08/11/2012 - 15:39

UWA wins innovator of the year

08/11/2012 - 15:39

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A University of Western Australia research team has been awarded this year’s WA Innovator of the Year award, for its development of a gene technology that greatly improves the quality of life of people suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Science and innovation minister John Day said; “The UWA researchers have developed a technology that causes the gene translation machinery to skip the mutation which results in an improvement or a slowdown in the disease process which prolongs and improves the quality of life for patients with the disease”. 

“This treatment has been licensed and is undergoing clinical trials and there is currently no other treatment on the market addressing the cause of DMD.” 

The research team has licensed the new medical technology to Nasdaq-listed drug company Sarepta.

Last month, positive results from the DMD technology testing boosted the Sarepta share price by 200 per cent.

Other winners announced at the awards included South-Fremantle based HIVAP, online video service provider Kanopy, UWA’s bushfire simulator and Rivervale-based Long Pipes.

$190,000 in prize money was distributed amongst the winners.

HIVAP developed a new evaporative air conditioning system that uses a fifteenth of the power of a refrigerated air conditioning system.

Kanopy’s self-described “YouTube or quickflix for educational videos” won the encouragement award for its success in securing users at all Australian universities, as well as prestigious international institutions such as Harvard and Brown.

Managing director Olivia Humphrey said the service was now looking to expand its presence in the Asia/Pacific region.

Mr Day also used the opportunity to formally commence a new mentor program which aims to bring entrepreneurs Larry Lopez, Kelvin Willoughby and Shailendra Vyakarnam in contact with West Australian innovators.

The program will operate out of Innovation Centre WA, located in Technology Park in Bentley.

“The Resident Entrepreneurs Program will provide Innovation Centre clients with a direct link to mentors who understand the commercialisation process,” said Mr Day.   

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