Author: Richard Seyb

Collaborate + Connect + Commercialise

The Melbourne Biomedical Precinct is partnering with industry to help scientists fast track their research and their impact through a series of networking events.

The aim of the events is two-fold: equip scientists with information and skills to translate and commercialise their discoveries and secondly introduce them to people who can make that dream a reality, including investors and industry experts. The events feature a facilitated guest speaker and Q&A presentation, followed by a networking opportunity.

Close to 100 scientists, academics and business development managers from the Precinct attended the first event in late 2017. Dr Glenn Begley, CEO BioCurate, shared with the audience his experience of spending 15 years working in the USA, consulting for biopharma in both start-up and large company environments.

Read more about our next networking event.

Boost for biomedical precinct

The new Parkville Station, part of the Metro Tunnel Project, will open doors for the acclaimed Melbourne Biomedical Precinct.

Made up of 30 hospitals, medical research institutions, biomedical organisations and universities largely located to the north of the central city, the precinct employs around 34,000 people and educates more than 7000 students annually.

The precinct partners, some in operation for more than 160 years, have been at the forefront of improved outcomes in areas such as infectious diseases and immunology, neurosciences including mental health, cancer, child health and healthy ageing.

Dr Gareth Goodier, Executive Chair of the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct Office, said having a new train station in the heart of the precinct will open up access for patients, visitors, staff and students.

‘The city shaping Metro Tunnel Project offers significant opportunities for the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, including the potential to accommodate growth and to develop infrastructure and services,’ Gareth said.

‘The station also includes plans for new surrounding public spaces, retail and hospitality.

‘Combined, these will mean the precinct is a more accessible, pedestrian friendly environment and a more attractive place to work and study.’

The Victorian Government has identified medical technologies and pharmaceuticals as one of six priority areas, with potential to create highly-skilled, secure jobs and to drive economic growth.

‘Innovation clusters, districts or precincts within and across industries have become a priority and focus for cities, including Melbourne,’ Gareth said.

‘We also know that a young workforce prefers to congregate and work in vibrant neighbourhoods that are walkable, connected and offer choices in transport, housing and amenities.

‘This provides great opportunity for the precinct and recognises the need for us to work together to create and sustain an attractive and accessible environment for everyone.’

This article originally appeared in the City of Melbourne’s Melbourne Magazine – February 2018.

Future Melbourne: Ambitious overhaul of Parkville health hub

Parkville could be transformed into a living and working city-within-a-city to lure both medical tourists and the “young geniuses” who can run international drug trials and develop new cures and treatments.

But the ambitious overhaul of the healthcare hub, led by Melbourne Health’s former chief, most likely won’t come without short-term pain and major traffic re-routing.

Plans for a private hospital for overseas patients, nearby subsidised housing for scientists, and redeveloping Royal Melbourne Hospital could involve closing Grattan St to traffic and shifting the Haymarket roundabout.

Dr Gareth Goodier, who this week started his three-year term as executive chair of the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, said he wanted to create an “ecology” that supported more researchers to have start-up companies, and giving them the funds and mentors to turn their promising discoveries into an attractive product for big investors.

“This is about creating wealth and jobs, as well as finding a cure for cancer,” Dr Goodier said. “We punch well above our weight in the science, but don’t do commercialisation well.”

About 10,000 researchers and 25,000 employees and students work already work in the 1km stretch, which includes six hospitals, seven research institutes and the university.

But first, Dr Goodier said, Victoria had to do more to attract the best of the best.

Just like a large proportion of new housing was set aside at a subsidy for researchers when Dr Goodier was chief executive of Cambridge University Hospitals Trust — an area that boasts 1000 biotechnology companies — he said the Arden redevelopment could be an ideal site for this.

The redevelopment of Royal Melbourne Hospital was possible on its present footprint, if land that houses the cogeneration power plant behind the Royal Women’s Hospital was used.

The new Melbourne Metro to run under Grattan St, which will require the road between Royal Parade and Leicester St to be dug up during construction, will bring both disruption and opportunity.

The RMH, Women’s Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre all support closing their section of Grattan St to traffic to create a thoroughfare for pedestrians and ambulances.

University of Melbourne’s deputy vice-chancellor of research, Professor Jim McCluskey, said rail construction could be co-ordinated with the planned rebuild of its medical building, which could include outpatient clinics.

The former Ford dealership at the roundabout, owned by the university, is being considered to house a multi-story private hospital or classrooms. “We want to make this as important and iconic a neighbourhood as the sports complex around the MCG, and the cultural and artistic precinct at Southbank,” he said.


This article originally appeared in the Herald Sun – November 11, 2016.