Innovation Week 2016

supporting early entrepreneurship and innovation

Innovation Week 2016 highlights collaborations

Innovation Week 2016 celebrated Australian innovation and entrepreneurship in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including health and medicine. A series of public talks, conversations, events and online activities encouraged discussion and debate while fostering an innovative, collaborative culture. Learn more about the exciting events held during Innovation Week 2016 below.

Supporting emerging innovation and startups in STEMM provides economic and social benefits, creates jobs of the future, and improves our quality of life. Innovation fosters a progressive, vibrant ecosystem in which to live and work.

Innovation Week 2016 brought together people from across the STEMM sector together to connect professionals, encourage collaboration and celebrate innovation success.


Genomics and Personalised Medicine: Have we arrived at our destination?

All enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet and two cutting-edge talks about genomics and personalised medicine – the future is now. This event was hosted by BioMelbourne Network at the historical Royal Society of Victoria. BioMelbourne Network CEO Dr Krystal Evans chaired the launch which included an official video Opening from the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Government and a formal welcome from Dr Margaret Hartley, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering


Annual Report 2013Professor Kathryn North, Director, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Professor Kathryn North has received a number of awards for her research including the GSK Australia Award for Research Excellence in 2011, the Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research in 2012 and the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to medicine in the field of neuromuscular and neurogenetics research in 2012. Professor North is Chair of the NHMRC Research Committee and a Member of the NHMRC Council. In 2013, Professor North was appointed Vice Chair of the Steering Committee and Co-Chair of the Clinical Working Group of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH). GA4GH is an international consortium of more than 200 institutions across 30 countries, focusing on the global sharing of genomic and clinical data and its application to improvement in patient diagnosis and treatment. Professor North shared the latest on the application and translation of genomic sequencing in the clinic to diagnose and treat genetic diseases.

ajeet-e1475128883820Associate Professor Ajeet Singh MD, CEO and Founder, CNSDose

Dr Ajeet Singh is an award-winning Australian Psychiatrist and Pharmacogeneticist with an international standing in the field. He is the CEO of CNSDose, a Melbourne based start-up which is a cloud-based medication guidance system enabling doctors and patients to reduce trial and error in prescribing anti-depressants. Dr Singh shared his innovative work to use genomics to develop personalised medicines to treat depression.


Launch Event Gallery

Creating communities to drive biomedical commercialisation: connecting talent in industry and academia

In Sydney, an expert panel discussion facilitated by Dr Melanie Thompson, General Manager of Education, Skills and Events, MTP Connect and Dr Alfredo Martinez-Coll, General Manager, Stakeholder Engagement, MTP Connect and Senior Business Development Manager at UNSW Innovations discussed ways to foster academia-industry networks, the importance of diversity in skills, culture and gender diversity, and partnering with pharmaceutical companies. This event was held at the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre at UNSW.

Expert Panellists:

k-connellKathy Connell – Director, New Ventures ANZ, Johnson & Johnson California Innovation Centre

Kathy is Director of New Ventures, Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) for Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Asia-Pacific and is responsible for implementing our strategy across Australia and New Zealand. Kathy has a clinical background and started her commercial career as the VP of Global Business Development for an Australian biotechnology company. Prior to joining Janssen, Kathy worked for Sanofi engaged in in-licensing late stage pharmaceutical assets. Kathy joined Janssen as Biotechnology Alliance Manager in 2011. Kathy is a registered psychologist and holds Post Graduate Diplomas in Health and Medical Law from the University of Melbourne, Psychology from Monash University and Bachelor degrees in Psychology (Swinburne University) and Applied Science from LaTrobe University. She is based in Sydney Australia.

d-kellyProfessor Darren Kelly – ‎CEO and Managing Director, OccuRx; Entrepreneur in Residence, ‎Brandon Capital Partners; Associate Dean, Innovation and Commercialisation, Director of Biomedical Research, University of Melbourne, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne

