Cancer Therapeutics CRC signs agreement with global pharma heavyweight Pfizer

Cancer Therapeutics CRC (CTx) has signed a two-year research partnership and licensing deal with Pfizer. With this agreement, the global pharmaceutical gains the rights to two novel pre-clinical cancer programs that focus on proteins closely linked to the growth of solid and blood cancer. Exploring these programs could lead to new cancer treatments.

For these two programs, CTx received a signature payment of AUD$20M with the potential for up to AUD$648M for development and sales milestones, plus royalties on sales if program outcomes are commercialized.

“This deal, together with the three prior deals for CTX technology, has the potential to return a billion dollars to Australia. Funds that will help support the biomedical sector and that can be ploughed into new drug discovery programs”, said Brett Carter, CEO of CTx.

This partnership between the Melbourne-based CTx and NY-based Pfizer is the second significant preclinical licensing deal that CTx has completed with a major pharmaceutical company and adds significantly to the already impressive list of commercial achievements by CTx in recent years. The previous license with MSD (Merck in North America) was signed in January 2016.

BioMedVic congratulates its member CTx for reaching this agreement with Pfizer. BioMedVic’s Board is currently Chaired by Dr Warwick Tong, who until April 2018 was the CEO of CTx. Dr Tong is now CTx’s Advisor and Chair of its spin-out company CTx One. BioMedVic’s Board past Chair, Dr George Mortsyn, is also an Independent Director on the CTx Board.

More information can be found in the press release by Cancer Therapeutics CRC, and in the article published last Friday by the Australian Financial Review.

Lorne Infection & Immunity Conference 2019


Start planning now to attend the premier infection & immunity conference.

To be held from 20 – 22 February, registrations for the Lorne Infection & Immunity Conference 2019 are opening soon!

Find out more here.

New funding for Victoria’s health startup sector

BioMedVic’s CEO Jan Tennent is pleased to have contributed during the consultation phase in the lead up to the recent release of the State of HealthTech – Victoria report by LaunchVic.

Having examined what needed to be done to maximise the health startups sector in the state, the report’s findings underpin a decision by the Victorian Government to provide new funding, through LaunchVic, to accelerate the growth of Victoria’s health startups by supporting accelerator and education programs focused on the health sector – including medtech, biotech, pharma, health and ageing services and disability services.

Details of forthcoming Information Sessions as well as the Funding Guidelines and FAQ are available at


Launch – J&J Innovation Partnering Office at Monash

Innovation in Victoria is set to flourish as Johnson & Johnson, in collaboration with the Victorian Government and Monash University, launched a Victorian office for identifying, nurturing and accelerating the commercial development of early stage health care solutions sourced from research organisations across the state.

BioMedVic CEO Jan Tennent was delighted to be in attendance when the new Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office at Monash (JJIPO@MONASH) was officially opened on 15 February by Victorian Minister for Health Jill Hennessy MP.

JJIPO@MONASH will enable greater access by Victorian researchers and companies to the global expertise in the scientist research, investment, and commercialisation arms of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, which span pharmaceuticals, medical devices and consumer products.

The commitment from Johnson & Johnson is a testament to the world-class health and medical research capability in Victoria.

With a focus on generating healthcare solutions through partnerships, Johnson & Johnson Innovation already has research collaborations with a number of BioMedVic member organisations including Monash University, the University of Melbourne, RMIT University and St Vincent’s Institute. Building on these connections, the JJIPO@MONASH will act as a hub to “coordinate and upskill the Victorian life science community and to develop programs which will facilitate greater connectivity at both a state and global level,” said Pro Vice-Chancellor of Monash University (Enterprise) Sarah Newton.

Jan Tennent said the long term commitment was “great for research, great for industry, and great for Victorians and for people everywhere.”

Nature Index Melbourne Collaboration Map

We warmly invite you to explore the key connections that are at the heart of Melbourne’s reputation as a City of Science and Innovation.

BioMedVic is delighted to sponsor the online interactive research network map produced by Nature Index, which shows output and collaboration in high quality research between institutions in the greater Melbourne region. This updateable map is based on publications in the top natural science journals tracked by the Nature Index website (, which is an open access platform owned by Springer Nature, publisher of Nature, with data published under a creative commons license.

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It’s Our Time to Shine

biomed_research_vic_5069It’s time to celebrate – Victoria holds rank as Australia’s capital of health and biomedical research. But how will the sector evolve in 2017?

We recently learned that Victorian health and medical researchers, a majority from BioMedVic member organisations, secured over 40% of the NHMRC funding pie – and we celebrate this wonderful news wholeheartedly. Part of our success can be attributed to our well-established ability to work collaboratively in Victoria. One exemplar of this claim was the recent recognition of a longstanding collaboration between Jim McCluskey from the University of Melbourne and Jamie Rossjohn from Monash University. An international recognition was the Nature Index ranking Melbourne as one of the 10 centres around the world with the most intra-city research partnerships in 2015.

