By Jeremy Wurm, Founder – Brooker Consulting

Not being able to visit Perth since the pandemic, I was delighted to remind myself of the excellence of the health and medical sector in WA. The locals are justifiably proud of their achievements in bringing novel technology to market for the benefit of consumers, and a number of presentations at this year’s event underlined the fact that a significant number of talented West Australians have been inspired by Fiona Wood. The future for the local healthcare arena is assured, and there is world class investigation underway. The confidence and support of the WA Government has clearly been vindicated.

In addition to the main biotechnology conference, AusBiotech ran an investment forum on the second day, as well as sessions dedicated to agri-biotech. As usual, the Millis Oration was a highlight, attracting a remarkable presentation from Prof. Marvin Caruthers from the University of Colorado, who is nothing short of a “serial entrepreneur”, having established a brace of highly successful biotech companies during his stellar career. Another well attended presentation was from Prof. Fiona Wood AM., who engaged the audience with her talk describing the story of spray on skin, and the impact that her invention has had on the quality of life for burns victims internationally. There were a further 40 sessions, offering delegates a range of plenary and keynote addresses, as well as panel discussions and the obligatory social events, enabling attendees to network.

A traditional feature of the conference has always been the Innovation Industry Excellence Awards, jointly hosted by Johnson & Johnson, and AusBiotech. This award acknowledges the excellent work of some of the country’s most prominent researchers, inventors and innovators, and the winners this year were all able to demonstrate their success, each in their own outstanding way. At the conclusion of the conference, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute jointly funded an Early Stage Investment Forum, modeled on the concept of a “Shark Tank” pitching session, and the quality of applications was such that no clear winner could be identified, resulting in a joint prize for first place.

The Board, CEO, COO, staff and stakeholders of Australia’s national biotechnology organisation are to be congratulated on a resoundingly successful conference in Perth! In addition to locals and visitors from all around Australia, registrations were also received from 12 countries, covering Australasia, Southeast Asia, North America, Europe and the United Kingdom. Sponsorship was strong, and more than 70 organisations were represented in the exhibit hall booths.

Next year, AusBiotech will be holding the national AusMedtech conference in Adelaide at the end of May, and the AusBiotech Conference itself will take place in Brisbane from the 1st to 3rd of November. I look forward to hearing from the country’s best and brightest in the fields of life sciences, medical devices, diagnostics and all other manifestations of the biotechnology sector.

Brooker Consulting is a prominent Australian talent acquisition and leadership advisory firm specialising in appointing interim and substantive CEOs, Board positions and c-suite executives. Our expertise spans the public and private sectors, with a strong focus on biotechnology, research, and health technology organisations.

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