BioMedVic CEO Jan Tennent features in expert innovation panel at Melbourne Knowledge Week 2019

This year’s Melbourne Knowledge Week, organised by City of Melbourne, has revolved around the many topics that shape the future of the city. Together with issues of sustainability, diversity, democracy and innovative design, the week-long event explored the role that technology and innovation play in making Melbourne a better place.

Jan Tennent participated in the “Health research and technology in the Melbourne Innovation District” panel discussion held in the fabulous surrounds of the heritage-listed Meat Market in North Melbourne. Moderated by Siegi Schmidmaier (Silver Chain), the panel also gathered Sabeen Shaikh (COO, Medtech Actuator) and Roanne Innes (CEO, Somatrack) to discuss the role of innovation districts in forming, influencing and sustaining a positive city culture towards research and innovation. Jan highlighted the importance of networks such as Biomedical Research Victoria for linking researchers and clinicians with industry, which collectively enhances research translation and innovation, and for lobbying the sectors’ views on science policy and priorities with government.

For more information on the event, please visit this page.

L-R: Roanne Innes, Jan Tennent, Sabeen Shaikh and Siegi Schmidmaier
Photo by Melbourne Knowledge Week (@knowledgemelb)

MDPP welcomes innovation applications

The Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) is an ideas incubator that supports inventors to turn their medical or assistive device ideas into proven concepts. It provides early stage development support to help de-risk, refine and develop ideas into commercially and technically viable prototypes. They do this by partnering clients with a community of experts including end-users and clinicians, manufacturers, service providers and world-class research partners and specialist facilities.

Founded by Flinders University, the program has now launched in Victoria with the support of Victoria’s Start-Up agency Launch Vic.

MDPP welcomes enquires from inventors and companies at any stage, but specialise in early-stage technical product development support. To apply visit

For more information, visit and

MDPP is also looking for people interested in supporting the innovations by offering their expertise at workshops and on clients’ projects. Anyone interested in participating should contact Matthew Richardson (R&D Manager), or Zoe Kristall (Innovations Manager)

New research facilities at Bio21 Institute honouring Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis

BioMedVic CEO and Chair, Jan Tennent and Warwick Tong, were delighted to represent BioMedVic at the opening of the new research building at the Bio21 Institute of Molecular Science and Biotechnology.

The $46M new building hosts CSL’s Global Hub for Research and Translational Medicine, a model that will stimulate collaboration and innovation.

The building has been named in honour of Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis and incorporates Professor Margaret Sheil mass spectrometry laboratories.

Professor Millis was remembered in the speech given by former Victorian Premier John Brumby at the opening with the words of Jan Tennent, “the undisputed First Lady of biotechnology and an inspiration to women in science.”

BioMedVic believes that the model for stimulating collaboration and innovation between academia and industry as exemplifies at the Bio21 Institute is a blueprint for the Victorian Government’s future strategy and investment in health innovation and biotechnology.

You can read the media release from Bio21 Institute here.

BioMedVic members – key drivers of national innovation and translation

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants have been announced for 2018. Of the $526 million awarded, Victoria has secured $347 million (47%), cementing its position as the leading state for medical research in Australia.

Beyond that, two BioMedVic members were the top-ranking institutions nationally, with Monash University securing grants to the value of $103.6M and the University of Melbourne winning $103.3M worth of grant funding.

Outstanding results run even deeper across Victoria’s remarkable health research community, with NHMRC success for:

  • Deakin University ($14.4 million)
  • RMIT University ($4.6 million)
  • St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research ($4.1 million)
  • Swinburne University ($3.4 million)
  • Melbourne Health ($624.882)

BioMedVic warmly congratulates all recipients of this latest round of NHMRC grants.

You can find more information here.

New Victorian manufacturing facility at CSIRO Clayton

BioMedVic members interested in the production of biological products such as vaccines, antibodies and stem cells for clinical trials will be delighted to know that a new Advanced Biotechnology Manufacturing Platform will be built at the CSIRO Clayton Central precinct.

The facility will allow the development of state of the art, early-stage biological and pharmaceutical products in Australia, and will ease the process of manufacturing for a wide range of companies, including those smaller ones that can’t afford to manufacture their candidates overseas.

The new manufacturing facility will be owned and run by CSIRO. It has received substantial funding from several institutions, including the Victorian Government, MTPConnect, SIEF and NCRIS/TIA , as well as companies including Telix Pharmaceutical and Sementis P/L. This investment is expected to boost the translational capabilities of the biotech sector in Australia, help to increase the number of Victorian institutions doing clinical trials while supporting local jobs and attract more investments from Australian biotech companies.

For more information see the CSIRO Blog or the Victoria Government page.

Defence Research Funding Opportunity for Universities

Universities and Small Business are invited to submit research proposals in response to a new call for Defence Research that aims to find new ways to integrate advanced materials onto military platforms. Find more information here.

Applications open on 28 November 2018 and close on 1 February 2019.

Funding will be provided jointly by Australia’s Defence Science and Technology and the United Kingdom’s Defence and Security Accelerator. Initial funding of up to $900,000 is available under the Next Generation Technologies Fund through the Small Business Innovation Research for Defence (SBIRD) program.

For more details and the chance to speak directly with the SBIRD project team, attend the Information Session on Wednesday 28th of November at Engineers Australia (Melbourne). Register online now!

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.

St Vincent’s Hospital and ShareRoot collaborate to improve ethical compliance in clinical trials

St. Vincent’s Hospital and the company ShareRoot have started a collaboration to apply the MediaConsent platform, a tool specifically designed to improve the compliance with human research ethics during clinical trials and enhance patient engagement.

More information is available here

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