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Bio Connections Australia

Optimising Clinical Trials | Commercialising Great Science | Partnering for Growth

18 November 2021 | Rydges Melbourne

We are excited to be moving back to face-to-face events but will continue to offer the option to attend the event virtually

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Bio Connections Australia explores drug development, early phase clinical trials, translational research and expediting Australia’s great science into commercialization.

2020 saw significant disruption to the drug development and clinical trials landscape in Australia and around the world. Australia’s response was remarkable in its ability to respond to the challenges and capture opportunities. How we maintain that momentum and build upon this is an important theme for discussion in 2021.

Ongoing work is needed to drive Australia to become globally competitive in novel therapeutics and create better pathways for companies to translate their great research into commercial products. From effective early partnering to funding plans for translation and commercialisation – this event is a critical opportunity for dialogue and debate between key stakeholders.

Australia is now well known as a leading destination for early phase clinical trials. The next step is to ensure we maintain the efficiencies and innovations adopted during the pandemic and build upon them. What are the innovative models which can be adopted and sustained? What are the opportunities with new tech and devices within clinical trials and what are the regulatory considerations?

Our communities are keen to reconnect, network, and learn more than ever after months of disruption. We are excited to be moving back to in-person events but will continue to offer the option to attend the event virtually.

Key topics to be covered in 2021:

  • Best practice examples in maturing assets and taking discoveries into clinic the right way
  • Emerging technology and remote monitoring in clinical trials
  • Devices in clinical trials
  • Manufacturing capabilities in Australia – exploring what’s needed and where opportunities lie
  • Creating efficiencies – models to bring the right patient to the right trial and increasing recruitment to studies
  • Learnings from the efficiencies achieved with covid vaccine pipeline – can we apply this to other therapeutics?
  • Trials in primary heath and GP Health network settings
  • Virtual trials and teletrials in Australia
  • Home based trials and hospital in the home
  • The clinical trials governance framework in Australia
  • Sustainability into clinical trial units in rural and regional areas
  • The post-covid investment landscape
  • Breakthrough Victoria Fund to boost research & innovation
  • Clinical Trial Diversity and Inclusion


The Hon John Brumby AO

Chancellor, La Trobe University, Chairman and Director, BioCurate, Chair, Breakthrough Victoria Fund

David Thomas FRACP

Phd, Head, Genomic Cancer Medicine, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Director, The Kinghorn Cancer Centre & Chief Executive Officer, Omico: Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre

Jackie Fairley

CEO, Starpharma Holdings Ltd.

Dr Anand Gautam

Executive Director & Emerging Science Lead, Emerging Science & Innovation, Asia & APAC (Australia & New Zealand), Pfizer Worldwide R&D

Dr Glenn Begley

International Biotech Consultant

Suhit Anantula

Founding CEO, Plexus Research

Jefferson Harcourt

Executive Chairman, Grey Innovation Group

Dr Mark Ashton

Executive Director, IP Commercialisation, UniQuest

Associate Professor Tam C. Nguyen

Deputy Director of Research, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

Ben Constable

Managing Director, Australia, Lumira Ventures

Anita van der Meer

Manager, clinicaltrialsNSW | Office for Health and Medical Research, NSW Ministry of Health

Dr Tina Soulis

Founder and Director, Alithia Life Sciences

Jai Rautela

Co-Founder & CEO, oNKo-innate

Linda Peterson

Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary, BioCurate Pty Ltd

Dr Deborah Rathjen

CEO, Carina Biotech

Gail Dawson

Director, Clinical Pharmacology  & Translational Development Operations, CSL

Dr John Patava

Chief Operating Officer, AUM Biosciences

Megan Ford

Executive Director Clinical Trials, Ingham Institute, South Western Sydney Local Health District

Jerneen Williams

Early Phase Clinical Trial Manager, Bellberry Limited

Dr. Russell Tait

CEO, PolyActiva Pty. Ltd

Max Rossetto

GM Business Development, Luina Bio

Kevin Wightman

Senior Director of Business and Corporate Development, Asia Pacific, Illingworth Research Group a Syneos Health Company

Professor Ian Alexander

Clinical Geneticist, FAHMS, Director Laboratory Research and Senior Staff Specialist, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Professor in Paediatrics and Molecular Medicine, University of Sydney & Head of the Gene Therapy Research Unit, a joint initiative of Children’s Medical Research Institute and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW)

Dr Ric DeGaris

Interim CEO / Head, Clinical Operations, Neuroscience Trials Australia

Ben Edwards

Chief Strategy Officer, Avance Clinical


8:50 am

Welcome from the Chair

Associate Professor Tam C. Nguyen, Deputy Director of Research, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

9:30 am

The challenges of vector supply and manufacture in the local and global gene therapy context

Professor Ian Alexander, Clinical Geneticist, FAHMS, Director Laboratory Research and Senior Staff Specialist, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Professor in Paediatrics and Molecular Medicine, University of Sydney & Head of the Gene Therapy Research Unit, a joint initiative of Children’s Medical Research Institute and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW)

10:00 am

  • What are our existing capabilities and what is possible here now?
  • What are Australian companies doing to get products manufactured and into clinical trials now?
  • What will be most beneficial i.e. what type of manufacturing can we do?
  • The importance of creating the right ecosystem and what a difference the right manufacturing capabilities will make
  • What impact will the Modern Manufacturing Initiative have?
  • What are the long-term goals and new government initiatives?
  • Re-skilling the workforce

10:45 am

Networking Break

11:45 am

  • How can we learn more, become better, connect better?
  • How will CROs/sites get creative and innovative in how we keep up with the momentum and demand for trials in Australia?
  • How do we accommodate and double or triple the capacity?
  • How can we add more value?
  • What do we need from government?

