2014 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Philadelphia

WorldCongress_Outlines_Rev--NEW-FILE-wo-and-Bioprocessing

The 2014 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology put a spotlight on innovative industrial biotechnology linking biotechnology, chemistry and agriculture to create new value chains. Links, which collaborations and partnerships are further strengthening.

People and “connectedness” are vital for successfully translating research outcomes (something we’re always going on about at qutbluebox). And this was emphasised at the World Congress by DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman.

Kullman advised: “Partner and collaborate to create value, learn together. True change is created through collaborations.”

Kullman is not alone in pushing this model at DuPont. The majority of companies in the industrial biotechnology space are heavily involved in collaborations. In this space,technology companies are partnering with feedstock suppliers and product companies to share risk and attract investment.

Examples of key organisations partnering include:
Genomatica
BUNGE and Solazyme
Renmatix and BASF
Total and Amyris
BioAmber
Abengoa and Powerstock

The Congress was a valuable opportunity to promote Queensland University of Technology (QUT) as well as building partnership and collaboration opportunities. QUT had a booth alongside the Life Sciences Queensland (LSQ) stand. Also it was not a research conference, it was definitely more industry/commercially focused. I think QUT was the only University with a stand, more industry-led organisations and government and companies, where Universities sent people and didn’t have booths. Plenty of investors and startups attending.

LSQ is a key proponent for Queensland working closely with industry and government to promote the State and identify potential opporunties for growth. I encourage all Queensland-based life sciences organisations to actively engage with LSQ (http://www.lsq.com.au/ or @LSQld on Twitter) and leverage
opportunities to promote your knowledge, technologies, facilities and services.

Please email me if you want to learn more about the Congress: l.vandenberg@qutbluebox.com.au .

Lisa van den Berg – Commercial Manager

No Silver Bullet

Last week we attended Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) 2013 – Investing in the Future. It is quite fitting that my last blog was focused around connectedness being an important aspect of forward planning – as this ended up being an underlying theme of the whole conference. I spent a fair bit of time trying to increase my network within the profession during the conference, and really enjoyed meeting everyone.

Terminology that was used in tSydney he context of successful knowledge transfer included geographical concentration, strategic partnerships, engage, get out more, collaboration, long term relationship, talk to industry, and social innovation.

The knowledge transfer profession is very complex, involving teaching, networking events, consultancy, continuing professional development, collaborative research, contract research, licencing and company creation. The reason being that knowledge comes in many forms, all we are trying to do is increase utilisation of the research outcomes.

It was apparent to me that social benefits across the world are becoming increasingly important for proving the impact of research. As most in the profession are aware not many offices are self sufficient, so proving the wider benefits of such activities are important. There is one vital problem with this, it is hard to measure and all of us know how important KPI’s are. AUTM has started a new campaign called “Put a Face on It”, to market the wider impact of knowledge transfer –check it out here (http://www.autm.net/Put_A_Face_On_IT/11543.htm)

Apparently there are two office models in the US, Technology Licencing and Technology Licencing +, the difference being one is very profitable and the other is 95% of offices in US. Basically the profitable offices purely focus on licensing, because they can. Whereas the others have to try make it work through attempting multiple different ways to increase the number and quality of projects coming through the pipeline.

Even though the use of societal benefit is important, we are never going to be able to shy away from needing to make money. I think one of the key take aways for me was to investigate the potential social, economic and profitable benefits equally – looking towards achieving the greatest impact possible.

If you are interested in learning more about KCA please visit the website http://www.kca.asn.au/. I would especially encourage you to visit the website and check out the KCA scholarship program which supports the travel and registration costs for one lucky KCA member to attend AUTM 2014 Annual Meeting (http://www.autm.net/Meeting_Home2.htm) in San Francisco, California. It is a great opportunity for early career professionals to learn more about Innovation Transfer and expand their networks.

