More than 80 of Queensland’s most esteemed researchers, business leaders and policy makers gathered at Parliament House to bring the life sciences to the forefront of discussion at LSQ’s Life Sciences Industry in Parliament event, held in partnership with Davies Collison Cave.
The event aimed to stimulate conversations with members of Parliament to help transform companies for state-wide benefit and boost global visibility of the industry, with a particular focus on three key matters:
- How Queensland can better capitalise on its thriving life sciences industry
- The investment required to keep Queensland highly competitive
- The systemic changes required to ensure the security of the industry.
Attendees heard from keynote speaker Professor Paul Young, Head of School for the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at The University of Queensland (UQ), as well as The Hon. Leeanne Enoch MP, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science, and Minister for the Arts.
Professor Young articulated the importance of enhancing Australia’s fundamental therapeutic infrastructure and biotechnology SME base, with reference to UQ’s work with global specialty biotechnology company CSL to get its COVID-19 vaccine off the ground.
“While Australia will have the ability to manufacture UQ’s COVID-19 vaccine should it become a successful candidate following further clinical trials, various other candidates utilising different platforms will require investment to develop our country’s on-shore biomanufacturing infrastructure,” he said.
“As is stands, Australia lacks the fundamental therapeutic translational infrastructure and biotechnological SME base to manufacture independently on-shore. Queensland is uniquely placed to fill this gap and drive economic growth by building on existing expertise and embracing an Advanced Biomanufacturing Strategy, which will see the state lead the way in advanced biomanufacturing through this pandemic and beyond.”
The session saw Dr Peter Riddles AM moderate a panel discussion session featuring Blake Wills, Chief Executive Officer at Microba; Professor Robert Speight, Professor (Microbial Biotechnology) for the Science and Engineering Faculty at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Vice President for the Synthetic Biology Australasia Society and Chief Investigator at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Synthetic Biology; and Jacqueline Wilson-Smith, Global Strategist at the Sustainable Innovation Company.
Key themes from the panel discussion included the need to build on the work of universities across the state to see quality research translated to market, the need for investment in large-scale manufacturing plants, and the need for a change in governance structures to promote collaboration to ensure these goals can be met.
LSQ Chief Executive Officer Clare Blain said now is the time to take action in Queensland for the life sciences.
“Entering this year and the challenges faced by our country with COVID-19 drove LSQ to take a more strategic path in the face of uncertainty. That is why LSQ have brought — and will continue to bring — the best and brightest minds together under our flagship initiatives to build upon our billion-dollar industries in Queensland, and genuinely transform the state into a thriving life sciences ecosystem and hotspot for collaborative global innovation.”
For information on upcoming LSQ events, visit our events calendar.