Monthly Archives: March 2019

The rewards and challenges of biomedical start ups


13 February 2019 – The Peter Doherty Institute

Know your customer, secure your IP and build the right team were strong messages at the latest Melbourne Biomedical Precinct networking event, held in partnership with the BioMelbourne Network. The event, held at the Peter Doherty Institute, attracted an audience of around 200 people hungry to learn the secrets of successful biomedical start-ups.

Key note speaker Professor Mimi Tang, Scientific founder of Prota Therapeutics led the audience through her own experience. Professor Tang left a career spanning 25 years specialising in paediatric allergy healthcare and research to the very different world of venture capital and biotech start up in 2016.

“I really had to change the way I thought and look at this through the eyes of the investor,” Professor Tang said. “I am incredibly passionate about what I do and I know that patients are looking for a sustained long-term treatment, they don’t want to just manage their allergy with allergen avoidance and all the associated risks that come with this approach, they want remission and possible tolerance. This is a compelling proposition for both patient and investor.

“One of the best pieces of advice I can give anyone is to secure your IP early – it’s fundamental to your success as a start-up and that takes planning as well as patience. Having strong IP is what makes your work investable. You need to wait until you get the IP before you publish – publishing before securing protection for your work is a common mistake that is made by researchers. You also have to balance filing your IP as soon as possible with having sufficient data to support your IP.”

Dr Harris Eyre Chief Medical Officer of CNSdose and Dr Liz Williams the Co-founder, Director & Chief Executive Officer of Hemideina joined Professor Tang in a discussion moderated by Dr Krystal Evans, CEO BioMelbourne Network.

Getting the right support team in place is seen as critical to a start-up’s success.

“We worked really hard to get the right people on our board,” said Dr Williams. “Australia does not have an overabundance of specialists in biomedical start-ups, so the good people are in high demand. Using your networks, and groups such as the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct and the BioMelbourne Network can help you identify high calibre advisors.”

“You also need to leverage your connections with folks from diverse areas of expertise,” said Dr Eyre who moved to the US to take his company’s initial product through the commercialisation process. “Texas Medical Center is just like the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, just on a larger scale. In these precincts you have plentiful access to patients, researchers, executives, investors, mentors and others who can help guide you.”

Alex Kamenev, Deputy Secretary, Precincts and Suburbs in the newly created Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions introduced the panel and highlighted the role that the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct plays in driving cultural change in the sector.

“Government recognises precincts as key to growth in jobs and investment in our state and we know that while we’ve always delivered incredible biomedical research, healthcare and education, we’ve been slower to embrace commercialisation,” he said.  “Now’s the time for the rubber to hit the road and make the most of what we have right here before us and change our thinking to be more commercially focused. It takes courage, like that we see in the panel members before us today to change the thinking and get even greater impact from both an economic, as well as a patient perspective”

The Collaborate+Connect+Commercialise networking series aims to connect industry and the biomedical sector to create greater commercial and patient impact.

Five Key Principles of Commercialisation

  • Identify an unmet need
  • Demonstrate proof of concept
  • Protect your discovery with IP
  • Establish strategic partners/investors
  • Create impact

Source: NHMRC –The How, What, When and How of Commercialisation

MBS scholarship for woman in leadership role

MBS Leading for Organisation Impact: The Looking Glass Experience program

The Melbourne Business School is offering an open programs scholarship for a woman working within a VCCC partner organisation with a focus on cancer to participate in their Leading for Organisational Impact: The Looking Glass Experience program. This scholarship opportunity is in honour of Jo Leonard who was a longstanding and valued member of the Melbourne Business School. 


Jo first commenced with the Melbourne Business School in 1999 supporting Executive Education programs as a facilitator and executive coach.  She worked with many public and private sector clients including the highly successful BHP Billiton Graduate Program where she was instrumental in its delivery for a number of years.  Jo was also a key facilitator and feedback specialist on the MBS Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) programs, her favourite being Leading for Organisational Impact, Executive Education – MBS.  

Anyone who had the privilege of knowing Jo will know she was incredibly professional and highly dedicated to her work.  She had an engaging personality, a curious mind and a very special warmth.  Colleagues and participants alike benefited from her passion and focus on developing others.  

In August 2016, Jo lost her battle to ovarian cancer – leaving her husband, her teenage daughter and son and a huge network of family and friends. This scholarship has been established in her honour, is valued at $11,900 and is supported by the Melbourne Business School.


This five day program designed by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)®, shows you how to progress from everyday management tasks to impacting your company as a whole. This includes making tough calls and trade-offs to considering organisation-wide opportunities and bridging gaps that limit growth. It will also uncover your strengths and weaknesses enabling you to gain the confidence to address them and move forward as a senior leader. 

Who is this for? 

  • Experienced senior managers who lead a function or division
  • Executives with local, regional or global responsibility 

Key benefits:

By the end of the program journey, you will:

  • Gain an enterprise-wide perspective
  • Build strategic aptitude
  • Develop decision-making skills
  • Assess investment/funding opportunities
  • Collaborate cross-functionally
  • Improve influencing and negotiation skills. 

Applications are due Monday 25 March 2019 by 5pm. 

Completion of the attached application form and a copy of your CV should be compiled into a single PDF and submitted to Erin Turner,

Applicants would need to be available on one of the program commencement dates below. The successful applicant would need to confirm which program date they would like to attend. You must attend all five days.  

5-9 August, 2019
21-25 October, 2019
25-29 November, 2019

This scholarship is exclusively offered to a woman in a leadership role within a VCCC alliance partner organisation. For more information regarding the program read more here or please contact:

Erin Turner
VCCC Education Program Coordinator
P: 03 8559 8584

This article appears courtesy of our proud precinct partner, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s new state-of-the-art Acute Stroke and Neurology Ward opens its doors

Kelton Young sits in a wheel chair and cuts the ribbon to the new ward.
Kelton Young, cutting the ribbon, was the first patient to move to the new Acute Stroke and Neurology Ward on Level 8B.

Funded by The Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation, with proceeds from The Royal Melbourne Hospital Home Lottery, the new ward features a mix of single and double rooms, natural light, lifting tracks above beds and a dedicated rehabilitation gym.

The new ward has capacity for 31 beds including eight high acuity beds for patients who require increased monitoring.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Director Neurology, Professor Mark Parsons, said the new ward is cutting edge, designed to cater for the increasing number of strokes cared for at the hospital.

“The RMH is the leading stroke centre nationally, and we would be in the top 10 worldwide for providing world-class stroke care,” Professor Parsons said.

“Each year the RMH team treats around 1000 strokes and the numbers are increasing annually.

“The new purpose built stroke ward is the last piece in the comprehensive stroke service we provide to our community. The RMH is already leading in stroke care and research, we are a statewide provider for endovascular clot retrieval and we have Australia’s first Mobile Stoke Unit.

“When time is brain, we are always striving to provide the best, fastest stroke care available. The RMH is one of the few stroke centres in the world to do this within 20 minutes of patients arriving in the emergency department.”

The Acute Stroke and Neurology’s Nurse Unit Manager, Corey Swift, said the new ward now provided patients with something they haven’t had in Melbourne before, a dedicated unit specialising in the care of stroke, including rehabilitation.

“We treat the sickest of the sick, as far as a stroke patient goes,” Corey said.

“The unit will help us give the best care to our patients and provide them with the best outcome for rehabilitation and for getting them home.”

Recognising the signs and symptoms of a stroke can save a life. Remember FAST – F is for face drooping, A is for arms (can I lift them) S is for speech (slurring) and T is for time, it’s critical to get help as soon as possible. Stroke is a medical emergency, always call 000.