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Bio Technology : July 2009
AusBioEVENTS annual revenues of $19b (up 10.7% from the previous year). The majority is local production for foreign-owned pharmaceutical companies, but nevertheless, it is Australian manufacturing and can be accompanied by significant R&D expenditures. A recent report on Australian health research by Access Economics5 , states that although Australia conducts 1.1% of global health research (cf US ~50%) an impressive 3.04% of world health returns are attributable to Australian R&D. Disappointing, only a small proportion of the financial returns from Australian health R&D ultimately flow back to Australia and much Australian biomedical innovation ultimately earns superior profits for non-Australian companies. The biomedical segment is fuelled by innovation and distinctive intellectual property (IP) and, consequently, has strong collaborations with the research sector (cf only 2% of industry as a whole6 ). Partnering with industry to create innovation and transfer IP is a key role of CSIRO. Aspects of CSIRO engagement have been recognised in the recent innovation white paper with the intention to “Promote proven models for linking public and not-for-profit researchers with industry and the wider Australian community – including the CSIRO’s National Research Flagships and the CSIRO ICT Centre.”2 We must now build on this success, most especially in relation to SMEs. Two current CSIRO initiatives targeted towards SMEs are: • The creation last year of the CSIRO SME Engagement Centre7 designed to connect SMEs with the right researcher within CSIRO (or outside) and to interface (e.g. via co-location) with industry intermediaries such as Enterprise Connect. • CSIRO’s Australian Growth Partnerships (AGP) program8 invests in high potential, technology- receptive SMEs in order that they can access CSIRO R&D capability and intellectual property. Pooling the experience of more than 50 multi-disciplinary researchers, CSIRO’s Biomedical Manufacturing Theme’s areas of current research interest fall into two priority areas: Biomedical Agents brings science capabilities in polymer science, amphiphile self-assembled nanomaterials, and microbubble production together to radically improve imaging contrast agents (MRI, ultrasound, CT, PET) and targeted therapeutics (using novel nanoparticle assemblies of amphiphiles). Ultimately, the aim is to combine imaging, drug delivery and other functionality into a single delivery platform. Research is at a relatively early stage, but has already generated patents with huge potential. Biomedical Devices deploys technology to create new manufacturable devices or to enhance the performance and competitiveness of existing device products. It pulls capability from sensing and transduction physics, device Dr Scott Martin (Leader, CSIRO Biomedical Manufacturing research theme, Future Manufacturing Flagship, CSIRO Materials Science & Engineering) speaks with Dr Elaine Saunders (Monash University) after his presentation at AusMedtech 2009. Volume 19 • Number 2 • July 2009 Australasian BioTechnology 55 1 “Medical Devices for a Healthy Life”, Medical Devices Industry Action Agenda, 2006 2 “Beyond Discovery”, Research Australia (figures from AusBioTech), 2007 3 “Powering Ideas - An Innovation Agenda for the 21st Century”, Government white paper, May 2009 4 Manufacturer’s Monthly (figures from ISISWorld), December 2008 5 “Exceptional Returns II”, Access Economics, 2008 6 “Trends in Research Commercialisation”, Australian Institute of Commercialisation, 2008 7 http://www.csiro.au/solutions/SMEEngagement.html SME-EC Hotline: 1300 363 400 8 http://www.csiro.au/partnerships/AGP.html design, instrumentation, electrical engineering, software engineering, chemistry, nanoscience, theoretical physics and simulation. A number of research outcomes will underpinned by our sensor capabilities such as optical fibre based sensors for gastrointestinal catheters, nanoparticle electrical sensors for e-Tongue applications, new technology in phase contrast X-Ray imaging, developments in acoustic sensors for in-vivo monitoring and in-vitro diagnostics. We are using materials science capability to develop improved coatings for orthopaedic and electronic implants and investigating future biomedical applications for carbon nanotube yarns. CSIRO has cultivated and protected IP positions across this portfolio with the aim of transferring to innovators in Australian industry. Partnership with many hospitals and key clinicians ensures sound outcomes for patients and clear pathways to market. We also greatly value the role of AusMedtech as a key communications channel between industry and the research sector. If you are a biomedical manufacturer looking for improvements to an existing product line, or if you are looking for completely new product lines, please talk to us. And, if you have aspirations to become a biomedical manufacturer, we’re here to help.