Monthly Archives: January 2019

The challenges and rewards of a biomedical start-up – 13 Feb

Pink banner logo for the Melbourne Biomedical precinct networking series
Pink banner logo for the Melbourne Biomedical precinct networking series

One of the hardest parts of a start-up is getting started, so we’ve brought together three of Melbourne’s brightest biomedical entrepreneurs to share their experiences, tips and advice. Here’s your opportunity to hear from these entrepreneurs who have taken the journey from great idea to business reality.

Professor Mimi Tan, Dr Harris Eyre and Dr Liz Williams are all experts in their fields. They are also researchers who know that having an idea is one thing, translating that idea and building a sustainable and profitable business to deliver better patient outcomes takes resilience, strength and an overabundance of patience.

Alex Kamenev, Deputy Secretary, Precincts and Suburbs will facilitate a conversation with our guests.

  • Professor Mimi Tang has more than 20 years’ experience in the investigation of basic immunological mechanisms underlying allergic disease pathogenesis, and correlation of mechanistic studies with clinical outcomes. As a physician and researcher specialising in the care of children with allergic disorders she is inventor, Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Prota Therapeutics, a clinical stage company developing the probiotic immunotherapy platform technology for the treatment of food allergies.
  • Dr Harris Eyre, MBBS, PhD, is a precision mental health executive. Harris is CMO of CNSdose a leading company specialising in advanced genetic testing to guide medication treatments.
  • Dr Liz Williams has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge, and was awarded the BioMelbourne Network Emerging Woman in Leadership Award, 2018. She is the Co-founder, Director & Chief Executive Officer of Hemideina, a company revolutionizing hearing treatment with the Hera Wireless Implant – a miniature cochlear implant that removes the lifestyle restrictions of the current treatment.

Registration will commence at 4.45pm for a 5pm start.

The panel discussion will be followed by networking from 6pm. Refreshments will be provided.

The event will be held at our proud precinct partner, The Doherty Institute

BioBreakfast – Innovation Challenges in Healthcare – 19 Feb 2019

BioMelbourne Network BioBreakfast logo

BioBreakfast:  Innovation Challenges in Healthcare – Tuesday 19th February

BioMelbourne Network BioBreakfast logo
Shaping the Future of Health
BioBreakfast Series
Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Innovation Challenges in Healthcare

Guest speakers: Sue Shilbury, Chief Executive Officer, Austin Health
Craig Bosworth, Group Director, Strategy & Marketing, Cabrini Health

Announcing the BioMelbourne Network 2019 “Shaping the Future of Health” BioBreakfast series, sponsored by the Victorian State Government (DJPR), to lead the conversation in aligning industry growth and economic development with future healthcare needs.

This series of quarterly events brings together players across the health value chain, from industry, research, health, finance and government to explore ways in which Victoria can foster an innovation driven, technology enabled healthcare system. 
Join us for our first event in February 2019 “Innovation Challenges in Healthcare” with hospital executives Sue Shilbury, Chief Executive Officer, Austin Health and Craig Bosworth, Group Director, Strategy & Marketing, Cabrini Health. Our speakers will share their views on innovation challenges, insights into future service delivery aspirations, market players and sector trends, and explore ways to bring about change in the healthcare system to address unmet patient needs.  

When Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Time  7:20 am – Registration 7:30 am – Networking breakfast  8:00 am – Presentations and discussion  9:00 am – Ends
Where The Cube, ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne
Cost BioMelbourne Network Members: $65;
Non-members: $130 (prices include GST)

Check if your organisation is a member      

Sue Shilbury, Chief Executive Officer, Austin Health
Sue Shilbury joined Austin Health as CEO in early 2017, following a three-decade career in the New South Wales (NSW) public health sector. Sue was General Manager of North Shore Ryde Health Service where she oversaw the delivery of NSW Health’s largest capital works program, the $1.3 billion redevelopment of Royal North Shore Hospital. Sue has also held roles as General Manager of the Central Hospital Network (South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Health District), Director of the Division of Critical Care and Surgery at St George Hospital, and Director of Clinical Services at the Royal Hospital for Women.      

