New Pre-Conference Start Ups Masterclass – Register Now!

KCA Start Ups Masterclass

KCA will be holding a Start Ups Masterclass on Wednesday 12 September (just prior to the conference) to provide participants with the best available methods and insights for achieving success managing PRFO startups from inception to exit.  This masterclass is ideal if you are, or will be, working with startups as part of your commercialisation role within a PRFO.  Places for this masterclass are strictly limited.

Click here for more information and to register.

KCA Warranties & Liabilities Webinar – 2 August 2018

Presented by Rachel Sciascia of Gadens, this webinar will give a summary of warranties, liabilities and indemnities involved in research and commercialisation transactions. It will provide a high level overview of how these concepts work in practice and how they can be negotiated in commercial agreements. By the end of the webinar, it is expected that a technology transfer practitioner will understand how these interact with other commercial considerations and give them confidence to work with their legal counsel to achieve a positive outcome for their organisation.

Click here for more information and to register.

Become a Registered Tech Transfer Professional Deadline – 20 July 2018

RTTP is the international professional standard for knowledge transfer and commercialisation practitioners working in universities, industry and government labs. The RTTP framework recognises demonstrated competence and experience across the breadth of technology transfer, from IP commercialisation through to university business collaboration and start-up company creation.

RTTP invites career advancement and mobility, international recognition – and great job satisfaction in a rewarding role that can literally change the world! There are over 400 professionals worldwide who have all been awarded this credential. Why not join them?

Register Now – KCA Industry Engagement and Business Development Course

7 June 2018, Monash University, Clayton

Places are still available for the upcoming Industry Engagement and Business Development Course.

This one-day Business Development course is for those undertaking industry engagement activities within their research organisation. The course covers off proactive strategies to ensure the greatest return from engagement activities and efforts, including:

  • Choosing organisations to work with and mapping possible client engagement opportunities
  • Expanding existing client relationships via warm introductions, referral and science/non-science networking (avoiding cold calling)
  • Understanding your value proposition and leveraging what your organisation does best
  • Conference and trade show preparation and goal setting
  • Set up for great meetings. Have fewer, better meetings that achieve more
  • Communicating and connecting effectively with a variety of stakeholders. Learn to create value propositions in their language
  • Understanding your client’s needs. Opportunity validation and active listening

This course will focus on core principles, and will enable attendees to develop a toolbox of practical skills that can be applied across various areas of their work.

Click here for more information and to register.

 

KCA Awards 2018 – Applications Now Open

The KCA Awards celebrate the achievements of members, and highlight “top tier work” in Australasian tech transfer. In 2018 we once again have one open category, and invite members to put forth any activity that has realised success in the last 18 months.

The Awards are open to all KCA members and their respective project partners. Projects can span all facets of research commercialisation, industry engagement and entrepreneurship. The Awards aren’t about “big deals.” The Awards recognise great work, so please be encouraged to put forth projects which demonstrate originality, creative business insight, and/or deliver significant societal impact.

Deadline 19 July 2018. Click here to apply.

2015 National Survey of Research Commercialisation data now available


The Innovation Ecosystem in Australia is in a state of flux and transition according to the results of the 2015 National Survey of Research Commercialisation (NSRC).

While being mindful that metrics simply tell part of the story when it comes to trends across the research translation landscape, there are some notable points in the data that point to transition or turbulence in the space where public sector research meets industry.

Resources and Inventions

After plummeting from 490 to 306 (38% drop) between 2013 and 2014, the number of staff supporting commercialisation in universities has increased slightly to 333 in 2015.  We suspect that this reflects changes in the University sector whereby more effort and resource is being directed towards industry research partnerships rather than commercialisation and that these new, industry focussed roles are not being captured in the NSRC data. Staff levels in the PFRAs and MRIs remained largely unchanged.

Invention disclosures follow exactly the same profile, dropping between 2013/14 before rising in 2015.  Invention disclosures are a very short term metric that mirror staffing levels, so it is no surprise – if there is no one to seek out and record the invention, it doesn’t become part of the portfolio.

LOAs

In contrast to staff and invention numbers, the number of LOAs executed showed the opposite trend, growing significantly (431 to 617) from 2013 to 2014 and then dropping significantly to 480 in 2015.  We suspect that LOAs, being an indicator representing typically an 18-month timescale, is reflecting a drop in 2015 resulting from resource cuts in 2014.

University LOA income shows a relatively flat trend, but LOA income tends to develop over a period of 5 or more years and we may anticipate a future drop in LOA income as a result of short term resource cuts. Interestingly, over the 2013/15 period, LOA income for both PFRAs and MRIs have increased significantly (211% and 438% respectively) with PFRAs overtaking the university sector in terms of total income ($89m vs $60m)

Other Industry Engagement

As we have stressed a number of times, whilst important, the relative scale of commercialisation is small relative to all other industry engagement mechanisms.  For the whole sector the LOA total was $183m, whereas the total of other engagements was a massive $1.8b.  For the University sector the comparison is even more stark, with commercialisation income of $60m and other industry income at $1.2bn, suggesting that commercialisation income represents 5% of the universities’ total revenue, and that the highest value return to the community continues to arise from collaborative partnerships between research and business.

