Rising Australian Biotech Stars Set to Connect on the World Stage.

Two of Australia’s leading life scientists have been chosen from a highly competitive field of candidates to take part in an initiative by Merck Sharp & Dohme and Advance to boost the capability of the country’s burgeoning biopharmaceutical industry.

Antisense Therapeutics Ltd (ASX code: ANP) Research Director Dr Christopher Wraight and DendriMed Research Director Dr Raisa Monteiro have been selected as joint winners of the 2008 Advancing BioBusiness Award, which aims to expand vital global connections for Australian science and foster more international business for local life sciences companies.

They will attend the world’s largest biotechnology meeting, the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO) international convention in San Diego in June, which attracts over 22,000 visitors.

A tailored program of meetings will also be scheduled with leading American organisations and individuals including venture capital firms, research institutes, biotechnology entrepreneurs and biopharmaceutical companies. This will help build valuable international networks, knowledge and collaborations that will benefit their business and the Australian industry.

The Advancing BioBusiness Award is an innovative scheme by Merck Sharp & Dohme and Advance, a dynamic, diverse global community of Australian professionals overseas committed to advancing Australia and Australians.

Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, said:

"The Advancing BioBusiness Award complements the Rudd Government's policy of promoting innovation and commercialisation in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector, encouraging closer links between Australian biotech and global pharmaceutical companies, and helping Australian biotechs access global supply chains."

Dr Phil Kearney, Merck Sharp & Dohme’s manager for external scientific affairs, said Australia is recognised for its excellence in medical research and its vigorous and creative biopharmaceutical industry. However the number of drug development projects which reach advanced clinical development is only a quarter of what would be predicted on the basis of our output in scientific literature.

"By immersing two of our top biopharmaceutical people in successful commercial research centres in the United States, and providing them with opportunities to share their learning back at home, we aim to build a stronger Australian capability to win in this highly competitive global knowledge market," he said.

Advance invites members of the Life Science Network to participate in building the individual programs for Dr Monteiro and Dr Wraight. If you are interested, please contact Penny Mapp on penny@advance.org. 

Let us know if you are attending Bio2008 in San Diego by registering here.