Ausbiotech 2017 – Adelaide : Australia’s National Life Science Conference

Iby Boztepe

Not another talk fest! How many conferences have you been to which you may have wished, you hadn’t? Where presenters were simply going through the motions and what passed for a networking opportunity was simply attending conference booths with equally uninteresting booth representatives seemingly sent to regurgitate a script (from their website no less!).

For AusBiotech – 2017, the marketing material promoted the opportunity to learn of and listen to, first-hand the… ‘ground-breaking research and trends and the opportunity to build partnerships with local and international investors, researchers and industry stakeholders.’

Attending the conference over the three days, it exceeded my expectations from the start. From the opening session with the SA premier, Jay Weatherill to the close of the conference, there was an exciting “buzz” that permeated the concurrent information sessions with well-chosen guest speakers and assembled panelist to the networking sessions in-between and afterwards.   

Notably, key note plenary presenters, gave great insights with Barbara Sosnowski VP external Science & Innovation from Pfizer and Dr. Silviu Itescu CEO and MD from Mesoblast.  I was particularly delighted to report to Silviu when asked, that all systems were ‘All OK’ as we manage his organizations IT infrastructure and Security.  “Phew”!  

My congratulations to Ausbiotech for assembling an impressive range of industry notables.  All those whom I approached were generous with their time and in answering my questions.  Of note presenting their areas of expertise included Peter Molloy CEO Race Oncology, on the performance of the sector, and Charles Day CEO, Office of Innovation and Science, Australia, on Innovation Science and Research, as well as Tim Oldham , CEO of Cell Therapies / Tijan Ventures on inventing supply chains for the 21st century cures and its implications for product development, Sue MacLeman, CEO MTP Connect who’s organization presented the 2017 round of ‘Project Fund Program’ of $7.38 million across 20 national projects and Glenn Begley, CEO Biocurate whom delivered the Mills Oration, and what a wonderful presentation it was. If I could capture the essence of validation.…“Begley’s six criteria for judging scientific reports”…

The Valley of Death

Much has been said and written about the challenges and difficulties for our BioTech / Lifesciences sector, to be able to commercialize R&D to a satisfactory global competitive scale. For start-up, spin-off and emerging companies, the need for financial backing is critical for success. Often, the time frame required to move a promising discovery, drug, innovation, concept through initial and costly clinical trials is a very lengthy process. The process requires the skills of a “High-Wire Trapeze Artist” balancing  compliance and regulatory hurdles all the while demonstrating the skills of a “Financial Engineer” keeping the interest, acceptance and importantly continued funding of the investment community for an anticipated financial return. I was pleased to see the great enthusiasm of not only organizations presenting their discoveries, updates and opportunities, but also of the investment community represented by a host venture capital, financing, advisory firms actively scouting for opportunities for their next investments.

Innovation and Hope

If there were any doubts of its robustness and cutting-edge innovation and potential it offers Australia, then those concerns would certainly have been dispelled for those attending. With over a 1000 delegates and over 100 exhibitors with a healthy international cohort of organizations from Asia and Europe, there was certainly “Innovation” in spades on display and a great “Hope” for the success of these initiatives.  I found the spirit of collaboration alive and well with a host of State Government representations developing and promoting Hubs of Research and Support as well as many University linked programs and Institutes advancing cross sector commercialization opportunities.  It was refreshing to see a great deal of support for Students and Graduates coming through the industry.  Speaking with a number of PhD candidates and those at undergrad / post grad level, their enthusiasm and optimism was contagious but equally clear was their concern of gaining access to meaningful employment within industry.  Encouragingly, there are a number of programs that bridge this transition but of course more can be done to maintain and further STEM academic interest and graduate cohort.

Of note also was the specialization and increased sophistication of services providers from Translational firms to CROs and maturing of specialist outsourcing offerings in the commercialization path.

After all the hard work

Speaking with many delegates, it was clear that their organizations appropriate level of Information Security and Best Practice Information Technology Compliance to Regulatory Frameworks were not robust and often implemented poorly as an after-thought.  Worryingly, putting “at risk” their hard work, great innovations and intellectual property. Raising the ‘Security Posture’ of all in our industry implementing appropriate best practice - regulatory compliant and affordable Managed IT services is no longer a “nice to have” option.  Surprisingly, many are unprepared for the new Federal “Mandatory Data Breach Notification Laws”, effective from this February.  My message: After all the hard work, don’t risk it!

Contact Exigence

Contact us to have a “Security Evaluation and Gap Analysis” done and we’ll also recommend a remediation plan we can walk you through. The quote, …’Invest the 5 minutes to save the hours’….comes to mind.

Contact Exigence