Interestingly, the data mirrors the mindsets of today’s research commercialisation practitioners.  The 2016 KCA study exploring the professionalisation of the practice found that 82% of practitioners see the main aim of what they do as being a way to generate relationships with industry and stakeholders.  The 2015 NSRC data supports this notion, reflecting a trending a shift in focus from IP commercialisation towards industry engagement, and the realisation that it is collaboration rather than commercialisation, which is the higher value return translation mechanism.

The research sector maintained its commitment to working with industry, as is reflected in the steady growth of researcher training in industry engagement each year.  The vast majority of research organisations now offer training to their research staff on how to work with industry, 2015 seeing over 10 000 researchers undertaking some kind of formal training.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

UNSW secured $20 million in capital investment from Chinese corporation Hangzhou Cable Co. Ltd. (HCCL). They have established a joint venture with UNSW called Zhejian Handian Graphene Tech, which aims to commercialise the new power cables.  This is the flagship collaboration of the new Torch Innovation Precinct at UNSW – an unprecedented partnership with the Chinese government and leading Chinese businesses, expected to deliver more than $100 million to the University over the next 5 years.  More here.

Monash University and Woodside have come together to create a globally connected innovation hub that rapidly accelerates advances in Materials Engineering, Additive Manufacturing and Data Science.  Woodside will donate $10 million over the next five years in the biggest corporate philanthropic gift in the university’s history.  More information here.

Woodside have also partnered with Curtin University to build the Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre to bring together start-ups, industry experts, developers and researchers in an open environment to create ground-breaking and innovative solutions that foster growth, provide jobs and help build sustainable economies.  More information here.

La Trobe University and Optus Business have established a strategic alliance designed to deliver an integrated, digitally connected campus; a state-of-the-art Sports Precinct of the Future; and creation of a market leading Cyber Security tertiary degree.  More here.

Release of the 2015 data set

The 2015 data set, now available for review via an effective visual comparison tool, and represented by a symbolic infographic depicting some of the 2015 highlights, was released today by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Understanding-Research-Commercialisation-2015

KCA would like to thank the Department and the research translation community for all their efforts in compiling this information each year since 2000, as we continue to build on a highly useful data set depicting trends across research translation mechanisms.

NSRC is the Department’s commitment to recording and tracking Australia’s progress in converting scientific outcomes, and using this information to inform policy, and in the design, creation, and continuation of, programs to support Australia’s vibrant innovation ecosystem.

Kevin Cullen
KCA Volunteer

Melissa Geue
KCA Executive Director

2016 TT Sector Wrap Up

2016 has been a big year for technology transfer offices in Australia. As we all know, commercialising research is a tough gig and some deals are many years in the making.  The beginning of a new tradition, KCA has compiled a highlights list from offices around the country to celebrate the achievements of the membership across the year just gone.  You may have heard of some of these achievements throughout the year, but its always nice to look at these things in summary, and consider at what has been accomplished as a group.  Below are some top 3 highlights from offices within the KCA community who were able to participate in the exercise this year.

ANSTO

  • Successful technology transfer and scale up of the ANSTO Minerals Sileach™ process with Lithium Australia.  More info here.
  • ANSTO in partnership with Minomic have successfully developed the MILGa drug for SPECT diagnosis of certain cancers. Minomic is mid-way through a Phase 1 clinical trial.  Story here.
  • ANSTO Health obtained a license from the TGA for production of Lutetium 177, an emerging therapeutic isotope for a range of cancers.  Story here.

CSIRO

  • Launch and expansion of the ON Accelerator to all Public Sector Research Organisations and Universities funded through NISA.  More info here.
  • The announcement of the $200 million CSIRO Innovation Fund to be operational in 2017 and also available to all Public Sector Research Organisations and Universities. More info here.
  • 5 spin outs/equity deals in calendar 2016 and $60m in IP (royalty and licensing) revenue in 2015/16 FY (Chryos, Cardihab, MetaBloQ, Smart Battery)

Curtin

  • West Tech Fest, which incorporates the OzAPP Awards judging, a Startup Village, pitching opportunities, an angel investor dinner, student tech fest, technology startup events and an industry conference.
  • Curtin spinout ePAT technologies listed on the ASX completing a $4.7 million capital raise.
  • Curtin completed a deal with Australian mining services company, Gekko Systems to commercialise a breakthrough gold processing monitoring technology.  Story here.

DST Group

  • HPRNet – DST Group in partnership with the Australian Army has established new model for establishing research networks(Rnet) of Australian Universities to undertake research in areas of interest to Defence .  The first such RNet is a joint initiative of DST Group and the Australian Army which has brought together 7 Australian universities to work in the area of the advancement of human performance . Next year will see this model being used in other technology areas.
  • External Engagement Manager program – 12 month professional development and immersive program whereby  DST researchers are appointed as their respective Research Division’s External engagement manager. As a result of the program researchers have not only increased their business acumen and commercial skills but 60% of the researchers have gained promotions back inside their research areas.
  • CERA business model – Devised the business model whereby the Defence Science Institute (DSI) released a pilot Competitive Evaluation Research Agreement (CERA) program, which sought research proposals from Australian universities relating to projects of Defence strategic importance. In a highly competitive field DSI made award grants of up to $50k each to seed collaborations. The strongest applicants were able to collaborate and engage with Australian industry and International partners. Given the success of the pilot program DST Group has requested the program be continued in the coming financial year.

