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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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’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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Release date: Thursday, 25 August 2016
From cancer detection to mining maintenance algorithms and supporting student entrepreneurship – commercialising research finalists announced
Commercialising research and supporting student entrepreneurship – from improved cancer detection to mathematical algorithms to manage mine maintenance – will be honoured next week at Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) Annual Conference in Brisbane (1-2 September) with finalists now revealed for the KCA Awards.
The KCA Awards recognise research organisations’ successes in expertly facilitating the transfer of knowledge to the broader community and research into products or services where companies grow new industries in Australia. This year they have also expanded to recognise the great work that research organisations are doing teaching high-impact entrepreneurship and immersing stakeholders in a diverse range of hands on business training.
This year’s Awards include Best Commercial Deal, Best Creative Engagement Strategy and Best Entrepreneurial Initiative. The winners will be announced at the conference Awards Dinner on Thursday, 1 September.
The finalists are as follows:
Best Commercial Deal
Mine Maintenance Scheduling via Mathematical Optimisation – Curtin University, Western Australia
This unique innovation involves a series of cutting-edge mathematical algorithms that underpin a novel software package for optimising mine shutdown maintenance. The algorithms produce optimal shutdown schedules that minimise duration and therefore cost of lost production, plus rapidly reorganise the schedule in response to unexpected changes. This is the result of research collaboration between Curtin University and Linkforce Engineering, the leading engineering services group in Western Australia. The resulting software package is currently undergoing further development and refinement prior to deployment into Australia’s multi-billion dollar mine shutdown maintenance market.
Zhejian Hangdian Graphene Tech Co (ZHGT) – University of New South Wales (UNSW)
This is an initiative to fund and conduct research on cutting-edge higher efficiency voltage power cables, known as graphene, and on super-capacitors. With $20M capital investment by the Chinese corporation Hangzhou Cable Co., Ltd (HCCL), and UNSW contributing intellectual property as a 20% partner, the objectives are to execute the deal through research and development; manufacturing of research outcomes in Hangzhou; and finally commercialisation.
Launch of Ferronova Pty Ltd – University of South Australia (UniSA)
Researchers at the UniSA’s Future Industries Institute have joined forces with New Zealand based nanoparticle specialist, Boutiq Science, and major IP investor, Powerhouse Ventures, to develop an improved system for cancer detection that relies on magnetic rather than radioactive tracers. Research to develop the new technology – an ultrasensitive magnetometer probe designed to be about the size of a ball-point pen – evolved from the doctoral work of young UniSA researcher, Dr Aidan Cousins, who is now overseeing the technology’s development in collaboration with Associate Prof Benjamin Thierry. This work is part this new company – Ferranova Pty Ltd – established to take this innovation into the clinic.
Best Creative Engagement Strategy
Lab 22 – CSIRO
CSIRO established the Lab22 Innovation Centre to demystify metallic additive manufacturing (‘3D printing’), making this science and engineering breakthrough accessible to Australian industry. Lab 22 is a multi-faceted engagement strategy, underpinned by ongoing research that enables industrial partners to test, experience, up-skill, and build business cases that take advantage of these cutting-edge technologies. Industry partners have co-developed commercial applications, licensed technologies and co-located with Lab22. Thousands of individuals have engaged in site visits. The engagement strategy continues to generate collaborations and innovation, build industrial capability, inform the public and push the boundaries of accessible metallic additive manufacturing.
Swinburne Bioreactor – Swinburne University of Technology
The Swinburne Bioreactor represents a new model for creative collaboration that is suited to SME’s, and includes nine industry partners and 10 PhD candidates. Together they identify and pursue the most promising opportunities for translational research to produce industry-ready PhD graduates with the confidence to look for opportunities in the private sector. Multidisciplinary groups of students and are spending time in hospitals, clinics, aged-care facilities and on the factory floor, talking to end-users and industry partners and looking for gaps in the market. Supported by mentors from industry and academia, the students are seeking to identify key insights into problems that open up potential for innovative solutions.
Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre – Curtin University
The Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre, co-founded by Cisco, Curtin University and Woodside Energy Ltd, is a new industry and research collaboration centre designed to foster co-innovation. With a foundation in radioastronomy, supercomputing and software expertise, it is growing a state-of-the-art connected community focused on leveraging data analytics, cybersecurity and digital transformation network platforms to solve industry problems. The Centre combines start-ups, small–medium enterprises, industry experts, developers and researchers in a collaborative open environment to encourage experimentation, innovation and development through brainstorming, workshops, proof-of-concept and rapid prototyping. By accelerating innovation in next-generation technologies, it aims to help Australian businesses thrive in this age of digital disruption.
Best Entrepreneurial Initiative
Venture Catalyst Program – UniSA
Venture Catalyst supports student led start-ups by providing up to $50k to the new enterprise as a grant. The scheme targets current and recent graduates who have a high tolerance for risk and an idea for a new business venture that is both novel and scalable. The scheme takes an ‘IP and equity free’ approach and encourages students to collaborate with different disciplines and externals to encourage a diverse skill set for the benefit of the new venture. Venture Catalyst is a collaboration between the UniSA and the South Australian Government, and is supported through UniSA Ventures as well as representatives from industry and experienced entrepreneurs.
Curtin Accelerate – Curtin University
Curtin Accelerate enables motivated individuals and teams to kick-start or accelerate their business ideas. Over a ten-week period experienced mentors work with selected teams to improve and grow their business into an investible proposition. The program is open to students, staff and alumni of Curtin, with any innovation or new business idea. This provides access to global industry and investment contacts, one-on-one and group mentoring sessions, non- diluting seed funding ($5,000), local and national promotional opportunities and assists teams to bring ideas and businesses closer to commercial success.
