News & Trends - Biotechnology

Winners announced for AusBiotech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Industry Excellence Awards

Health Industry Hub | October 27, 2021 |
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Biotech News: In recognition of the highest achievers in the Australian life sciences sector, the prestigious Industry Excellence Awards were announced today at the AusBiotech 2021 national conference, during Australia’s biggest week of biotech.

The AusBiotech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Industry Excellence Awards celebrate life science leaders who are championing the sector throughout Australia and the global community. From researchers who successfully translate their discoveries to clinical practice, to companies who pioneer the developments of new treatments and reliable diagnostics, these illustrious Awards recognise the leading lights of Australia’s world-class biotechnology, medical technology and healthcare sectors.

AusBiotech’s Chief Executive Officer, Lorraine Chiroiu, said “Congratulations to the recipients of the 2021 AusBiotech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Industry Excellence Awards, who represent the
leading success stories of Australian biotechnology and act as a celebration of the innovation excellence happening across the country. The companies and individuals recognised have made an invaluable contribution to the sector and Australia over the years, are driven by passion for innovation and technical excellence in biotechnology, and demonstrate what can be achieved when vision and commitment unite.”

Kathy Connell, Senior Director Early Innovation Partnering, ANZ, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, who announced the Awards, said “These inspiring award recipients are undertaking an incredibly important mission, aiming to improve the health of people across the globe. We are delighted to
sponsor these awards for the ninth consecutive year, and to help recognise the innovative and outstanding approaches to science and business, and the meaningful contributions these biotechnology leaders have made to the Australian life sciences ecosystem.”

2021 Winners

Australian Company of the Year: SpeeDx

Already experiencing strong growth, NSW-based molecular diagnostics company SpeeDx has demonstrated agility throughout the COVID19 pandemic – almost doubling its staff and increasing manufacturing capabilities by over 500% to meet demand for production of COVID-related
products, namely tests for detecting the causative agent and/or for genotyping variants of concern.

SpeeDx has pioneered an innovative approach to molecular diagnostics that supports data-driven treatment pathways in key areas of healthcare. The home-grown company, supported by key investors Northpond Ventures and Platinum International Health Care Fund, specialises in diagnostics that offer comprehensive information for improved infectious disease testing, and personalised treatment practices in oncology. SpeeDx sells over 45 products across multiple regions and regulatory jurisdictions based on
over 80 patents protected globally.

Australian Emerging Company of the Year: oNKo-innate

oNKo-innate (oNKo) is a discovery-stage biotechnology company dedicated to how the immune system might be better harnessed to treat cancer. oNKo aims to be the first to master Natural Killer cell biology and therapeutically harness the cancer-fighting abilities of these remarkable white blood cells. Founded in 2017, oNKo’s capabilities have already received international recognition, and it has formed a partnership in 2020 with two global biopharmaceutical companies, Gilead Sciences Inc and Kite Pharma, to discover novel therapies in immuno-oncology and cell therapy. oNKo also partnered with Monash University, to base its operations within Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Clayton, Victoria.

The Australian company has grown from a humble team of two founders in 2019 to a team of 32 scientists in 2021, with even more ambitious plans for expansion over the coming years. As a privately-owned company, it demonstrates a unique model of funding and building an early-stage venture locally through discovery research partnership with global biopharmaceutical companies, it is a true exemplar of a university-industry partnership success.

Industry Leadership Award: David Blake, Editor and Publisher, Bioshares

As Co-Founder, Editor and Publisher of industry publication Bioshares, David Blake has been instrumental in growing and maintaining investors’ knowledge of and confidence in the Australian life sciences sector.
Delivering weekly independent investment research, analysis and opinion to stockbrokers, analysts, fund managers, and investors, David has created considerable profile of and value for the Australian life sciences sector and investors.

David’s commitment to seeing the sector flourish is at the heart of his authentic, independent and clear leadership. Through the annual BioShares Investor Conference, a unique, trusted, and comfortable learning space has been created for leaders to network and share experiences, and between the sessions build great friendships and strengthen the social bonds that are central to the fabric of the life sciences sector, adding to the cluster-effect that is essential in driving innovation ecosystems. Blake Industry and Market Analysis Pty Ltd was founded in 1998 by Mark Pachacz and David Blake.

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