Craig Bosworth, Group Director, Strategy & Marketing, Cabrini Health
Craig joined Cabrini in July 2018. His experience covers a range of sectors across primary and tertiary healthcare, compensable and private health insurance, aged care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Having graduated as a physiotherapist, he became a Director of Olympic Park Sport Medicine Centre before working for a number of organisations including TAC, Worksafe, Medibank Private, Healthways Australia and Healthdirect Australia. He was Chief of Staff to the Federal Minister for Health, Aged Care and Sport from 2015 to 2016. Craig holds an MBA from Melbourne Business School, and has studied at Wharton (finance), Stanford (strategy) and Monash (health economics) universities. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is a past Director of Comcare, Multicultural Arts Victoria and the NSW Ministerial Advisory Board for Preventative Health.

This article appears courtesy of our proud precinct partner, BioMelbourne Network

Prof Bruce Kemp receives Australia Day honour

Professor Kemp smiles at the camera, wearing a blue button up shirt
Professor Kemp smiles at the camera, wearing a blue button up shirt
Professor Bruce Kemp, AO

Professor Bruce Kemp, Head of SVI’s Protein Chemistry and Metabolism Unit and one of Australia’s most respected biochemists, has been honoured as an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Professor Kemp was included in this year’s Australia Day Honours List for his distinguished service to biomedical research, particularly to the study of protein phosphorylation. The honour falls on the 30th anniversary of Bruce’s arrival at the Institute.

Bruce says, “I consider this award a recognition of the team effort over many decades – this wouldn’t have been possible without the postdocs, students and colleagues who have been involved along the way – my success has really been the result of a lot of hard work by many others.”

Bruce’s career has been based around his interest in a particular type of protein called a kinase. There are many different types of kinases within the cell, responsible for directing the activity, localization and overall function of many other cellular proteins.

Bruce’s interest in kinases developed during his PhD studies at Flinders University in the 1970s. At the time, the field was nascent – although the first kinase had been identified in the 1950s, not much was known about how they worked. Bruce’s PhD project on kinases within immune cells called lymphocytes meant that he was one of the first people in the world to be working on the role that a specific kinase played within an individual cell. He describes himself as having been hooked from then – over almost half a century he has contributed much to our knowledge of the predominant role kinases play in nearly every aspect of cell biology.

In the early 1990s, Bruce’s group was the first in the world to sequence a protein called 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase (AMP kinase). AMP kinase is now known to orchestrate the cell’s energy levels. Like a conductor directing musicians to play faster or slower, louder or softer, AMP kinase can dampen processes that use energy when energy levels within the cell fall, and activate those that produce it to ensure that adequate energy is available to keep the cell working. This central role in cellular energy control implicates it in diseases as diverse as cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and dementia. Bruce’s laboratory is now focused on harnessing the power of AMP kinase to find ways to treat these diseases.

SVI Director, Professor Tom Kay, says “Bruce is an outstanding scientist whose original research has had a major enduring impact on our understanding of signal transduction within the cell. Through his lifetime of exemplary leadership and mentorship, and his continuing research, Bruce has been an exceptional contributor to Australian medical research. We congratulate him on this honour and thank him for his exceptional service to the Institute over the last 30 years.”

This article appears courtesy of our proud precinct partner, St Vincent’s Institute.

Professor Kathryn North appointed Companion to the Order of Australia.

Professor North laughs with a small girl

Congratulations Professor Kathryn North, on her appointment as Companion to the Order of Australia in this year’s Australia Day awards.

Professor Kathryn North, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

This honour recognises Kathryn’s national and international leadership in genomic medicine, her contribution to the advancement of genetic, neurological and child health and mentorship of young researchers.

Kathryn has dedicated her life to improving genetic diagnoses, most recently in bringing together a consortium of more than 70 Australian institutions, patient advocacy groups and state-based genetics services into the Australian Genomics initiative, that aims to decrease diagnostic times, enable early intervention and improve access to treatment for people with genetic disorders.

Since taking the helm at MCRI in 2013, Kathryn has transformed Australia’s largest child health research institute into one of the world’s top five most successful child health centres. She now leads and nurtures our outstanding group of young scientists and clinician researchers with a focus on prevention and early intervention to bring health and medicine into the genomic and digital age and make precision medicine part of standard care for all Australians.