Darren has more than 25 years of management and research experience in the life sciences sector, particularly relating to drug development. He is Associate Dean (Innovation and Commercialisation), Professor and Director of Biomedical Research in the Department of Medicine at The University of Melbourne, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, and an Entrepreneur in Residence with Brandon Capital. He was a Founder, CEO and Director of Fibrotech Therapeutics, a company developing orally active anti-fibrotic inhibitors to treat underlying pathological fibrosis in kidney and heart failure. Fibrotech was sold to Shire Plc for a record $75m USD upfront including milestone payments up to $560m USD. He has published widely in pre-clinical novel interventions and in developing experimental models of cardiovascular disease. Darren was awarded the prestigious TJ Neale Award in 2009 for outstanding contributions to nephrology. He was also awarded best R&D company and best bioctehnology company deal 2014. Darren is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Ausbiotech, BioMelbourne network and a Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology.

m-millerDr Michelle Miller, Managing Director, Biotron

Michelle has spent over 20 years in the bioscience industry, with extensive experience in commercial development of early to mid stage technologies. She completed her PhD in the Faculty of Medicine at Sydney University investigating molecular models of oncogene-mediated cancer development. Her experience includes several years at Johnson and Johnson developing anti-HIV gene therapeutics through preclinical research to clinical trials. In 1999 she moved into the finance industry as an Investment Manager with a specialist bioscience venture capital fund, and undertook studies at the Securities Institute of Australia. She has been CEO and Managing Director of Biotron since early 2002.

dazDr Darren Saunders, Cancer Researcher and Senior Lecturer, UNSW and visiting fellow, Kinghorn Cancer Centre, The Garvan Institute

Darren is a cancer biologist at UNSW and visiting fellow at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Garvan Institute. He was a founding member and deputy chair of the Australian Academy of Science Early-Mid Career Researcher Forum, awarded an Australian Leadership Award and a NSW Life Scientist Research Award, and has held fellowships from the US Dept of Defense and Cancer Institute NSW. Darren’s research focuses on two key cellular stress adaptation mechanisms in cancer and neurodegeneration: maintenance of proteostasis via the Ubiquitin Proteasome System, and metabolic reprogramming. His work integrates various platforms to better understand genotype-phenotype relationships including proteomics, genomics, and metabolomics and developing creative technology-based approaches to visualizing and communicating complex data. Darren is an active science communicator, makes regular radio and TV appearances, and contributions to print and online media internationally.


Dr Sheila Donnelly, Senior Lecturer, Helmedix | University of Technology Sydney

A Senior lecturer within the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Faculty of Science, Sheila is course coordinator of Biotechnology and a member of the ithree Institute. Her research led to the discovery of a protein secreted by helminth parasites that modulates cells of the innate immune system, specifically, activating macrophages towards an alternative phenotype which has downstream effects on the host T cell response. At UTS Sheila’s research aims to understand the mechanisms by which helminth parasites successfully manipulate their host’s immune system; and to develop novel therapeutics for the treatment of autoimmune disease. Sheila has published widely and more recently been involved in commercialisation of her research findings in the areas of human health.

martijn-bDr Martijn Bijker, Founder, From Science to Pharma

Martijn Bijker is founder of the company “from SCIENCE to PHARMA” – the first online Medical Science Liaison (MSL) training company for professionals who want to move into a MSL role, but do not have any MSL experience.



Innovation from the university sector – to spin out or license?

Commercialisation of university-based discoveries in medical research is increasing in Australia and contention exists over whether forming a start-up company, or licensing to a more resourceful company, provides better outcomes for the inventor, the university and Australia’s economy. Expert panelists with experience in venture capital, angel investing, start-up companies, industry and universities, debated the merits and pitfalls encountered with each approach, and challenge mainstream thinking. This discussion was led by facilitator Michelle Gallaher, Co-Founder and Creative Director at The Social Science and Co-Founder, Women in STEMM Australia at the Monash College in Melbourne.

Expert Panellists

elaine-steadDr Elaine Stead, Managing Director of Venture Capital, Blue Sky

Elaine has worked for a number of years as a venture capitalist and management consultant to the venture and industry across Australia and the US. She is currently responsible for the management of the Blue Sky venture capital fund and portfolio. As an Investment Manager at CM Capital Investments, Elaine focused on investment origination, portfolio management as well as portfolio company performance. Elaine has also worked in strategic management consulting, with both NASDAQ and ASX listed and private companies based in Australia and the US. Originally trained as a stem cell biologist, Elaine has since spent the last decade within the innovation and investment spectrum, initially in technology commercialisation assisting public institutions and founders translate and commercialise their technology across a broad range of industry sectors including agriculture, healthcare and IT. Elaine has a strong academic foundation holding a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Adelaide.


