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Australian delegates meet Indian healthcare experts for partnerships in research through academia

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

A 12-member Australian life sciences and healthcare delegation interacted with the pharma industry professionals in Mumbai recently to explore opportunities for partnership available in oncology, neurosciences, tropical medicines, medical devices, clinical trials and development research.

An initiative of the Australian Trade Commission and the Australian government to promote Australia’s world class research capability and innovative technologies, the business delegation is a flagship activity of the Australian Innovation Showcase in India 2014.

The Australian life sciences & health care mission is significant in the backdrop of the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF). The Australian government will provide A$20 million over the next four years to support scientific collaboration between Australian and Indian scientists. The AISRF has supported more than 220 joint scientific projects in areas of key importance to both countries including agricultural research, biomedical devices and implants, nanotechnology and vaccines.

Experts deliberated on the fact that basic research in oncology should move forward in terms of translational research for advancements in therapy and diagnosis of cancer. The incidence of cervical and oral cancer is high in India so opportunities for R&D can be harnessed in a big way.

It was concluded that partnerships can be explored on major areas of activity in human therapeutics like proteomics and genomics, immunology, oncology, tropical diseases and neuroscience in which significant R&D is happening in Australia.

Speaking about the Mission, Nicola Watkinson, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner South Asia, Australian Trade Commission said, “Australia’s research institutions, universities and technology companies are among the best in the world and offer significant potential for partnerships in the life sciences sector. Australia’s advanced innovation framework, coupled with government and business investment in R&D, present cutting-edge collaboration, research and commercialisation opportunities for India.”

“This is the largest concentration of Australian scientific and research know-how to be showcased in India in the life sciences sector. The interest from India’s life sciences, pharma and biotech companies has been overwhelming, signifying the potential for further strengthening Australia India partnerships,” Watkinson further explained.

The pharmaceutical industry is one of Australia’s largest high tech exporters, earning A$3.9 billion in 2012-13. It spent A$1 billion on R&D in 2010-11. Australia’s biotechnology sector had revenues of A$6.3 billion in 2013, making it the 6th largest market globally with over 470 biotech companies. Australia also has a A$10 billion medical technology industry which includes world class devices, diagnostics, telemedicine and e-health expertise.

Many international companies have successfully partnered with Australia on R&D and clinical trial development in the life sciences sector including Amgen, AstraZeneca, Baxter, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi. Sanofi’s vaccine division has recently signed a strategic alliance agreement with an Australian university to co-develop immune boosters and vaccines. The agreement encompasses programmes in infectious diseases, microbiology and immunology.

The Australian government’s gross expenditure on science, research and innovation was US$ 8 billion in 2013-14. The Australian government recently announced a US$ 18 billion Medical Research Future Fund within six years this will be the largest medical research endowment fund in the world and will see current funding towards medical research double by 2022.

The Australian life sciences and health care mission delegates represented leading Australian research institutions, life sciences companies, universities and healthcare advisers.

Participants at the Australian life sciences and health care mission included professor Louis Schofield, director, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM), James Cook University, Dr Gopalkrishna Pai, general manager, George Clinical, Ujjawal Dua, business and innovation manager, Life Sciences, Griffith University, Dr Janakan Krishnarajah, CEO, Linear Clinical Research, Professor Russell Gruen, director, National Trauma Research Institute, The Alfred & Monash University, Dr Andrew Milner, MD, Neurosciences Victoria, Peter Cox, CEO, PCA Directions, Dr Richard Lipscombe, MD, Proteomics Pty Ltd, Professor Rajiv Khanna, group leader, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Mark Thyssen, global marketing manager, Signostics Ltd, Nick Woolf, chief business officer, SUDA Ltd, Darren Wise, global engagement partnership manager (India), The University of Queensland and Harbans Bariana, associate professor, The University of Sydney.

 




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