12:00 pm

Towards the end of 2020, as the world grappled with the question of how to emerge stronger from the COVID crisis, Victoria announced one of the biggest investments in Research and Development in Australia’s history. The $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund will work with Victoria’s world-class researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs to move their work along the pathway from concept to prototype to product to market. In this presentation The Hon. John Brumby AO, inaugural Chair of the Breakthrough Victoria Fund, will explain how it can help to take Victoria’s already world-class biotechnology sector to a whole new level.

12:30 pm

  • How can we build more efficient ways of moving forward with clinical trials and delivering outcomes?
  • How do we ensure quality in the sector i.e. timelines, resources etc
  • How can we work towards predictable and efficient study start-up timeline’s?
  • Addressing the resourcing for clinical trials in Australia – what can we do to address the skills set shortage?
  • Managing expectations and delivering on our promises
  • Reviewing the way we review and approve protocol
  • Applying the learnings from the efficiencies achieved with covid vaccine pipeline
  • Partnering with pharma on pre-screening

1:15 pm

Networking Lunch

2:15 pm

  • Trials in primary heath and GP Health network settings
    • What is involved? What are the key challenges/barriers e.g. funding?
    • How can GPs become more involved – why are they not more involved now?
    • What sort of therapeutic areas will this work in?
  • Virtual trials
  • Home-based trials
  • How can we do trials in tertiary centres and move some in order to complete trials more quickly?
  • How to use technology to improve and create efficiencies
  • Merging devices to enhance clinical trial operations and make them a reality of clinical trials

3:00 pm

  • How we made significant progress in a short space of time
  • What’s achievable with the right team and how do you build that?
  • Effective partnerships and funding models
  • How best to use Australia for your early stage
  • What’s missing at the pre-clinical stage in Australia?

3:45 pm

Networking Break

4:15 pm

Get better connected and create more successful Life Sciences companies

Ben Constable, Managing Director, Australia, Lumira Ventures

4:35 pm

  • The 2020 8 point plan to become globally competitive in novel therapeutics
  • Progress since 2020: Blueprint for biotech, recent MRFF activities & new schemes with translation
  • Best practice examples in maturing assets and taking discoveries into clinic the right way
  • Learning from the best examples of good collaborations
  • Where can we improve?
    • Expertise in translation
    • Transparency in funding
  • What could we achieve? The next steps to become truly globally competitive in novel therapeutics

5:30 pm

Networking Drinks

6:30 pm

Bio Palooza Networking Dinner


Packages Price
Premium Pass$1695+GST
Virtual Pass$900+GST
Extras Price
Dinner Ticket $150+GST
Packages Price
Premium Pass$695+GST
Extras Price
Dinner Ticket $150+GST

Book with total confidence

The COVID-19 situation is changing daily, and we want you to feel confident about booking onto our events.

  • If you cannot travel due to restrictions, we can provide a credit of your registration fee towards a future Informa conference or a refund will be available up to 5 working days before the event.
    Alternatively, if the event is being delivered virtually, you may move your registration to a virtual pass and invite a colleague to join the virtual event experience.
  • If Informa Connect reschedules the event, we will roll over your booking to the new dates.

Bio Palooza is back for 2021!

We are delighted to announce the event highlight Bio Palooza Dinner will be returning for the 2021 edition of Bio Connections Australia. Don’t miss out on this intimate get together and key networking opportunity to further discuss and connect following the conference with your fellow delegates and speakers in this informal setting.

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Informa Health & Safety Commitments

When you join our event, you can expect to see that health and safety is a priority, and that a range of measures are in place to ensure everyone involved is able to enjoy a safe, hygienic, productive and high-quality organised event experience.

All Informa events will be run according to official government and local authority guidance in the first instance, as well as any venue or location-specific regulations. In addition, Informa Australia will follow some key health and safety priority commitments as part of “Informa AllSecure”.

Vaccination required for all in-person attendees
To ensure the maximum safety of our audiences, Informa requires all in-person participants (speakers, delegates, partners, sponsors, exhibitors, suppliers) to be fully vaccinated in order to gain access to the physical event. For those unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, we encourage you to participate in the event by booking a virtual pass to attend the event.

This is an important measure to keep our community members safe who have not yet been able to get vaccinated or who are unable to get vaccinated. We hope it will also help infuse confidence and alleviate concerns that some may still have about attending an event in person.

For more information and to see our FAQs about our Covid-19 health & safety approach, please visit

Event Health & Safety measures in place

  • Informa will continue to adhere to the COVID-19 rules and restrictions applicable to the local state government where the event will be run
  • Enhanced cleaning and hygiene practice including deep cleaning and sanitization before, during and after our events has been implemented.
  • Reduced contact registration is in place
  • Physically distanced seating options in line with local authority regulations will be provided in all venues
  • Contact tracing: All attendees will be required to check-in to the event venue using the relevant government Covid-safe app

when & where

18 Nov 2021

Rydges Melbourne
186 Exhibition St,
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9662 0511


Still have a question?

Frankie Brewer
Conference Manager
+61 2 9080 4015

Danielle Newman
Senior Business Development Manager
+61 (2) 9080 4318

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