Dr Chris Nave, Founding Partner, Brandon Capital Partners and Principal Executive, Medical Reserach Commercialisation Fund

Chris is a founding partner of Brandon Capital Partners and Principal Executive of the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund. Chris was previously Director of Commercialisation at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Manager of the biotechnology team at Melbourne Ventures and an Investment Manager for Uniseed. Chris has international experience with Leiras Pharmaceuticals in Finland, a wholly owned subsidiary of Schering AG, working for their Business Development group. He successfully moved companies to the US, securing investment from US investors for these companies. Chris was Chairperson of Fibrotech Therapeutics at the time of its successful sale to Shire and a Director of Spinifex Pharmaceuticals at the time of its sale to Novartis. He is currently a Director of OccuRx, Osprey Medical, PolyActiva, Global Kinetics Corporation and Cardiora. Chris has a PhD in Endocrinology and Physiology from the University of Melbourne and he has completed the Private Equity and Venture Capital Program at Harvard Business School.

anna_lavelleDr Anna Lavelle, inaugural CEO and Executive Director, AusBiotech

Anna was appointed the first CEO and Executive Director of AusBiotech in 2005. She also chairs and/or is a member of various Federal and State Government committees associated with biotechnology, including the Victorian Biotechnology Advisory Council, the Pharmaceuticals Industry Strategy Group, the R&D Tax Incentive Advisory Committee (all state and federal Ministerial appointments) and the Pharmaceuticals Industry Council. Anna was previously a Senior Executive with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, commencing in 1998 as Director responsible for Strategic Planning and Business Development. She has held positions of Chief Executive Officer of a public health organisation, Industry Lobbyist for a member organisation and commenced employment as an academic at Monash University, Melbourne. Anna holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of Melbourne.

julian-clarkDr Julian Clark, Head of Business Development, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

As Head of Business Development at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Julian is responsible for IP management, technology transfer, commercial collaborations, and opportunity development. Julian has more than 30 years of international and cross-cultural business experience in growing and leading technology, research and healthcare enterprises, large and small. Julian also operates his own consulting business, Julian Clark Consulting Pty Ltd., and has had senior executive positions in Sweden, Great Britain, Japan, North America, India and Australia, including being CEO of Pharmacia LKB Biotech (Uppsala, Sweden), Chairman/Managing Director of Biochrom (Cambridge, UK), and Chief Operating Officer of Faulding Pharma (Adelaide, Australia). Recently, he was the founding CEO of the Cancer Therapeutics CRC, a Director of Alchemia and Genera Biosystems. Currently, Julian is a Director of Catalyst Therapeutics, Cancer Trials Australia and BioGrid Australia. Julian has a PhD from the University of Glasgow and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia.

elane_125pxDr Elane Zelcer, Case Manager, Accelerating Commercialisation and Executive Director, BioConsult

Elane is a Case Manager with Accelerating Commercialisation, a Federal Government initiative providing expert assistance to researchers, entrepreneurs and inventors wanting to commercialise their technologies. Elane is also Executive Director of BioConsult which focuses on assisting companies to develop their intellectual property through strategic partnering, capital raising and collaboration. Elane has considerable experience in the Biotechnology sector, including Chief Executive Officer positions with various biotech companies and Montech, the precursor to Monash Industry Engagement & Commercialisatoin. Elane is also the National Convenor for Hadassah Australia’s AUSiMED program. Elane holds a PhD in Physiology.

daniel-grantDr Daniel Grant, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Industry Engagement, La Trobe University

Dan is Pro Vice-Chancellor for Industry Engagement at La Trobe University. Previously, he was the Head of Pfizer’s External Research and Development Innovation group for Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. He was responsible for identifying, evaluating and managing collaborative and licensing opportunities that align with Pfizer’s Worldwide R&D strategies. Prior to joining Pfizer, Dan was a senior business development manager at Melbourne Ventures, a member of the Investment Committee for Uniseed and a Senior Business Development Manager for Biocomm Services. Dan has sat on the board of the CRC for Mental Health and a number of biotechnology spin-out companies, and is a past Director of Research Australia. Dan has a PhD in Cardiovascular Physiology and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA).



