$690,000 in funding for three life science projects

Wednesday, 10 October, 2018

$690,000 in funding for three life science projects

MTPConnect, the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Industry Growth Centre, has awarded $690,000 in funding to three key life sciences projects, in an effort to support researchers, improve collaboration with industry and open up international market opportunities.

The first of the projects, the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS), links PhD students with industry experts and aims to narrow the cultural gap between business and academia. Led by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences, IMNIS received funding as part of MTPConnect’s initial 2016 Project Fund Program. IMNIS MTP programs are now on offer in five states, across 17 organisations and involving around 300 PhD mentees.

“MTPConnect’s continued support with this new round of funding will take IMNIS to the next level by expanding its existing programs to include 10% of Australia’s PhD graduates in medical technologies and pharmaceuticals,” said IMNIS Executive Director Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea. “We’ll also be able to develop ways to offer programs to universities in regional Australia and explore virtual mentoring to extend our reach even further.”

The Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP), developed by the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders University in South Australia, was also a recipient of funds from MTPConnect’s 2016 Project Fund Program. The program has seen impressive results in developing new medical devices, streamlining the complex process of bringing new products to market and creating new commercial opportunities for traditional and local manufacturers in South Australia. It has recently expanded into Victoria, with support from the Victorian Government and LaunchVic.

“This new funding from MTPConnect will allow us to build on our successes in South Australia and pursue the expansion of the MDPP on a national scale,” said Professor Karen Reynolds, Director of the Medical Device Research Institute and the MDPP. “The support will allow us to formalise partnerships, establish a comprehensive national capability directory and create extensive training materials, with the aim to commence operations of a national MDPP in 2019.”

The third project, Asialink Business, is a new initiative that will assist Australian MTP companies realise commercial opportunities in Asia. The project will see development of two guides: ‘Digital Health in Indonesia’ and ‘Frugal Innovation in Medical Devices and Technologies in India’. It will also develop a report on the current levels of Asia-capability of boards and senior executives of ASX-listed healthcare equipment and services companies.

“The industry guides we’re producing with funding support from MTPConnect will be an invaluable resource for globally minded Australian MTP companies,” said Asialink Business CEO Mukund Narayanamurti. “By providing country- and sector-specific information, Australian MTP companies can better inform and facilitate their Asia expansion and in-country planning. Separately, assessing the Asia capabilities of ASX-listed MTP companies will more effectively enable bridging the gap between strategy and execution for these companies in the future in Asia.”

MTPConnect CEO Dr Dan Grant said the not-for-profit organisation is making a substantial contribution to the growth of Australia’s vibrant MTP sector and clinical trials ecosystem, with its Project Fund program having now invested a total of $15.6 million across 37 collaborative projects.

“We are working to forge stronger connections between research and industry, maximising opportunities for Australians to not only make scientific and technological breakthroughs, but to see them developed through the proof-of-concept stage and successfully commericalised,” he said.

“Each of these projects — IMNIS, MDPP and Asialink Business — is characterised by increased collaboration between research and industry, a focus on achieving commercial outcomes and building the capacity of Australia’s healthtech community to take its ideas and products to the world.”

Image credit: ©fabioberti.it/Dollar Photo Club

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