In Case You Missed It: Here’s What The MTPConnect Team Has Been Up To in May

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03 June 2021

Pictured (L-R): Dr Janelle Bowden (AccessCR), Prof John Zalcberg (ACTA & Monash University), Carrie Bloomfield (R&D Taskforce and GSK Australia), Dr Megan Robertson (St Vincent’s Health), Dr Rebecca Tunstall and Dr Dan Grant from MTPConnect – panelists at the launch of MTPConnect’s new report on Australia’s clinical trials sector.

New Report: Australia’s Clinical Trials Sector Shows Healthy Growth

MTPConnect marked International Clinical Trials Day 2021 with the release of a new report that reveals the size and scope of Australia’s clinical trials sector and opportunities for future growth.

The report - Australia’s Clinical Trials Sector: Advancing innovative healthcare and powering economic growth - has been developed in partnership with L.E.K Consulting and will provide an essential reference for the sector. The report reveals that clinical trials contributed $1.4 billion to the Australian economy through direct expenditure or investment in 2019 and that the sector now employs more than 8,000 Australians. This new report follows a comprehensive sector profile published by MTPConnect in 2017. Both reports are available here.

Expert Panel Launches Clinical Trials Report at Melbourne Event

To launch the new report on Australia’s Clinical Trials Sector, we gathered at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in Melbourne. With more than 100 people in attendance and around 50 people attending the virtual webcast, we brought together a panel of Australian thought leaders to discuss the importance of clinical trials in Australia. Joining our panel discussion were Carrie Bloomfield (Director and Head of Clinical Operations at GSK Australia and Co-Chair of the R&D Taskforce), Professor John Zalcberg (then Chair of ACTA and Director, Cancer Research Program, School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine at Monash University; and Consultant Medical Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre), Dr Janelle Bowden (Managing Director, AccessCR), Dr Megan Robertson (Group Chief Research Officer for St Vincent's Health Australia, and Chair AusBiotech Clinical Trial Advisory Group) and MTPConnect’s Dr Rebecca Tunstall (Senior Director Stakeholder Engagement). Watch the webcast here. Our panel session occurred prior to the start of the ACTA Clinical Trials 2021: National Tribute and Award Ceremony, and MTPConnect proudly supported ACTA's Ceremony and celebration.

First REDI Fellowships Awarded to Boost Medical Research Commercialisation Capabilities

MTPConnect announced the first two fellows from the REDI (Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry) Fellowship Program. Dr Christina Kulis, a research officer at University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience will be moving to Brandon Capital Partners in Brisbane to gain experience on ‘venture capital investment analysis and management of a portfolio of opportunities’. Dr Alexander Staudacher, a postdoctoral research scientist working in a translational oncology laboratory for the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) will be working closely with Melbourne-headquartered Telix Pharmaceuticals to create a development roadmap for the commercialisation of humanised APOMAB™ for clinical combination therapy - a promising antibody technology for treatment of cancer.

REDI initiative awards contracts to Biointelect and Cicada Innovations for workforce skills gap training and education

MTPConnect announced its selection of additional industry training providers to deliver new programs addressing key skills gaps in product development and commercialisation for the MTP sector workforce. A Biointelect lead consortium with ARCS Australia and Biodesign Australia will deliver workshops led by practitioners for practitioners including researchers, start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs to provide knowledge and tools to secure investment and industry collaboration for medical innovations including therapeutics, medical devices and digital health solutions. Cicada Innovations will deliver training workshops for researchers, start-ups and SMEs to develop their ability to identify unmet market needs, understand clinical context, and develop commercially viable products including therapeutics, medical devices and digital health solutions. The new training programs will roll out in capital cities around Australia beginning in July and running until December 2021

New Funding to Support Medical Products Manufacturing in WA

MTPConnect launched a new voucher program to boost medical products manufacturing in Western Australia. Funding of $400,000 is being made available through the MTPConnect WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub, which is co-funded through the WA Government’s New Industries Fund and the University of Western Australia. The vouchers are aimed at small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and will help build WA’s medical products manufacturing capabilities. Applications close on Thursday 11 June 2021 and guidelines and details on how to apply via Smartygrants can be found at the MTPConnect website.