The Hatchtech story: from innovation to commercialisation

With Hatchtech inking over AU$279M in 2015, Associate Professor Vern Bowles, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Hatchtech, shared his experience in commercialising an effective treatment for head lice.

vernAssociate Professor Vern Bowles, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Hatchtech

Vern is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Hatchtech Pty Ltd, a specialty pharmaceutical company developing Xeglyze® Lotion, a proprietary next generation head lice treatment. Founded in 2001, Hatchtech was the culmination of 15 years of Vern’s research career studying the role of ectoparasite proteases in parasite infections, parasite nutrition and immune evasion in the sheep blowfly. In September 2015, Hatchtech announced the signing of a commercialisation agreement with integrated pharmaceutical company Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (NYSE: RDY) for the rights of Xeglyze® Lotion in key territories.  If approved by the FDA, Xeglyze® will be available in the US in 2017. Vern is also an Associate Professor within the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from La Trobe University in 1983, and gained his PhD from the same institution in 1988.

“Content is King” and Other Myths Around Science Communication

Dr Andi Horvath shared her expertise at the Royal Society of Victoria discussing “Content is King” and Other Myths Around Science Communication.

andi-horvath_a_116x116Dr Andi Horvath, Media Advisor, Podcast Producer and Communications Trainer, The University of Melbourne

Dr Andi Horvath is currently a guest lecturer for Science in the Media, a Podcast producer and Pod Hub Coordinator for the University of Melbourne. Andi has a PhD in Medicine, an MBA and qualifications in Media and Science Communication. Andi won an international award for her podcast series Access All Areas made for Museum Victoria where she was a Senior Curator. Known as Dr Andi, she was a science producer and broadcaster on 3RRR for over 20 years and has also worked for ABC and SBSTV. Andi has produced exhibitions, videos, audio, public programs, training programs, blogs and articles for organizations including the University of Melbourne and CSIRO. A seasoned public speaker, Andi has lectured and tutored in Science Education, Science Communication and Science in Society.



Science in Public led a panel discussion with three outstanding scientists who have successfully used social media to build their profiles in science, and the profile of science in the community.  They shared their tips on how they made it work for them, what to post on what channels, which audiences you can reach, and how to deal with the trolls. This event was hosted at the Royal Society of Victoria.

This event featured researchers with a passion and talent for science communication:

socialalchemy-1024x682Dr Katie Mack, Astrophysicist, University of Melbourne (now at NC State University, USA) – Twitter @astrokatie

Dr Euan Ritchie, Ecologist, Deakin University – Twitter @EuanRitchie1

Dr Alan Duffy, Astrophysicist, Swinburne University – Twitter @astroduff




Accelerating Innovation at Universities and Partnering with Industry

Presented by the Carlton Connect Initiative, Melbourne Networked Society Institute and Melbourne School of Engineering, this workshop with Professor Ikhlaq Sidhu was for research scientists, faculty, students, and industry players keen to increase collaboration and value at the intersection of university and industry projects. Departing from the well-known “Bell-Labs Model”, there has been an evolution of how research is done that now includes aspects of use-inspired research, design, and even entrepreneurship. This workshop covered key issues the emerging models of industry engagement.

speakerProfessor Ikhlaq Sidhu, Chief Scientist and Founding Director of University of California Berkeley’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology

Ikhlaq Sidhu is the Chief Scientist and Founding Director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology. He received the IEOR Emerging Area Professor Award from his department at Berkeley. Prof Sidhu also founded the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership. He has been granted over 60 US Patents in networking technology, IP telephony, and mobile computing. He was awarded 3Com Corporation’s Inventor of the Year in 1999. Dr Sidhu also serves as a Senior Fellow of the Applied Innovation Institute and as a Venture Advisor at Onset Ventures, a leading Silicon Valley investment firm.

Startup Weekend Mackay

In 2016 ASIF welcomed the Startup Weekend Mackay to the program. This is a 54-hour event designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs.


Beginning with Friday night pitches, brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekend Mackay will culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations. Participants create working start-ups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurs. The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education.






Innovation Week 2016 was convened by the Australian Science and Innovation Forum chaired by Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea.

Supported by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering



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