Life Sciences WA launched

12/04/2021 - 15:51

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The pharmaceutical and medical technology sector in WA has launched an industry association, more than one year after the state government promised its own growth plan for the industry.

Gary Cox has chaired Wrays since 2010

The pharmaceutical and medical technology sector in Western Australia has launched an industry association, more than one year after the state government promised its own growth plan for the industry.

Life Sciences WA includes representatives from government, universities, research institutions and corporates.

The new body is chaired Gary Cox, who also heads intellectual property law firm Wrays.

“This is a first for Western Australia,” Mr Cox said.

“Never before have stakeholders from all the different fields of life sciences come together to purposively connect, educate and promote the industry.”

The association encompasses biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical technology, agriculture technology and aquaculture.

Mr Cox said he expected that different parts of the sector could learn from each other.

“As an association we will explore opportunities and showcase Western Australia as a world-class life sciences hub that delivers global economic prosperity, health and environmental benefit.”

The new body’s vice chair is Tracey Wilkinson, who is MTPConnect’s director of stakeholder engagement WA.

MTPConnect was established in 2015 as one of the Australian government’s ‘growth centres’.

It aims to accelerate the growth of the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector.

Dr Wilkinson said Life Sciences WA will bring the sector’s innovators closer together.

“I think we can all agree that a lot more goes on in WA than just digging resources out of the ground,” she said.

The WA government announced in February last year plans to develop its own growth plan for the health and medical life sciences industry.

It established an industry reference group chaired by chief scientist Peter Klinken and aimed to release the final plan in the second half of last year but did not meet that target.

Nationally, the life sciences industry is estimated to employ around 86,000 people and generate $39 billion of revenue.

The sector in WA includes globally renowned research institutions such as the Telethon Kids Institute and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research but has little commercial production.

Life Science WA has set five key goals, including the promotion of the sector as innovative, experienced and internationally competitive.

It seeks to provide members with networks, market intelligence and services to support their own business opportunities.

The association also aims to foster collaboration and innovation within the sector, attract investment and talent to WA and play a leading role in shaping the direction of the industry and influencing public policy.

Its committee includes Michael Pasquale, a senior policy officer at the Department of Health, Janet Preuss, who heads consulting firm QRC Solutions, Mike Jones from Murdoch University, Kevin Pfleger from the University of Western Australia, Colin La Galia from medicinal chemistry company Epichem and Simon Graindorge from medical device company OncoRes Medical.

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