The Swinburne Innovation Precinct – Swinburne University of Technology
Swinburne University of Technology has created an Innovation Precinct at its Hawthorn Campus which will position Swinburne as a centre of entrepreneurial activity, integrating research, new business development and commercialisation. Focusing broadly on tech innovation, including novel technologies, services and businesses, the Precinct will drive design thinking across the University and lead research and development that results in new products such as digital health technologies, smart homes and virtual reality training. The precinct will also utilise design and digital technologies to address manufacturing challenges and pilot production and fabrication processes in collaboration with industry.
This year’s awards are judged by commercial leaders of innovation: Erol Harvey, CEO, MiniFab, Dan Grant, PVC Industry Engagement, LaTrobe University and Anna Rooke, CEO, QUT Creative Enterprise Australia.
Investing in the Future was the theme of the 2013 KCA Annual Conference, held 13-15 November at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Attendees were privy to insights from a diverse array of speakers, covering topics across the spectrum from market conditions to funding to the fundamentals of the way we do business.
The cocktail reception kicked off proceedings on the Wednesday evening, and this year featured a pitching session as part of the program. Following an excellent overview of funding trends in Australia from Jeremy Colless, eight representatives from across the country got up in front of the audience and eloquently pitched their ideas and technologies, showcasing just a handful of the amazing outcomes arising from some of our member organisations.
Thursday’s program jumped right into it, delving into the future market needs of the Australian economy and things we all need to think about as we move into a knowledge based economy. This included an overview of CSIRO’s response to emerging technology trends and global challenges, as well as a recent review from the UK as to the success of various interventions to Business-University Collaboration.
This was followed by an interesting discussion on changing trends in funding of technology development in Australia: highlighting outcomes and successes from Commercialisation Australia’s program, the challenges faced by traditional venture capital through to the emergence of accelerators and incubators, their relationship to corporate venture, and considering the extent to which we can successfully copy international initiatives in these areas. The need to think and act global right from day one was also a point that was made that has merit and would provide the innovation sector in Australia with the greatest opportunities.
Thursday afternoon we benefited from talks from some of our industry partners, who addressed both the opportunities and challenges they have faced in trying to collaborate with the university sector. Representatives from Bluescope, 3M and Thales all spoke to a long history of maximising the benefit from that interaction – good examples of champions within companies who believe there is benefit to be had in collaborating with Universities and publicly funded research organisations. They also spoke to the role that they can play in acting as “technology” brokers to wider opportunities within their organisations and clients, and the challenges of effectively communicating a compelling business case through a long chain of command in larger businesses, to show how specifically a particular project aligns with the organisation’s strategic and commercial objectives. Alignment of objectives is clearly a critical success factor in collaborative projects, and now we have some good tips as to how to do that better, and some great contacts in industry who are there to help the process.
Day one concluded with an overview of what’s happening across the landscape in other parts of the world, and it was interesting to learn that much of what we’re seeing here in Australia is happening across the Atlantic in the UK and parts of Europe. The shift away from a narrower focus on licensing and patenting and the move to collaborative partnerships and Easy Access, as well as the integration of the commercial office into to fabric of University departments are just some of the common trends. Similar trends can be seen in United States (US) and Canada. Like Australia and the UK, research dollars are declining and offices and there are pressures to do more and be more involved in facilitating collaborative relationships both nationally and internationally. The sharing of stories – the impact that research outcomes are having in the wider community – was another trend growing in the US, common to what we’re trying to do more of here in the Australian market.
Asia is a growing market for Australia, being so close both geographically and in terms of time. Accessing this market is not as complicated as one might think – it’s just a matter of knowing how. Strategic relationships, “piggy-backing,” and being willing to start small to get your foot in the door were just some of the ideas put forward to being successful at entering the Asian market. Understanding cultural differences and the importance of investing in developing relationships, as well as making full use of your international faculty members were other key take-home points.
Conference delegates were able to let down their hair after a hard day of intent learning, with a boat cruise and three course dinner around Sydney Harbour. The photo booth and karaoke proved popular forms of social networking!
Friday morning the conference focussed back in on our own people and gave ideas as to how we can better invest in ourselves and our offices to improve what we do. Social innovation and a shift towards focussing more resource to investigating the creative opportunities which lie within the social sciences faculties were mentioned many times throughout the morning. The importance of brand and culture to an organisation’s success was also highlighted. Values and vision were noted as core: “Visionary, successful companies are guided by core values which include a sense of purpose, beyond making money. Values do not drive the business – they drive the people within the business.” Staff were reminded that they are the most important brand advocates: making sure everyone conveys the same consistent message is key. Handled consistently, culture and brand can reinforce each other and build success.
Friday of the conference went out with a bang, with a highly energetic presentation about how to build trust with stakeholders in just one meeting. In this industry we often only have one chance to make a killer first impression and 9 times out of 10 we all blow this chance because we are too busy focussing on ourselves and not focussing on what is truly important – the needs of the other person we are trying to engage. In just one hour, we learnt some of the basics of how to shift our thinking away to help us refrain from some engaging in some of these detrimental behaviours, and began to understand the importance of being able to read others and adapt accordingly if we want them to begin to trust us.
Thank you to our sponsors once again for all your support – Wrays, Gemaker, Commercialisation Australia and Inteum – and to our members for your active participation during discussion time.