Since receiving an AM in 2012, Kathryn has only accelerated her efforts as a leader, motivator and advocate for precision child health

This article appears courtesy of our proud precinct partner, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Hot or Not: Trends for 2019 – 7 Feb 2019

logo for BioBriefing
logo for BioBriefing

What lies ahead for Melbourne’s biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceutical industry in 2019? BioMelbourne Network’s annual “Hot or Not” discussion explores the global trends for the coming year with 4 speakers each presenting a short “snap shot” of what is HOT and what is NOT going into 2019 in their area of interest and expertise.

Topics for discussion include:

AI & IP – Raffaele Calabrese, Patent Attorney, Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick 
Exosomes – Dr Ian Dixon, CEO & Founder, Exopharm Ltd (ASX-EX1) 
Consumer Health – Swisse Wellness 
JP Morgan conference insight – Market/Sector Trends – Sam Cobb, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Adalta

Thursday – 7 February 2019

3:45pm Registrations
4:00–5:25pm Presentations and Q&A
Networking until 6:30pm

Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick, Level 16, 333 Collins Street, Melbourne

BioMelbourne Network Members: $65
Non-members: $130
(prices include GST)
Check if your organisation is a member

Raffaele Calabrese, Patent Attorney, Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick

Raffaele has a background in electrical and electronic engineering, and a master’s degree in engineering specialising in information technology and telecommunications. He has had over ten years of professional experience in protecting inventions relating to ICT, software and engineering.

Raffaele began his intellectual property (IP) career in 2005 as a Technical Assistant with an IP firm in Adelaide. In 2007, he moved to Melbourne and joined a large IP firm, where he specialised in drafting and prosecuting patent applications in Australia and overseas. During this time, he also gained experience in assisting Australian and international clients with obtaining trade mark and design protection.

Raffaele’s background provides him with an in depth understanding of a wide range of electronic and mechanical inventions. He also has experience in protecting computer implemented inventions, including Fin Tech inventions, mining, energy and medical technologies.

Dr Ian Dixon, CEO & Founder, Exopharm Ltd

Dr Dixon brings to the Exopharm Board an extensive technical and entrepreneurial background in founding, building and running technology-based companies, in recognising the potential commercial value of early-stage drug development, and in understanding the challenges involved in drug development.

In 2011, Dr Dixon Co-Founded Cynata Inc, a company that is progressing the commercialisation of what has become the Cymerus technology of ASX-listed Cynata Therapeutics Ltd (ASX-CYP). 

Dr Dixon is also a non-executive director of Noxopharm Ltd (ASX-NOX); a founder of Nyrada Inc.; a co-inventor of Nyrada drug NYX-330; founder of Genscreen Pty Ltd (2003-2018) and; former director of Cell Therapies Pty Ltd. Dr Dixon currently also serves as a part-time executive director of Medigard Ltd (ASX:MGZ). 

Dr Dixon is a co-inventor of the LEAP Technology now owned by Exopharm.

Dr Ian Dixon has a PhD in biomedical engineering from Monash University, an MBA from Swinburne University and professional engineering qualifications.

Sam Cobb, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Adalta

Sam is the founding CEO of AdAlta and has over fifteen years’ experience in business development and commercialisation of early stage scientific technologies. 

Prior to AdAlta, Sam was the Business Development Director at the Co-operative Research Centre for Diagnostics. Sam has also worked for the biotech start up companies Sensologix Inc and Nephrogenix Pty Ltd and at the University of Queensland’s technology commercialisation companies, Uniquest Pty Ltd and IMBcom Pty Ltd. 

Sam has a Bachelor of Science, a Masters of Intellectual Property Law and has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course.

World Cancer Day special Monday Lunch Live – 4 Feb 2019

Patient-driven clinical trial offers new hope for rare cancer diagnosis

Marking World Cancer Day on 4 February, this special Monday Lunch Live event highlights new research into rare cancers – which collectively cause more cancer deaths in Australia than any single cancer type.

An innovative patient-driven clinical trial is exploring genomic profiling of rare cancers. The NOMINATOR trial is the result of a unique collaboration between a clinician-scientist and patient advocate. The trial investigates whether profiling can improve diagnosis and treatment of people with rare cancers.

Reflecting the I Am and I Will theme of World Cancer Day, Professor Clare Scott – clinician-scientist from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and medical oncologist at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre; the Royal Women’s Hospital and Royal Melbourne Hospital – will be joined by Kate Vines, Founder and Head of Patient Care at Rare Cancers Australia. They will share their story of collaboration and commitment in developing the promising NOMINATOR trial.