Griffith

  • Griffith University and agricultural product company Agnova Technologies collaborated to produce Fruition, the nation’s first non-toxic commercial response to fruit flies.  Story here.
  • Student enterprise (student entrepreneurial education is a key growth area for Griffith.  Story here.
  • Olymvax invests in Griffith vaccine for Strep A.  Story here.

LaTrobe

  • La Trobe establishes the new Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Industry Engagement). Story here.
  • Unlocking regional Victoria’s big ideas – LaunchVic funded Regional Accelerator Program.  Story here.
  • Optus and La Trobe tech-collaboration to deliver an integrated, digitally connected campus; a state-of-the-art Sports Precinct of the Future; and creation of a market leading Cyber Security tertiary degree.  Story here.

Macquarie

  • Macquarie University has had one or more team(s) in every CSIRO ON program that were eligible to Universities; Modular Photonics in ACCELERATE 2, LuciGem, FAIMS and Diamond Lasers in PRIME and LuciGem in ACCELERATE 3.
  • 2016 has seen over a double increase in Innovation Disclosures since 2015 (57 as of 08 Dec 2016)
  • We arranged a educational and fun team bonding session with the Research Office, Office of Commercialisation and Innovation and Corporate Engagement by holding a 1 day negotiation training workshop.

Monash

  • BioCurate is an $80M collaboration between Monash and the University of Melbourne established to transform our ability to translate our world class biomedical research into new therapeutic products.  Story here.
  • Monash University spinout Amaero Engineering entered into a major production deal with French based multinational company Safran to produce 3D printed parts for Safran. Story here and here.
  • Monash and Hudson Institute of Medical Research entered into a major commercialisation and co-development deal to develop next generation immunology therapeutics. Story here.

UniQuest

  • A €15 million (A$22 million) Series A investment (one of the largest biotech Series A investments for intellectual property originating from an Australian university) in Inflazome Ltd, a company founded on research from UQ and Trinity College Dublin, developing treatments for inflammatory diseases.  Story here.
  • UniQuest’s Queensland Emory Drug Discovery Initiative (QEDDI) became a fully-equipped and operational drug discovery and development capability, with facilities and staff based at UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience.
  • UQ spinout company Protagonist Therapeutics Inc. listed on the NASDAQ stock market, raising US$90 million (A$118 million) in its initial public offering, (story here), while ResApp is developing a smartphone medical application for the diagnosis and management of respiratory disease, and has raised more than A$16 million since listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2015 (story here).

UniSA Ventures

  • UniSA’s Venture Catalyst program voted Australia’s Best Entrepreneurial Support Initiative in the KCA Awards.  Story here.
  • UniSA signed a MoU with one of China’s leading drug development and pharmaceuticals manufacturers, to support the development of new drugs, and treatments in stem cell biology and drug reformulation technology.  Story here.
  • UniSA  launched a new strategic plan for research and innovation to fast-track the development of high potential innovations through UniSA Ventures.  Story here.

UNSW Innovations

  • China Cable deal worth $20m that was KCA deal of the year.  Story here.
  • Quantum Computing deal which saw $25m of Commonwealth funding through NISA, and $10m each from CBA and Telstra to develop a prototype circuit.  Story here.
  • Torch Innovation Precinct announcement that the first Torch Science Park outside China would be set-up at UNSW.  More info here.

UWA

  • A new drug for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) originally developed at The University of Western Australia has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.  Story here.
  • The first ever Western Australian Innovation Strategy was launched by the Minister for Innovation, the Hon Bill Marmion, on 2 November 2016.  Story here.
  • An increase in support activity for entrepreneurship and innovation in Perth, i.e. CERI is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that has been set up to work closely with local researchers to assist them in developing entrepreneurial skills and to then take them through the Innovation Process, with the goal of assisting them to establish a startup company.

Victoria

  • Researchers at Victoria University have joined forces with Phillip Island Nature Parks to develop a ‘wand’ that harvests oil absorbing  magnetic particles in order to save the lives of penguins and other birds contaminated after an oil spill event.  Story here.
  • A patent and trademark technology licence to a company in Japan to commercialise innovative insole technology develop at ISEAL (Institute of Sport, Exercise & Active Living) research institute as well as leveraging our reputation and famous associated brand. The insoles have major biomechanical advantages over the existing products in the market. Deals are currently being negotiated with major insole and shoe manufacturers and distributors in Asia and beyond to bring this inventive product to market.
  • A patent technology licence to an Australian company to exploit membrane distillation technology. The technology has energy and practical advantages that the company has secured investment and is building a pilot plant to scale up the technology. The company already has end market customers interested in using the technology in a broad range of industrial applications.