WA MTP Sector Spotlight Series Event with Resonance Health

MTPConnect held its monthly Spotlight Series event in Perth, shining a light on Resonance Health, a global healthcare company based in WA, specialising in the development and delivery of non-invasive medical imaging software and analysis services to address liver disease. MTPConnect’s Director Stakeholder Engagement WA Dr Tracey Wilkinson was joined by Resonance Health's CEO Alison Laws, to discuss the company’s digital health innovations and securing international regulatory clearances.

GSK Australia’s new REDI-supported Graduate Researcher Program

GSK Australia is helping to bridge the skills gap between academia and the pharmaceutical industry, through its new three-year program for PhD graduates supported by MTPConnect's REDI initiative.

The GSK Australia Graduate Researcher Program, was launched in March 2021 and is the organisation’s first program to offer PhD graduates hands on experience in the world of the medicines and vaccines industry. Read more

Dimerix Talks Partnering in the Age of COVID on Podcast

With COVID-19 continuing to disrupt travel, a podcast episode was taken from our recent Collaboration and Skills Summit and provides tips for virtual partnering at conferences and meetings. In the episode Partnering in the age of COVID: Real World Tips from Dimerix, Dr Nina Webster, the Managing Director & CEO of Dimerix Limited (a BTB awardee), shares the highs and lows of forming relationships and doing deals online in the age of COVID-19.

Industry Genomics Network Alliance Launches Strategic Plan

The Industry Genomics Network Alliance (InGeNA) has published the InGeNA Strategic Plan highlighting the breadth and range of industry groups committed to working together to bring a shared perspective on critically important areas underpinning the future of genomics. The Alliance, hosted by the Australasian Institute of Digital Health (AIDH), was established in 2020 with funding through MTPConnect's Industry Growth Centre Project Fund Program. Following COVID restrictions, the AIDH’s HealthData21 conference scheduled in Melbourne in May had to be rescheduled to June. Dr Dan Grant’s presentation about InGeNA will be made at the ‘Integrating Genomics into Care’ session on 22 June 2021 instead. Download the InGeNA Strategic Plan.

BridgeTech Symposium for 2021 Cohort held in Melbourne

The 2020 and 2021 BridgeTech participants attended a three-day symposium of in-depth seminars and real-world case studies, taking part in pitching and collaboration activities with industry leaders from around the world. MTPConnect Managing Director and CEO Dr Dan Grant made the opening speech welcoming the delegates to the program, which is supported by MTPConnect’s REDI initiative.  REDI Director Jarrod Belcher spoke at a session about improving collaboration between research and industry to boost translation and commercialisation skills, and the importance of ‘industry’ work experience.

Supporting Sector Events

MTPConnect has supported various sector events this month including the ACTA Clinical Trials 2021: National Tribute and Award Ceremony celebrating the contribution of the clinical trials sector in Australia. REDI Director Jarrod Belcher spoke about workplace skills gaps at the 2021 AI in Healthcare Symposium run by the Centre for Healthcare Knowledge and Innovation. MTPConnect Managing Director and CEO Dr Dan Grant joined a Public Discussion Panel on Data Privacy and Ethics Surrounding Implementation of Precision Medicine led by ABC Journalist Sophie Scott at Westmead’s conference on Precision Medicine. MTPConnect also sponsored Science on Swan, WA’s annual health and medical research conference – this year’s theme was ‘Driving Translational Research – Embedding Research and Innovation in Health Care’.

REDI Training Underway

Engaged by the REDI program, Seer Pharma and ARCS Australia are rolling out new education and training programs until late 2021. Seer Pharma is holding a series Quality Management Systems (QMS) and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) workshops in every major capital city during the next six months. ARCS Australia announced the first of its 5-day Foundations Bootcamps will run in July for Australian medical device start-ups & SMEs on incorporating regulatory & reimbursement needs for markets to facilitate potential early market access of products.

MTPConnect Internship 

We welcomed Meghana Kulkarni who is taking up a 2-month internship at MTPConnect as Associate Project Manager working across our Biomedical Translation Bridge (BTB) and the Targeted Translation Research Accelerator (TTRA) programs, based in Melbourne. Meghana is currently completing her Masters of Biomedical and Health Sciences at Monash University, researching breast cancer organoid technology.

MTPConnect celebrates 5 Year ‘Twitterversary’

MTPConnect has been sharing conversations and supporting the growth and progress of the MTP sector for five years across the Twitter platform. With almost 5,000 followers and a solid engagement rate, the social media platform is a key element of the organisation’s communication activities.