Lisa van den Berg – Commercial  Manager

Connectedness and Forward Planning

Forward planning is the key theme of this years Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) annual conference – Investing in the Future. As you would of gathered from my blogs to date, I really value the people involved in innovation transfer. Networking and staying connected through LinkedIn is vital to what we do here at bluebox, you can learn a lot from others. Connectedness is a important aspect of forward planning, because in the future your network might contain the one person that can help you with that next step.

connectedness

I certainly encourage all my researchers to get out there and develop a LinkedIn profile, especially if they are interested in working with industry in the future. They are aware of LinkedIn but are often not aware of the potential value to them.

I am really looking forward to KCA 2013, excited about meeting new people and learning from others about Investing in the Future.

If you are interested in learning more about KCA please visit the website http://www.kca.asn.au/. I would especially encourage you to visit the website and check out the KCA scholarship program which supports the travel and registration costs for one lucky KCA member to attend AUTM 2014 Annual Meeting (http://www.autm.net/Meeting_Home2.htm) in San Francisco, California. It is a great opportunity for early career professionals to learn more about Innovation Transfer and expand their networks.

Written by Lisa van den Berg – Commercial Manager

Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) US Eastern Region Meeting

bluebox joined several US universities, innovation companies, venture capital firms and legal professionals at an innovation transfer conference in Boston in early September.

AUTM

The focus of the two day AUTM meeting was on practices and strategies for industry-academia partnerships, culminating in successful licensing or company formation and ultimately successful product or service market entry and growth.

A highlight of the meeting was connecting with several potential licensees of QUT innovations, based on the US east coast. Boston itself is an innovation and start-up company hub, complementing Silicon Valley on the US west coast, and growing in terms of the number of start-up company incubators.

Written by bluebox’s Operations Manager, Brent Watts, who is currently undertaking a Technology Transfer Fellowship at Boston University, which will be the subject of one of our future blogs.

Australian Technology Network (ATN) Delegation to Brazil

bluebox joined the Queensland University of Technology and four other Australian universities that comprise the Australian Technology Network (ATN) in a senior delegation to Brazil in mid June.

ATN Delegation 2013

The focus of the delegation was to develop collaborative relationships with key universities, government funding agencies and companies across three major states of Brazil, all in five days! In particular, shared interests in the areas biofuels, sports technologies and geo science were progressed.

As tweeted earlier, a highlight of the visit was the signing of a $1 million joint research agreement with FAPESP, the Sao Paulo State Research Foundation. The agreement will facilitate joint research and development between the ATN universities and the Sao Paulo State universities: University of Sao Paulo, University of Campinas and the State University of Sao Paulo. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/atn-secures-brazilian-joint-research-deal/story-e6frgcjx-1226662443913?sv=7ea20b3d55dfbe34622da439381936dd

Brazil is an emerging country that has experienced significant growth in recent years and looks to continue to develop internationally through the upcoming Football World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in 2016.

Brent Watts – Operations Manager

 

BIO2013 – a whirlwind week in Chicago!

In previous posts, I profiled our three Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO – http://convention.bio.org/) conference fellows. This meeting was held last week in Chicago, USA and hosted over 16,500 attendees, 25,000 business partnering meetings, with over 3,000 companies and 65 countries represented. BIO is the largest biotechnology conference in the world – full of cutting-edge presentations, interactive workshops, business partnering meetings and an exhibition of more than a thousand companies. It was definitely an action-packed five days – from the QUT Luncheon on Sunday all the way through until the exhibition pack-up on the Thursday afternoon.

BIO2013

Along with the extensive exhibition area, BIO also had some fascinating and informative presentations on company strategies, latest technologies and recent commercialisation deals. On the Tuesday, I was lucky enough to attend the keynote luncheon entitled “Forbes 30 Under 30: The Rising Stars Transforming Science and Healthcare”. In this lunch, we listened to the stories of four outstanding young people in biotechnology: Laura Deming, Isaac Kinde, Adina Mangubat, and Joshua Sommer. I think everyone left that lunch thinking, “What an impressive group of people!”

