News story 12th Dec 2014

Master of Business (Science & Technology) Industry Awards

The 8th Annual Awards evening for the Master of Business (Science & Technology) took place on Thursday 27 November, and was sponsored by Dr. Erol Harvey, CEO for miniFAB, and Professor Ian Smith, Vice-Provost (Research and Research Infrastructure), Monash University.

The evening was a celebration of the achievement of the Master of Business (Science & Technology) Commercialisation Project groups. First place was awarded to Hannah Szto and Sarah McPherson for their Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences Project – Biomimetic Prodrug Technology. Second place was awarded to Evelyn Lim and Tiffany Chin for their CSIRO Project – PEEK High Performance Thermoplastic Composites.

Professor Ian Smith opened formalities with an introduction to Monash University's commitment to science and technology, its recent impacts and the value of the Master of Business (Science & Technology) to Monash's commercialisation endeavours.

"My generation have had several jobs, however current students need to build their own companies and need to be prepared to face the brave new world," said Professor Ian Smith.

Dr Erol Harvey's keynote address highlighted MiniFAB as a developer and manufacturer of lab-on-a-chip diagnostic devices. With global experience working with multinationals, start-ups and SME's, he has been involved in the commercialisation of micro and nano technologies for over 20 years. Dr. Harvey is also Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, a Member of MANCEF, and has served on several Government Councils and Advisory Boards.

In 2011, miniFAB was awarded the inaugural 'Enabling Technology Company of the Year' and in 2012, Dr Harvey was awarded 'Enabling Technology Entrepreneur of the Year' by the Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame, in recognition for achievements in entrepreneurship in emerging technology.

Industry awards 

Collaboration with MiniFab has provided the course with great depth and reach, providing students with a richer learning experience, particularly in the areas of developing and refining technology transfer and commercialisation methodologies.

Dr Harvey presented the second-placed team award to Evelyn Lim and Tiffany Chin for their CSIRO Project – PEEK High Performance Thermoplastic Composites.

This project undertook an evaluation of the current and future prospects of PEEK high performance thermoplastic composite developed by CSIRO. It addressed the commercial viability of the product, first by assessing the science and technology of the development, the intellectual property position, and the different applications and market opportunities.

The main advantage of the new technology is the lower overall processing and maintenance costs compared with other composites and traditional materials. The second extremely valuable factor is that it also has an edge over its competitors due to the fact that it is recyclable. In order to capture this commercialisation opportunity, CSIRO also need to continue developing the product. In doing so, it is likely to improve the overall performance, maintenance and cost effectiveness of the end product.

First place was then awarded to Hannah Szto and Sarah McPherson for their Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences Project – Biomimetic Prodrug Technology.

The prodrug technology delivers a drug payload directly to the lymphatic system without being metabolised. There is currently a large portion of pharmaceutical therapies developed that suffer from either poor bioavailability or delivery, and subsequently, patients endure a larger side effect profile in order to receive the same therapeutic effect.

This technology has the potential to be paired with a vast array of pharmaceutical agents and boost their delivery to the lymphatic system as well as increase the presence of the drug by avoiding metabolism. The purpose of the team's project was to analyse the technology and surrounding opportunity landscape to identify the prime commercialisation pathway.

The Master of Business (Science & Technology) is specifically designed to assist students in the management and commercialisation of leading-edge medical, scientific or technology projects. The course also includes a year-long commercialisation project, carried out by pairs of students working with researchers and supervised by BDM's and academic staff. The purpose of the project is for students to gain practical exposure to the real world of commercialisation, and for researchers to gain useful analysis, insight and a commercialisation plan with a relatively low investment of time and money. Over the past eight years, students projects have included commercialisation plans for drugs, devices, diagnostic methods, vision systems and air filtration technology, to name a few.