Industry fellows announced to boost national MedTech and pharma sector

Twenty pharmaceutical and MedTech researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators from around Australia have been awarded with industry-based fellowships to boost skills and advance their research or technology towards commercialisation.

The Bridge and BridgeTech Industry Fellowships, facilitated by QUT and funded by MTPConnect’s Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry (REDI) initiative, provide up to $10,000 to support the placement of participants and alumni of the Bridge Program and BridgeTech Program within industry.

Successful applicants were chosen based on their suitability in relation to potential placement partners, stage of career, development possibilities and commercial potential of their research or technology.

The fellowship recipients from the Bridge Program are:

  • Robert Bischof, Federation University
  • Belal Chami, University of Sydney
  • Claudio Counoupas, Centenary Institute
  • Andrew Currie, Murdoch University
  • Roy Kong, University of Melbourne
  • Sarah Larcombe, Monash University
  • Katie Leach, Monash University
  • Padma Murthi, Monash University
  • Jane Nikles, University of Queensland
  • Helena (Chengxue) Qin, Monash University.

The fellowship recipients from the BridgeTech Program are:

  • Martina Barzan, Griffith University
  • Leah Brew, Inventia Life Science
  • Abhilash Chandra, SABRN Tech Pty Ltd
  • Vadim Dedov, MDXD Pty Ltd
  • Angela Fonceca, University of Western Australia
  • Sheridan Gho, Cenofex Innovations
  • Daniel Martinez, DMM Biomedical Consulting
  • Olumide Opeyemi, Queensland University of Technology
  • Alan Robertson, ClearSKY Genomics
  • Yinghong Zhou, Queensland University of Technology.

QUT’s Distinguished Professor Lyn Griffiths, Director of the Bridge and BridgeTech Programs, said the fellowships are an industry-enhanced extension of the programs.

“They help our program participants to translate the commercialisation training they’ve undertaken into something more concrete, by spending time and working with a relevant industry partner,” she said. She also said the standard of applications was high, and the potential outcomes of the partnerships look promising.

“There are some exciting projects and partnerships proposed in this round of applications. We look forward to seeing how each of the fellows and partner organisations will use the time together to benefit both parties, and have an impact on the sector more broadly” she said.

BridgeTech Program participant and successful fellow applicant Dr Yinghong Zhou’s project will construct bio-nano particles that reprogram the ageing immune system and stimulate its ability to kill bacteria and viruses in the respiratory system. It will contribute to a cost-effective healthcare system, by addressing the clinical challenges of ageing societies.

MTPConnect’s Managing Director and CEO Dr Dan Grant said that MTPConnect’s REDI initiative is creating meaningful links allowing researchers to move seamlessly between research and industry, which is critical for the growth and success of the medical technology and pharmaceutical (MTP) sector.

“Fellowships, internships, traineeships and industry placements are effective ways to create a cutting edge and competent workforce at the forefront of new human health initiatives.

“These industry fellowships supported by REDI provide invaluable commercial experiences that help embed skills and knowledge and increase the competence of every fellow while they collaborate to advance innovation and development of new medical products and medicines in Australia,” said Dr Grant.

According to Bridge Program consortium partner Yuhan ANZ’s CEO, Dr Lee Farrand, the program is mutually beneficial for fellows and partner organisations alike. Dr Farrand hosted one researcher and two professionals from small biotech companies in the first round of the program.

“Yuhan has a strong interest in supporting the growth of the biotech and pharma ecosystem here in Australia, because nurturing the development of those in our industry will help lay the foundations for new therapeutic breakthroughs in the years to come,” he said.

“We invest in the development of innovative drugs, so we are always looking for the best ideas and sharpest minds. However, the commercialisation of new drugs is a complicated process, so it’s essential to help people coming into the area learn more about it.

“Overall, we found the program to be a really rewarding experience. The professional relationships
that you build through these interactions make it all worthwhile,” he said.

The recently announced round of fellowships will commence before the end of this year and will support a range of activities agreed on between fellows and partners. Activities range widely from training and mentorship to in-house project work, through to regulatory training, IP protection strategies, prototyping and market research.

For more information, visit the Bridge and BridgeTech Industry Fellowships website, or contact the team.

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