Perth medical researchers, clinicians and students attended free interactive sessions presented by an experienced team of intellectual property, commercialisation and investment specialists last week. 

The event was held at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, and facilitated and hosted by Perron Institute and Harry Perkins. 

Through funding awarded by MTPConnect for the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund, Dr James Williams and Liddy McCall from Yuuwa and Todd Shand from Wrays delivered the Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry (REDI) initiative to a Western Australian audience.  

REDI provides industry experiences and skills development for students, researchers, clinicians, MTP (medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical) sector professionals, entrepreneurs, and innovators. 

Sessions provided real-life examples and experiences of building a great team and successfully translating Australian research projects into clinical programs and approved products. 

Dr Rebekah Puls, Director of Research at the Perron Institute, gave a brief introduction.  

“It’s important that we arm our young scientists and clinicians with a practical understanding of the path to translation of their ideas through to commercialisation,” Dr Puls said. 

The panel for the first session, ‘The Great Drug’, involved Todd Shand, Principal at Wrays (Intellectual Property), Liddy McCall, Co-Founder of Yuuwa and Non-Executive Director Argenica Therapeutics, Nicholas Buckley, CEO and Co-Founder of VeinTech, and Dr Janet Preuss, Founder of QRC Solutions and Biotech Recruitment Consultants. Julia Hogan, Head of Business Development at Wrays, used an animated video of a real-life example of a potential investment-ready drug to stimulate interesting discussion about the hard lessons learned. 

The panel for the second session, ‘The Great Team’, was chaired by Dr Williams, Co-Founder of Yuuwa and Perron Institute Board member, and included Mr Shand, Richard Hopkins, Experienced bio-pharmaceutical executive, and Mr Buckley. 

The session covered elements of an effective team, tips and advice for finding the right people, and setting up and sustaining a start-up. 

The panel highlighted the importance of effective communication, networking, asking for advice and professional development mentors, and not being afraid to disagree or use simple language and terms. 

Dr Williams also gave a brief overview of the Health Translation Group, an initiative he is co-leading with Ms McCall, including several Western Australian medical research institutes focused on building a collaborative critical mass of commercialization expertise across the sector and linking that to sophisticated investors that wish to support the translation of medical research towards clinical outcomes. The intention is to build a portfolio of well-curated investment opportunities that, on success, will generate long-term returns to the Western Australian community. 

The sessions also provided a welcome opportunity for networking.

Photo (L-R): Todd Shand, Liddy McCall, Nicholas Buckley and Dr Janet Preuss.