activities to support the WA Node.

UWA will provide co-investment of $300,000 via in-kind support to house the Node at the UWA premises and directly funding a position to connect university researches and industry across the life sciences sector.

Professor Dawn Freshwater, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia, said: “We have considerable multidisciplinary research expertise and experience in innovation in areas of relevance to the Australian life sciences ecosystem. This node provides numerous opportunities for the nation and state, as we leverage the connections of the WA Government and MTPConnect nationally.”