Session themes announced

AusBiotech 2019 is dedicated to consolidating the sector’s growth, and our 2019 conference will once again present issues critical to industry. Panel discussions and key themes will cover: 

  • Building your Board

  • Clinical trials

  • Data integrity

  • De-risking biotech messaging

  • Drug development and R&D processes

  • Ethics in gene editing

  • Future Forum

  • Gene therapies

  • Innovation and commercialisation

  • Investing in life sciences

  • Medicinal cannabis

  • Regenerative medicine

  • Synthetic biology

  • Updates on the Medical Research Future Fund and Innovation and Science Australia

  • Women in leadership


Programme highlights


Dr Elizabeth Finkel

The gene therapy revolution is here. Medicine is scrambling to keep pace.

Medicine is set for a major disruption from the arrival of gene therapy. Elizabeth Finkel’s keynote will guide you through the remarkable features of the gene therapy revolution.

Dr Elizabeth Finkel is the recipient of the 2019 medal from the Australian Society for Medical research, the first time it has been awarded to a journalist.

Elizabeth Finkel co-founded the popular science magazine, Cosmos, and from 2013 to 2018 served as Editor in Chief. Elizabeth’s work has appeared in publications ranging from the US journal, Science to The Age as well as on ABC radio’s Science Show. Her work for Cosmos Magazine has snapped up four Publishers Australia Excellence Awards. In 2011 she was named the National Press Club’s Higher Education Journalist of the Year, and in 2013 her Cosmos Magazine story “Fields of Plenty” won the Crawford Prize for agricultural journalism. In 2015, Elizabeth won the Department of Industry and Science Eureka Prize for Science Journalism for her article "A Statin a day".


Dr Tom Luby
Director, TMC Innovation Institute

Dr Luby will be sharing his experience translating science and technology into valuable solutions for patients and consumers across the pharmaceutical, medical device, and consumer health technology sectors. He will also speak about his new role and vision for TMC Innovation, including international partnerships such as Australia’s BioBridge with the Texas Medical Center.

Prior to making his way down to Houston, Texas Medical Center, and TMC Innovation, Tom served as New Ventures Lead at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, where he was instrumental in closing many deals with pharmaceutical and consumer companies and supporting the JLABS sites in Toronto and Boston. In addition, Tom spent 14 years in various R&D and business development positions, including Senior Director of Research Ventures at Shire.

In his previous role as Head of JLABS @ TMC, Tom was the site head and played a critical role in creating a place where startups could translate science and technology into valuable solutions for patients and consumers.


Early stage investment forum

The Early Stage Investment Forum (ESIF) is a key element of AusBiotech 2019 conference featuring short pitches from SMEs and research institutions (Universities, Medical Research Institutes, etc.) on early stage Biotech technology and projects covering areas such as:

  • Human therapeutics

  • Diagnostics

  • Medical devices

  • Digital health and;

  • Enabling technologies

The forum is open to conference attendees and will take place on Friday 1 November at 9.00am – 12.30pm.

Call for submissions is now open. Submit an application to secure a spot in the forum. Submission closes 20 September 2019.


Anti-fibrotic drugs: a hot area for development

Fibrosis, or tissue scarring, is said to play a role in over 45 percent of all disease. Consequently, there is significant interest in therapeutics that can slow fibrosis, evidenced by early-stage transactions. This session, featuring a panel of ASX-listed CEOs, will showcase how Australian biotechnology companies are targeting this area of high interest and unmet medical need.


Realising the potential of gene therapies

As the development of gene therapies looks more and more promising, the barriers loom large. This panel session, chaired by Editor of BioPharma Dispatch, Paul Cross and featuring key regulatory decision-makers , will explore the pathway of gene therapy development in Australia and address the essential elements to smooth the touch-points along the way.

de risking.jpg

The sacred word: de-risking biotech messaging

Consistent communication and messaging when developing a drug candidate asset is critical and not often realised. Join the panel exploring a hypothetical that uncovers how an integrated team of specialist consultants can ensure that robust clinical plans and preparatory messaging, results in positive outcomes for media and ASX-company announcements with spin-off benefits for capital raising, partnering and company stature.


Clinical trials - Australia’s unique position to capitalise on opportunities in emerging markets

Suzy Madar from King & Wood Mallesons, will discuss Australia’s position and capability as a location for the conduct of clinical trials. AbbVie, Austrade, Astrx Clinical Research and GlobalData will discuss strategies to ensure data derived from Australian trials can be effectively utilised when making applications to foreign regulators (in particular, USA and China). 



Regenerative Medicine - Australian and International perspectives and opportunities

Local and global thought leaders, our Regenerative Medicine Advisory Group, and session sponsor CCRM-Australia, will discuss how regenerative medicine is transforming healthcare.

Session 1: Australian advances and opportunities  

Dr Dawn Driscoll, CEO, Cell Therapies will chair a panel that discusses the local sector and celebrates Australian regenerative medicine translation and commercialisation success stories of novel treatments with a focus on learning and highlighting opportunities for further development. Panel members include:

·     Professor Melissa Little, Theme Director, Cell Biology, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

·     Associate Professor Dominic Wall, Chief Scientific Officer, Cell Therapies

·     Paul Anderson, Managing Director and CEO, Orthocell

·     Dr Dan Grant, CEO, MTPConnect

·     Dr Hiroya Muranishi, Director, Strategic Alliance, Shonan Research Central Office, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd

Session 2: International perspectives 

Accounts from Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Belgium and India, this session will share global insights on how they are advancing their regenerative medicine sectors, in particular the government and regulatory settings and what lessons we can learn to support the Australian industry.


Medicinal cannabis – new developments in Australia

Regulators and medical professionals globally are recognising the significant clinical evidence demonstrating the benefits of cannabinoid medicines for the treatment of chronic pain and illness. Many companies are currently navigating the complex regulatory environment and the importance of improving the quality of cannabis research efforts to provide conclusive evidence of the efficacy of medicinal cannabis.

Medicinal cannabis – new developments in Australia will bring together leading experts and operations across all aspects of the medicinal cannabis value chain beginning with cultivation and production through to manufacture and sale of cannabinoid pharmaceuticals, including the important roles of treatment clinics in getting quality medical cannabis to Australian patients.

The panel will feature:

  • Chair: Dr Richard Hopkins, CEO, Zelda Therapeutics

  • Dr Stewart Washer, Executive Director, Emerald Clinics

  • Dr Emily Rigby, Director of Research & Compliance, Cannatrek

  • Ido Kanyon, CEO, AusCann Group Holdings