Along with manning the QUT booth and attending presentations, I met with several companies to discuss potential opportunities with QUT technologies. I spoke about everything from spectacle designs to sports devices, from veterinarian products to some plant technologies as well. After several productive discussions, hopefully we will have more news to report over the next year or two. BIO is often just the start of a long conversation between the companies – with most of the work happening over the months and years following the initial meeting.

And on a lighter note – I managed to win a 3D Printer. Thanks DSM and BioPharmaceuticals Australia!

Erin Rayment – Relationship Manager

BIO2013 Fellowship Winner – Eliza Whiteside

Every year, IHBI, bluebox and QUT’s Division of Research and Commercialisation sponsor three early- to mid-career researchers to attend the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO) conference in the USA. This year, Dr Melissa Fernandez, Dr Roland Steck and Dr Eliza Whiteside have been selected as the 2013 BIO Fellows. Today we will meet Dr Eliza Whiteside.

Dr Eliza Whiteside is a Queensland UniverEliza Whitesidesity of Technology (QUT) lecturer in biotechnology and an early career researcher at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation in the field of medical biotechnology.  Although trained as a basic scientist with a strong molecular and cell biology skill set, Eliza’s current research interests and growing expertise is in the area of translatable, patient-focused research.  Eliza’s own personal battle with breast cancer and her volunteer role with the National Breast Cancer Foundation in Australia have inspired her to investigate novel genetic and proteomic biomarkers as indicators of breast cancer risk and recurrence, as well as ‘wellness’ in breast cancer sufferers.  Eliza and her research group are primarily focused on the role of glycoprotein hormones and their receptors and employ loss of function and over-expression models using cell and molecular-based technologies to investigate tumourigenesis and cancer progression. Her group’s research is also investigating the use of novel and established pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, physical activity and sleep to ameliorate the side effects of common breast cancer treatments.

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/eliza-whiteside/11/756/862

BIO is the largest biotechnology conference in the world, with approximately 16,500 attendees expected to attend this year’s event in Chicago. Along with a feature-packed conference program, BIO also offers a one-on-one BIO Business Forum and an exhibition hall with over 1,600 companies showcasing their latest products and technologies. BIO covers the complete spectrum of life sciences areas and biotechnology applications. From drug discovery to biomanufacturing, genomics to biofuels, cell therapy to nanotechnology – BIO has it covered.

BIO2013 Fellowship Winner – Roland Steck

Every year, IHBI, bluebox and QUT’s Division of Research and Commercialisation sponsor three early- to mid-career researchers to attend the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO) conference in the USA. This year, Dr Melissa Fernandez, Dr Roland Steck and Dr Eliza Whiteside have been selected as thRoland Stecke 2013 BIO Fellows. Today we will meet Dr Roland Steck.

Dr Steck is the Deputy Director of the Medical Engineering Research Facility (MERF) at QUT, and a Senior Research Fellow in the Trauma Research Group at QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI). Roland joined QUT in 2005 to establish the research program for the Chair of Trauma, Prof. M. Schuetz. This research group now conducts experimental research and develops computational simulation methods to study and improve bone fracture and defect healing. Roland’s own research interests include the development and characterisation of novel fracture fixation implants for murine models of diaphyseal and metaphyseal bone fracture healing, as well as new experimental models of soft tissue trauma. For this and other related research he has established advanced evaluation protocols mechanical testing and microCT. In 2011, he was appointed as Deputy Director of MERF, a state-of-the-art research and teaching facility with surgical theatres for pre-clinical studies, research laboratories and surgical skills laboratories. In this role, Roland works on developing MERF into a technology rich interface between the health community and industry by providing a research and training environment that facilitates the translation of novel concepts from basic research to clinical implementation.

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/roland-steck/9/994/227

BIO is the largest biotechnology conference in the world, with approximately 16,500 attendees expected to attend this year’s event in Chicago. Along with a feature-packed conference program, BIO also offers a one-on-one BIO Business Forum and an exhibition hall with over 1,600 companies showcasing their latest products and technologies. BIO covers the complete spectrum of life sciences areas and biotechnology applications. From drug discovery to biomanufacturing, genomics to biofuels, cell therapy to nanotechnology – BIO has it covered.