But we mustn’t rest on our laurels.

While it’s no secret that Melbourne thrives on collaborations and is inspired by innovation, we need to share not only our research infrastructure and skills, but our voice – particularly to government. A collaborative culture is needed to tackle the big challenges head-on, and to ensure our sector shines brightly and to its full potential. Because while we hear of grand political gestures, we need our combined expertise to come together to future-proof these plans.

BioMedVic has strong ties with the State Government which we use to advocate on behalf of our Members. We offer leadership in the sector and a robust connection to government decision-makers which withstands the pressures of short-term political cycles.

I want to remind Members that a collective voice is more powerful than that of any single member. This year, we saw just how powerful this voice can be.

In the run-up to the last state election, we met with policy makers from both parties, advocating for a long-term, well-coordinated Victorian innovation plan and suggested methods for establishing state-wide priorities and governance arrangements.

This year, we saw our advocacy platforms paying off with BioMedVic’s vision that Victoria become a global leader in health and medical innovation featuring in the Victorian Health and Medical Research Strategy 2016-2020. This strategy responded to many of the recommendations submitted by BioMedVic, and we are proud to see a collective vision of our Members reflected.

Like the Western Bulldogs, BioMedVic is going for back-to-back performance in 2017.

I sincerely thank you for your support this year and wish you all the best for the festive season, and hope that you return refreshed and inspired for the New Year.

 Jan Tennent

Inspired to Innovate

Academic researchers, board directors, investment leaders and business development managers were treated to an engaging talk on the future of innovation in Australia on the 18th of August at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.

GeraldChan1-1788-e1470627166678   Gerald_Chan_talk

Gerald Chan (left) inspired an attentive audience or innovation at Melbourne’s Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.

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Innovation Connect launches


BioMedVic and AusBiotech were pleased to launch Innovation Connect: a thought leader series bridging research and industry on Tuesday 21 June in Melbourne.

The first event in the series, “Accelerating Innovation: Browse, connect & engage with Victoria’s world-class research infrastructure”, featured the Victorian Platform Technologies Network (VPTN). This highly successful, sold out event hosted both industry and academia, and featured three case studies from facility and industry partners on how connecting with VPTN, Australia’s largest network of publicly-funded facilities, advances innovation in biotechnology:

  • Accelerating product development for scientific & medical analysis
    Dr Andrew Gooley – Chief Scientific Officer, Trajan Scientific and Dr Caroline Laverty – Manager at MATF, a VPTN member facility
  • Collaborating on advanced 3D printed titanium surgical implants
    Robert Thomson – Technology & Production Manager, Anatomics and Dr Leon Prentice – Group Leader at CSIRO, a VPTN member facility
  • Preventing neurodegenerative disease progression
    Colin Masters – Laureate Professor, The University of Melbourne; Dr Jack Parsons – Principal Scientist, Prana Biotechnology and Dr Nicholas Williamson – Facility Manager, Bio21 Institute, a VPTN member facility

The presentations were followed by a lively networking session where researchers and industry participants engaged over canapés and drinks.

Innovation Connect: a thought leader series bridging research and industry


AusBiotech and Biomedical Research Victoria (BioMedVic) are pleased to launch Innovation Connect: a thought leader series bridging research and industry.

Innovation Connect is series of thought-leader events to be held in Victoria, to facilitate and encourage engagement between researchers and industry. The event series will feature topics of mutual interest. Continue reading

Innovation is the new black… and Melbourne wears it well!

Such was the theme of my recent presentation at Deakin Edge in the final event of Innovation Week 2015. I used the opportunity to build on BioMedVic’s advocacy position that Victoria, and indeed Australia, needs a long-term science and innovation plan that has bi-partisan support, is well-coordinated, appropriately funded and overseen by a senior Minister.

With talk of “innovation” on the lips of so many lately, the scene was well and truly set for an optimistic response from the health and biomedical research sector to the invitation on 7 December from Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister Pyne to join the #IdeasBoom.

Fuelled by $1.1 billion of initiatives over 4 years, the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) will “drive smart ideas that create business growth, local jobs and global success”.

No doubt the devil will be in the detail, that is still to come, but BioMedVic applauds the statement as an excellent start and already the source of renewed confidence across the sector. Of particular note was:

  1. the prospect of a whole-of-government approach to innovation via a cross-cabinet committee chaired by the PM.
  2. establishment of Innovation and Science Australia, the new independent advisory body composed of experienced members with successful track records of investing in research and its commercialisation including Bill Ferris (chair) and Alan Finkel (deputy chair);
  3. establishment of a $250 million Biomedical Translation Fund; and
  4. investment of $1.5 billion in the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and $520 million for the Australian Synchroton.

Signing off now to head to the ‘sold out’ Melbourne briefing on NISA by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Many thanks for your support throughout 2015 and I look forward to working with you again in the new year.

We live in such exciting times!



(Pictures source: M.Evans-Galea)