Professor Clare Scott

Professor Clare Scott holds the Chair in Gynaecological Cancer at the University of Melbourne and is the Joint-Head of Clinical Translation and Laboratory Head at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and Medical Oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Royal Women’s and Royal Melbourne Hospitals.

She has 20 years’ experience in clinical cancer genetics, including working in Familial Cancer Clinics. Her clinical expertise is in gynaecological cancers and coordinating care for patients with rare cancers. Her laboratory focuses on drug resistance in ovarian cancer and other rare cancer subtypes, generating patient-specific models to understand and avert resistance to targeted therapeutics, in particular, PARP inhibitors.

Professor Scott chairs the COSA Rare Cancer group and has been awarded clinical fellowships from the Victorian Cancer Agency (2011, 2017), the Sir Edward Dunlop Cancer Research Fellow from the Cancer Council Victoria (2012) and the Jeannie Ferris Recognition Award in Gynaecological Cancer from Cancer Australia (2018).

Kate Vines

Kate Vines is the Founder and Head of Patient Care for Rare Cancers. In 2012 Kate and her husband Richard established Rare Cancers Australia, a patient advocacy group whose mission is to improve the lives and outcomes for rare cancer patients.

The event will also feature a patient experience perspective of the NOMINATOR trial.

Monday 4 February 2019

VCCC Building, Level 7 Lecture Theatres

Light lunch served from 12.30pm

Presentation from 1-2pm

Book now

Can’t join us in person? Join us online via our Webinar

The article is courtesy of our proud precinct partner, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

2019 Melbourne Health Accelerator calls for applications

Photo of surgeons operating with the Melbourne Health Accelerator logo in the top left hand corner
Photo of surgeons operating with the Melbourne Health Accelerator logo in the top left hand corner

Applications for the 2019 Melbourne Health Accelerator (MHx) cohort are now open!

The MHx will allow 12 start-ups to physically relocate to the Royal Melbourne Hospital. The 2019 MHx cohort will run for 13 weeks between April 8th – July 5th 2019 and will require a time commitment of 2-3 days each week from at least one founder.

The MHx program involves:

· A semi-structured curriculum to support cohorts through the healthcare accelerator
· Networking with the broader Melbourne Health community of clinicians, researchers and executives
· Mentoring from commercialisation experts
· Engagement with successful health-tech entrepreneurs
· Access to a database of clinical information and case studies through our partnership with the Health Roundtable
· Opportunity for exposure and possible funding through pitch events, invitational local and international exchanges and exhibitions.

MHx welcomes applications from early stage start-ups companies operating between Minimum Viable Product and pre-Series A (in exceptional circumstances start-ups at idea stage could be considered).

Vaccines in the 21st Century – 14 Feb 2019

External photograph of the Doherty Building

On Thursday, 14 February, the Doherty Institute will host an all-day symposium on Vaccines in the 21st Century. Keynote speaker Professor Gagandeep Kang, Executive Director of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, India, will join a series of distinguished speakers from within the Institute and around Melbourne. Professor Kang will speak on The rotavirus vaccine story: developing and evaluating vaccines in India. The symposium will provide an overview on major vaccines that are recently licensed, in late stage development, or subject to ongoing research, for infectious diseases including rotavirus, influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.

This is a free event, but registration is essential. 

External photograph of the Doherty Building


Professor Kang received her training in medicine and microbiology at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India where she is Professor of Microbiology. Currently she is on sabbatical as the Executive Director of the Translational Health Science Technology Institute for the Government of India. She works on enteric infections in children, particularly on transmission and immune responses, in order to design effective interventions.  Current studies include active hospital and community based surveillance and clinical trials of new and existing vaccines, with use of molecular based assays to study the diversity of pathogens and the immune response of children with viral and parasitic enteric infections.

The rotavirus vaccine story: developing and evaluating vaccines in India

India’s vaccine industry provides the majority of vaccines used in national immunization programs globally, and this is something to be proud of, but these vaccines were developed elsewhere and we compete with low prices and large volumes.  In 2016, a vaccine made in India and tested and developed mainly in India, was introduced into the national program. This is the oral rotavirus vaccine, derived from an Indian strain, and tested over two decades before finally being licensed and used for India’s children. Subsequently, a second vaccine was also developed in India and both vaccines are now pre-qualified and being tested in Africa.

