REDI Fellowships Awarded to Researchers in NSW to Boost Medical Research Commercialisation Capabilities

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20 August 2021

MTPConnect is pleased to announce that two researchers in New South Wales (NSW) have been selected as fellows from the REDI (Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry) Fellowship Program.

The program provides financial support to Australian, international and/or multinational medical technology or pharmaceutical (MTP) companies to bring the best talent in-house to work on priority medical research projects.

Our congratulations to:

Associate Professor Ewan Millar is a Senior Staff Specialist Pathologist from NSW Health Pathology (NSW), who will undertake a 24 month part-time project with Paige.AI, Inc., a New York-based global leader in AI-based diagnostic software, where he will work with Paige’s project teams spread across 3 continents to develop skills in the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI). A/Prof Millar will focus on the application of deep learning AI to breast cancer biomarker development to improve behaviour predications and treatment response.

Paige, based in New York US, is a global leader in AI-based diagnostic software in pathology and builds powerful, clinical-grade computational technologies to transform diagnosis, treatment, and biomarker discovery in cancer.

Dr Cindy Chia-Fan Shu is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow from Kolling Institute, University of Sydney Royal North Shore Hospital (NSW), who will undertake a 12 month project with Regeneus Ltd where she will spend her time in Sydney to increase her skills in the translation of science. Dr Shu will focus on developing assays and models for pre-clinical trials for osteoarthritis treatments and progressing clinical trials and preparing regulatory submissions.

Regeneus Ltd (ASX: RGS) is a Sydney-based regenerative medicine company developing technologies to address the unmet medical needs of human health condition through its technology platforms Progenza™ and Sygenus.

MTPConnect Managing Director and CEO, Dr Dan Grant, says these are the first industry-led Fellowships to be announced for NSW researchers as part of the REDI program.  

“Congratulations to A/Prof Millar and Dr Shu on their Fellowships and to Paige and Regeneus for making the connections,” said Dr Grant.

“Supporting researchers to move seamlessly between research and industry is critical for the growth and success of Australia’s MTP sector.

“It is great to see international companies applying for our REDI Fellowships and tapping into Australia’s talent base.

“Importantly, our REDI Fellowship Program expects the researcher or clinician to return to their home institution for a period at least equal to the term of their placement in industry so this ensures we embed high-level, industry-ready experience in the research sector and avoid the issue of ‘brain drain’ of researcher talent into companies.

“With the flexibility of full and part-time fellowships over a 6 month to two-year period, and domestic and international fellowships considered, the REDI Fellowship Program provides a valuable opportunity to forge stronger ties between industry and academia.

“As the program is ongoing until late 2022, I urge industry to consider the opportunity to boost our commercialisation capabilities,” said Dr Grant.

Fellowship awardee, A/Prof Millar, says he is looking forward to being involved in the Paige project.

“The REDI Fellowship will provide me with an unparalleled opportunity to work with Paige, world leaders in the development of clinical computational pathology products at the forefront of the next generation of precision digital diagnostics and biomarkers,” said A/Prof Millar.

Paige Chief Business Development Officer Carla Leibowitz welcomed the REDI Fellowship opportunity.

“This program is essential in enabling Australian physicians to be active participants in the development of novel medical technologies, providing the double benefit of ensuring they are built to address the needs of Australian patients and also generating local expertise in these new fields. We are delighted to be working with A/Prof Millar in the areas of digital and computational pathology,” said Ms Leibowitz.

For Dr Shu, the REDI Fellowship provides the opportunity to extend her research interests.

“This opportunity enables me to develop and drive my research interest in osteoarthritis and apply these laboratory skills in a pre-clinical capacity, which enables research translation rather than having the valuable data remain solely in the research-publication loop. I am very excited to be learning from and collaborating with Regeneus as their mentoring program will guide me on the pathway between bench and bedside,” said Dr Shu.

Regeneus Chief Executive Officer Karolis Rosickas said Dr Shu’s expertise in osteoarthritis pathophysiology, animal models and immune cell analysis, is highly applicable to Regeneus’ current focus and the REDI Fellowship would be invaluable.

“As we progress toward Phase II trials, Dr Shu’s involvement in evaluating the beneficial effects of our lead technology platform Progenza™ – which utilises a combination of adipose derived stem cells and their bioactive secretome to treat knee osteoarthritis – is highly valuable. We are also pleased to provide Dr Shu with the opportunity to upskill in the key commercial aspects of therapeutic development that Regeneus undertakes,” said Mr Rosickas.

The REDI Fellowship Program can provide up to $250,000 per Fellow, per annum.

Applications remain open on a continuous basis until either the funds are fully committed or until October 2023, whichever is first. Applications are reviewed three times annually, with the next submission deadline of 1 November 2021.

MTPConnect deploys the $32 million REDI program supported by the Medical Research Future Fund. The four-year initiative is delivering system-wide improvements to skills development and training programs for the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector workforce.

Find out how to apply for a REDI Fellowship here.