Innovation is a crucial ingredient to providing breakthroughs in the life sciences sector.
From penicillin to the human genome, innovation can generate great leaps in science. On November 30, BioMelbourne Network launched Victoria’s Innovation Week by celebrating the positive advances in the life sciences sector with a breakfast event featuring a number of speakers sharing their stories of innovation.
Elaine Saunders, of Blamey Saunders hears, spoke of her experience in developing a new platform for the calibration and distribution of hearing aids. Using a smartphone or tablet, customers are able to undergo a comprehensive hearing exam – the results of which allow for direct ordering and delivery of a fully calibrated hearing aid. Saunders emphasised the need for scalability in innovation, stressing that true innovation cannot come from only doing things in a slightly different way.
George Charalambous of Curve Tomorrow (a healthcare technology company embedded on the Royal Children’s Hospital campus) shared his key factors for success in innovation, espousing the benefits for a ‘champion on the inside’ and emphasising the need for a ‘quick win’ in the early stages to build steam for future development. Most impressive was the development of ‘Sonny’, a simple new rehabilitation tool for children that uses an off-the-shelf Xbox Kinect camera to help children rehabilitate from upper limb impairments more quickly and more accurately than previous treatments.
Capping off the event was an address from Innovation, Trade, and Small Business Minister Philip Dalidakis affirming the government’s commitment to innovation, tentpoled by LaunchVic, a $60 million Victorian start-up initiative. Alongside the federal government’s just released $1.1 billion innovation policy (including a $250 million Biomedical Translation Fund to help research transition from the laboratory to the marketplace), government has clearly signalled its support of innovation in Australia. The passion from BioMelbourne Network CEO Krystal Evans addressing attendees solidified the positive atmosphere of the event.
Armed with a suite of tools and a wealth of knowledge from the insightful speakers, and support from government, the most difficult part of innovation may remain – commercialisation. Indeed, a common theme for both speakers was the difficulty in moving to large-scale commercialisation, enabled by a pathway for an innovative product to enter the market. Indeed, rigid reimbursement and funding structures in healthcare can sometimes stifle progress between idea and implementation – or – R&D and commercialisation.
However, by thinking about a commercial launch, well in advance of getting to the launch phase, much can be done earlier on in an innovation’s research and development phase to ensure commercial success. In a market where the need for differentiation and clear communication of value, is more important now than it ever has been, collecting clinical and economic data alongside development is a key in preparing a product’s commercial strategy that ensures innovation successfully transitions from research and development to commercialisation.
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This article is written by Phoebe McDonald and Matthew Douglas from our Market Insights team.