However, oral rotavirus, polio and cholera vaccines are less immunogenic and less effective in children living in resource-poor regions of Africa and Asia. The lower efficacy of multiple oral vaccines in similar settings suggests there may be common mechanisms that limit immunity induced by oral vaccines in such environments. 

In studies on oral rotavirus vaccines (in India, we have investigated the role of maternal antibodies, the presence of bacterial and viral pathogens, the intestinal microbiota, intestinal inflammation and the systemic and mucosal immune response in children from lower socio-economic status families. The ability to apply new investigative approaches to carefully conducted clinical studies in resource-poor settings can provide new insights into the heterogeneous performance of oral vaccines.

This article is sourced from our proud precinct partner, the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

Baker Institute introduces gender equity fellowship to support women scientists to stay in workforce

As she was considering the merits of returning to full-time work as a scientist, Stephanie Yiallourou found herself wondering about school drop-off.

Although holding a meeting before 9:30am would not ruffle feathers among her male colleagues, the prospect of cradling a phone with her shoulder while getting her boys ready for the day was unappealing.

And so was giving up her profession like the many female scientists who have felt they could only be devoted to one thing.

But unlike her contemporaries, Dr Yiallourou was not forced to make the choice between a career and her family, thanks to the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute where she works.

The 37-year-old scientist is one of the institute’s gender equity fellows and the beneficiary of a suite of new measures to make it easier for women to stay in science.

“Without this support I would probably have fallen into the statistic of leaving research at this stage of my career,” Dr Yiallourou said.

As part of the new measures at the Baker Institute, meeting times are now family friendly to ensure parents do not feel the squeeze and the cost of a carer is covered if women scientists attend a conference.

There is also a $150,000 gender equity fellowship and a $10,000 grant for a research assistant to allow women to continue their work while they take maternity leave.

The hope among scientists like Dr Yiallourou is that it will encourage women to come back to work after having children.

“We know the statistics,” she said.

“We know women leave research and we know that more males than females obtain the project grants and things like that.

“So if women can obtain a level of equity with males, which is what this fellowship provides, then our future as researchers is looking much brighter.”

This article is courtesy of our proud precinct partner, Baker Institute

Lowitja Institute call for abstracts

Lowitja Institute logo


The deadline for abstracts for the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference is only a week away!

Make your submission to the Lowitja Institute by Friday 25 January 2019 to share your solutions-focussed research and programs with First Nations leaders, researchers, health and policy professionals, community representatives and our non-Indigenous colleagues from around the world.

To find out more and to submit your abstract visit

The Lowitja Institute logo

Advanced Analysis of Linked Health Data Course – 11 – 15 Feb 2019

Logo for the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis who are conducting the Link Health Data Course
World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis

The WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis are holding a week-long course on Advanced Analysis of Linked Health Data. The course will be delivered by Professor David Preen, Chair in Public Health at the School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia.

The course will run from 11-15 February 2019, and will comprise lectures and technical sessions. The course is suitable for individuals that have completed the Introductory Analysis of Linked Health Data course (or have equivalent knowledge) and who are proficient users of STATA, SPSS or SAS. Exercise solutions will be provided for all three packages.

Further information on the course is available here.

Tickets are $3090 per person and can be purchased here.

This course is run at the Doherty Institute

Motor neurone disease breakthrough: Patient trial shows impressive clinical results

A new drug delays motor neurone disease progression and improves cognitive and clinical symptoms according to recently announced trial results.

Research at a glance: 

  • The copper-delivery drug CuATSM improved symptoms in MND patients over six months
  • Improvements were seen in lung function and cognition
  • Decline in motor disability was reduced in treated patients compared to standard-of-care patients
  • The researchers will begin a larger Phase 2 trial to confirm CuATSM’s effectiveness in motor neurone disease

A new drug developed by scientists at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience, and the School of Chemistry and Bio21 Institute at the University of Melbourne has dramatically improved clinical and cognitive symptoms of motor neurone disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Motor neurone disease is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease. Its key hallmark is the death of the brain cells that control muscle movements. This results in muscle weakness and eventually paralysis.