BIO2013 Fellowship Winner – Melissa Fernandez

Every year, IHBI, bluebox and QUT’s Division of Research and Commercialisation sponsor three early- to mid-career researchers to attend the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO) conference in the USA. This year, Dr Melissa Fernandez, Dr Roland Steck and Dr Eliza Whiteside have been selected as the 2013 BIO Fellows. Today we will meet Dr Melissa Fernandez.

Dr MMelissa Fernandezelissa Fernandez is an early career researcher within the Wound Management Innovation Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). Her research interests are in biochemistry, proteomics, metabolomics as well as wound healing. Dr Fernandez’s postgraduate training focused on using a proteomic and metabolomic approach to identify prognostic and diagnostic indicators of wound healing. During this time, she received a Queensland Smart State PhD scholarship to support her work. Currently, Melissa is a postdoctoral researcher focusing on the development and of novel treatments for patients suffering from chronic, non-healing wounds. During this work, she has discovered that uric acid is elevated in wound fluid from patients with chronic venous leg ulcers and correlates with wound severity. Using this knowledge, Melissa has developed a novel wound therapy, which is about to be trialed in patients, using the topical application of allopurinol, a cheap, off patent and registered drug product. If successful, this topical treatment with allopurinol will prevent sustained inflammation and stimulate wound repair, thus reducing the duration of compression therapy.

BIO is the largest biotechnology conference in the world, with approximately 16,500 attendees expected to attend this year’s event in Chicago. Along with a feature-packed conference program, BIO also offers a one-on-one BIO Business Forum and an exhibition hall with over 1,600 companies showcasing their latest products and technologies. BIO covers the complete spectrum of life sciences areas and biotechnology applications. From drug discovery to biomanufacturing, genomics to biofuels, cell therapy to nanotechnology – BIO has it covered.

 

Commodity Industries Fear Change

Do you have an amazing innovation that will improve productivity? Struggling to get a company involved in a commodity market to adopt your new innovation? “Resourcing the Future” 2013 Annual LESANZ Conference was a great place to learn about strategies to increase adoption and more… (http://lesanzconference.org.au/)

We learnt that this resistance may solely be due to fear. Fear of what? The answer: perceived integration risk. A fragile linear supply chain, full of sequential projects that currently work perfectly together to keep the companies below the cost curve and profitable. Potential downtime of a sequential step causes delays and will cut the profit margin. Some would say that this is very short term thinking.

Physics is the fundamental driver of mining and the fear of unintended consequence causes this resistance. It is thought that once all the easy areas are mined, the companies will move country – as early as five years away. For the Australian Mining Industry to stay competitive they will need to change and adopt new innovations now. Apparently it could take 15 years for the mining industry to adopt, if this is the case, if it’s not already adopted – then we are already too late.

Two potential strategies were suggested, 1) Partnering and licensing to existing companies that are already established and working with the fragile mining system and/or 2) decouple the perceived risk through demonstration in a working system.

Collaboration, partnering and licensing to de-risk innovation became a common theme of the conference. Other takeaways included:

  1. Data analytics is gaining traction in the resource industries, where “big data” is considered an important intellectual asset. Proprietary algorithms are considered very valuable.
  2. UK has a new popular tax incentive for companies coming into affect this year – Patent Box. This offers a lower tax rate on profits from a patented process. To be eligible the invention must be a granted patented in the EU and has to at least be an active subsidiary in the UK. Apparently GSK and ARM are already investing heavily due to the announcement of this scheme. (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ct/forms-rates/claims/patent-box.htm)
  3. Clear differences between Australian, USA, European and Chinese law; in an international licensing agreement you cannot rely on Australian Law.

The LESANZ Conference was a valuable experience, much was learnt and many connections in the licensing field gained. Next year the “Ideas. Create. Prosperity” 2014 Annual LESANZ Conference is going to be held in Perth, 20-22 March. (https://lesanz.org.au/realmevents/conference.html)

For more information contact

Lisa van den Berg – Commercial Manager