Location, location, translation: key messages from the Biotech Development Lab

Last Friday, BioMelbourne Network hosted the Molecules, Medicines and Markets Biotech Development Lab. One of our volunteers, Emma Wanicek, wrote the following summary of the event. Emma is a Research Assistant in the HIV Neuropathogenesis Laboratory in the Chronic Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases (CIID) Program at the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences at RMIT University.

Opening the inaugural BioMelbourne Biotech Development Lab conference, Andrew Wear, the Director of Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals for the Victorian Government, focused the topic of discussion toward Melbourne’s strengths and highlighted the biomedical research sectors successes in achieving more than 40% of NHMRC funding. However, in the age of advancing research and tighter regulations, we need to work toward bridging the gap in our commercialisation strategy and collaborate on a global scale.

Australia, the land of siloed academia and insufficiently productive drug discovery, is readying for a dramatic change toward an alignment to lift the drug discovery ecosystem by aligning academia and the pharmaceutical industry. Necessary to spur this transition and stay globally competitive, Dr Anand Gautam, Head and Senior Director of External Science and Innovation (ANZ and SE Asia), highlighted the need to ‘work to our strengths, develop collaborations, and have clear differentiation and external expertise’. Further to this, Prof. Trevor Perrior, the Chief Scientific Officer for Domainex, suggested that an industrialised approach to R&D would favour growth. Working toward the same goal, the development of bio-clusters involving the amalgamation of pharma, academia, private capital, CROS and the government converging on the same subject would aid complimentary biological insight with commercialisation.

In order to grow and shape the biomedical landscape, Victoria needs to work to its strengths and foster strong collaborations. Only in this innovative ecosystem can we then achieve our ultimate end goal – to better patient lives and health outcomes.



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