Patients usually die of respiratory failure within three years of diagnosis, and there are no treatments or disease-modifying therapies available.

In this dose-finding trial involving 32 patients, the group given the highest amount of the CuATSM compound showed improved lung function and cognitive ability, compared to the predicted declines observed in standard-of-care patients.

Further, treated patients showed a much slower overall disease progression as measured by a global disability score. The clinical trial was led by Professor Dominic Rowe at Macquarie University, and Associate Professor Susan Mathers at Calvary Health Care Bethlehem, and sponsored by Collaborative Medicinal Development Pty Ltd with support from FightMND.

Professor Ashley Bush, Chief Scientific Officer of Collaborative Medicinal Development and director of the Melbourne Dementia Research Centre, said “This is the first human evidence for a disease-modifying drug for motor neurone disease. It is a huge breakthrough, and we look forward to confirming the positive results in a larger study soon.”

Associate Professor Kevin Barnham of the Florey, Associate Professor Anthony White at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, and Professor Paul Donnelly and Associate Professor Peter Crouch from the University of Melbourne, developed and tested CuATSM over a 15-year period.

After showing its therapeutic potential for motor neurone disease in pre-clinical models, the researchers founded a company and licensed the compound to Collaborative Medicinal Developments to take the drug into human studies.

Professor Donnelly said, “It is gratifying to see such promising results made possible by collaborative fundamental research at the interface between chemistry and biology.”

The results were reported at the 29th International Symposium on ALS/MND in Glasgow by Dr Craig Rosenfeld, CEO of Collaborative Medicinal Development.

The researchers plan to begin enrollment for a larger, randomised, placebo-controlled double-blind Phase 2 trial in mid- to late 2019. This trial will test CuATSM’s effectiveness in motor neurone disease / amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a larger patient sample.

About the Florey:

The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health is one of the largest and highly respected brain research centres in the world. Its teams work on a range of serious diseases including stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and motor neurone diseases, depression and addiction. The Florey is a world leader in imaging technology, stroke rehabilitation and large population studies to improve patient care around the world.

About the Bio21 Institute:

The University of Melbourne’s Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute seeks to improve human health and disease and the environment through innovation in molecular life science and biotechnology, driven by collaborative research and dynamic interactions with industry. It is home to more than 700 research scientists, making it one of the largest biotechnology research centres in Australia. The Institute houses major analytical and imaging technology platforms providing world-leading capability to researchers in the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct.

About Collaborative Medicinal Development
CMD is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing innovative therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.  The Company’s lead drug, CuATSM, was licensed from the University of Melbourne and entered clinical trials in ALS and Parkinson’s disease in 2017 at leading clinical centers in Australia. The CMD team includes Craig Rosenfeld, MD (CEO), Kay Noel, PhD (COO), Ashley Bush, MD, PhD (CSO), and Jim Babcock (Chairman, founder of Cthulhu Ventures LLC, CMD’s founding investor). 

This article is courtesy from proud precinct partner, Bio21 Institute

Join the next TRaMx bootcamp – 11-12 Feb 2019

2018 successful applications gather and smile for the camera
2018 successful applicants gather and smile for the camera

TRaM are taking applications for TRaMx 2019

If you’ve been thinking about how you can have greater impact with your research, you’ve come to the right place. TRaM is now accepting applications for our first two TRaMx bootcamps of the year.

Designed to grow your understanding of research translation, TRaMx will accelerate your entrepreneurial thinking and research commercialisation, using practical frameworks and methodologies.

During the bootcamp, over two days, you will take a valuable first step toward research commercialisation by enhancing your entrepreneurial mindset, building commercial networks and engaging with customers to establish a clear process for commercialising your research with a group of likeminded go-getters.

TRaMx is open to both individuals and research teams. Students and staff from across the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct are strongly encouraged to attend.

What’s even better is that TRaMx bootcamp is provided at no cost to participants (hooray!). The fully catered TRaMx workshops are held at the TRaM Depot, Level 5, 204 Lygon Street, Carlton.

Applications are open now for our forthcoming 2019 TRaMx bootcamps, which will take place on 11-12 February and 21-22 February.

Registrations close 1 February 2019.

If you are a researcher who is looking to accelerate the impact of their research or gain commercial insights please register your interest here… and if you know of someone who is on the same wavelength, please forward this email to them! We really like making new friends.

