Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) Research Commercialisation Awards has all three winners from Melbourne, which were announced last night at its annual conference dinner also in Melbourne.
Success lay with the University of Melbourne which won Best Commercial Deal for the largest biotech start-up in 2014; the Melbourne office of the Defence Science and Technology Group which won Best Creative Engagement Strategy for its reducing red tape framework; and Swinburne University for the People’s Choice Award.
“These awards are all about celebrating the achievements of those who are bringing research knowledge to life, and recognising their unique contributions in enabling business and the wider community to benefit from the application of research outputs,” said KCA Executive Officer, Melissa Geue.
Details of the winners are as follows:
The Best Commercial Deal is for any form of commercialisation of knowledge which is innovative in its approach, provides value-add to the research institution and has significant long term social and economic impact:
University of Melbourne – Largest bio tech start-up for 2014
This was for Australia’s largest biotechnology deal in 2014 which was Shire Plc’s purchase of Fibrotech Therapeutics P/L – a University of Melbourne start-up – for US$75 million upfront and up to US$472m in following payments. Fibrotech develops novel drugs to treat scarring prevalent in chronic conditions like diabetic kidney disease and chronic kidney disease. This is based on research by Professor Darren Kelly (Department of Medicine St. Vincent’s Hospital).
Shire are progressing Fibrotech’s lead technology through to clinical stages for Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which is known to affect children and teenagers with kidney disease. The original Fibrotech team continues to develop the unlicensed IP for eye indications in a new start-up OccuRx P/L.
Best Creative Engagement Strategy showcases some of the creative strategies research organisations are using to engage with industry partner/s to share and create new knowledge:
Defence Science and Technology Group –Defence Science Partnerships (DSP) reducing red tape with a standardised framework
The DSP has reduced transaction times from months to weeks with over 300 agreements signed totalling over $16m in 2014-15. The DSP is a partnering framework between the Defence Science Technology Group of the Department of Defence and more than 65% of Australian universities. The framework includes standard agreement templates for collaborative research, sharing of infrastructure, scholarships and staff exchanges, simplified Intellectual Property regimes and a common framework for costing research. The DSP was developed with the university sector in a novel collaborative consultative approach.
The People’s Choice Awards is open to the wider public to vote on which commercial deal or creative engagement strategy project deserves to win. The winner this year, who also nabbed last award is:
Swinburne University of Technology – Optical data storage breakthrough leads the way to next generation DVD technology
Using nanotechnology, Swinburne Laureate Fellowship project researchers Professor Min Gu, Dr Xiangping Li and Dr Yaoyu Cao achieved a breakthrough in data storage technology and increased the capacity of a DVD from a measly 4.7GB to 1,000TB. This discovery established the cornerstone of a patent pending technique providing solutions to the big data era. In 2014, start-up company, Optical Archive Inc. licensed this technology. In May 2015, Sony Corporation of America purchased the start-up, with knowledge of them not having any public customers or a final product in the market. This achievement was due to the people, the current state of development and the intellectual property within the company.
Wrays Patent Attorneys were the major sponsor of the 2015 Awards:
Wrays’ CEO Frank Hurley said: “In supporting the KCA Research Commercialisation Awards, we hope to promote an understanding around intellectual property value in the commercialisation process. The two award categories acknowledge both creative business strategy and commercial acumen, which reflects Wrays’ ethos and ties in closely with the services we provide to our clients. Sponsoring KCA is part of an overall vision to nurture relationships with future entrepreneurs by enabling them to protect and generate wealth from their innovations.”
Sharon Kelly (gemaker)
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