News / 28 August 2019
Dr Damien Bates, Dr Melanie Domingues and Dr Tina Soulis
From left: Dr Damien Bates, Dr Melanie Domingues and Dr Tina Soulis.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a scientist with a promising new regenerative medicine treatment must be in want for a strategy to get their discovery from bench to bedside. However, for many scientists, particularly early career researchers, the path to commercialisation remains shrouded in mystery. The world is on the cusp of a regenerative medicine revolution. The increasing number of cell and gene therapies hitting the market and available to patients means an increased understanding of the processes, the complexities and the relationships between academia and industry that facilitate the commercialisation of research is a necessity.

To this end and to remind and prepare our scientists for the ultimate aim - to improve the lives of patients through novel treatments and technologies - ARMI designed the Industry Mentoring Program. Through this, we welcome leaders of industry, both in Australia and from abroad, to discuss their experiences, share their real world knowledge and to answer any questions our ARMI researchers may have. Earlier this month, we held our third session with Dr Damien Bates (a member of ARMI’s Industry Advisory Board, and Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Translational Medicine at BioCurate) and Dr Tina Soulis (CEO of Neuroscience Trials Australia).

With Damien and Tina, we covered the spectrum of the therapy development pipeline, from drug discovery and early-stage research to first-in-human studies and clinical trials. The session was deeply valuable for ARMI researchers, with discussion encompassing the existential issues facing regenerative medicine scientists looking to commercialise their work, as well as the feasible, actionable items that could kickstart a new career path alongside or into industry.


ARMI researchers at the Industry Mentoring Program lunch session.
ARMI researchers at the Industry Mentoring Program lunch session.

“It was encouraging to see ARMI research engage so enthusiastically about industry and its role in translating research. Questions about the current Australian biotech and biopharma landscape, which companies to contact, how and for what kind of positions - it is these questions that demonstrate the mindset shift occurring among academic researchers,” commented Damien.

Tina added, “A large part of lifting the veil on industry is mentoring. We were being asked how to maximise mentor-relationships, where to find them and whether we could review CVs. It’s hugely gratifying to give back to students and early-career researchers, but also to be involved in taking biomedical research to the next level. Being supportive and collaborating is the best way to nurture new research, to strive to make a difference in patient’s lives.”

We have no doubt that all the ARMI researchers who attended the session now have an action plan to bolster their involvement and partnerships with industry. We would like to thank Damien and Tina for their time and generosity!