Interested in mentoring opportunities with TRaM?
A key part of what we do is connecting the dots and making magic happen by introducing TRaM individuals and teams with others actively engaged in research commercialisation. If you would like to find out more information about becoming a mentor for TRaM19, please email TRaM’s Program Manager, Andrew Rowse, at

$25 million to bridge a vital gap in Australian drug discovery

Minsiter Hunt addressed a full auditorium to announce funding for the new Drug Discovery
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has today announced $25 million in funding to enhance Australia’s drug discovery capabilities at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s new Drug Discovery Centre. 

This significant investment is helping to overcome a challenge in Australian drug discovery by enabling the translation of world-class Australian biomedical research into lifesaving medicines for patients.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announces funding to establish the Drug Discovery Centre at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.
(Photo courtesy Brendan Rowswell)

The funding builds upon the Institute’s own $32.1 million investment in the Centre, as well as generous philanthropic and state government support.

Bridging a vital gap in Australian drug discovery

The Institute’s Drug Discovery Centre will offer the latest robotic equipment and expertise to researchers, so they can undertake ultra-high throughput chemical screening. This is a critical step in the drug discovery pipeline that allows researchers to identify the exact chemical compounds needed to develop medicines that treat disease.

Institute director Professor Doug Hilton thanked the federal government for recognising the importance of a Drug Discovery Centre for the whole Australian medical research sector that fills a vital gap in our drug discovery pipeline.

3D render of drug discovery tool
A 3D render of an ultra-high throughput screening
platform currently being installed in the Drug Discovery Centre

“In a landmark move for Australian medical research, the Institute has established a Drug Discovery Centre so that researchers in Australia can screen and pinpoint the exact chemical compounds needed to progress their basic research discoveries into new medicines.

“For many years the translation of world-class Australian research into new medicines has been hampered by a lack of capacity for drug development. This meant that many promising research discoveries were either never pursued, or researchers were forced overseas to develop their research into new therapies,” Professor Hilton said.

Increased capacity for developing new medicines

The Institute’s head of new medicines and diagnostics Associate Professor Guillaume Lessene said the injection of federal government funding would triple the Centre’s screening capacity over the next two years.

“The additional funding means we are now able to recruit additional highly skilled scientists and open the Centre up to the Australian medical research sector from June 2019,” he said.

Executive director of Children’s Cancer Institute Michelle Haber said a nationally-accessible Drug Discovery Centre would increase the probability of developing lifesaving medicines.

“The Drug Discovery Centre is a great example of how as a nation we can excel in health and medical research on the international stage.  The Centre’s accessibility to the whole sector will serve to increase Australia’s capacity for drug discovery, bringing hope to patients in Australia and around the world,” she said.

Proven track-record for translation

The Institute’s own contribution to the establishment of the new centre has come from philanthropic and state government support, as well as $32.1 million from the sale of royalty rights for venetoclax, an anti-cancer treatment based on a landmark research discovery made at the Institute in the 1980s. 

Professor Hilton said the Institute had a proven track-record for translating its research into health outcomes for patients.

“Venetoclax is a leading example of how patients can benefit from the translation of basic research discoveries made in Australia. While that medicine took 30 years to reach patients, we hope that our commitment to building a centre that enhances Australia’s capacity for translating basic biomedical research will serve to accelerate the process of drug discovery bringing future medicines to patients faster.”

An important investment

Minister Hunt said the $25 million contribution from the Coalition Government would help the innovative centre save lives.

“Our investment in this important Drug Discovery Centre will help researchers develop news drugs to treat both common and rare diseases and improve the quality of life of many Australians,” Mr Hunt said.

“Our Government’s contribution to this significant centre is through our landmark Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). The MRFF is an endowment fund, which will mature at $20 billion, providing a sustainable source of funding for vital medical research. It is the single largest boost in health and medical research funding in Australia’s history.”

The latest innovative technology

Thermo Scientific has been engaged to take the Institute’s small molecule screening capabilities and capacity to the next level. The Drug Discovery Centre has collaboratively designed three, highly flexible, expandable, ultra-high throughput screening platforms with Thermo Scientific that are currently being installed in the new centre.

Article courtesy of our proud precinct partner Walter & Eliza Hall website.