Adelaide welcomes medical technology sector

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Creating a thriving and sustainable medical devices sector in Australia will be a key topic at the annual AusMedtech conference, which opened in Adelaide this morning.

AusMedtech is being held in Adelaide for the first time, presented by AusBiotech and host state partner BioSA.

The two-day event has brought together over 250 medtech professionals and will explore advances in medical devices and technologies, including the impact of digital technology on patient care.

The conference was officially opened by Science and Information Economy Minister Kyam Maher, with Health Industries Minister Jack Snelling joining the pitch to potential investors.

"Holding this event in Adelaide is recognition of the State Government’s strong commitment to supporting the health and biomedical industries," said Mr Maher. "Innovation in our high-value industries has never been more important. The major challenges facing traditional manufacturing in South Australia have led to greater focus on developing future growth industries such as medical technologies."

"This conference is a great opportunity to showcase Adelaide as the ideal location for life sciences research and investment," said Mr Snelling. "Adelaide’s facilities are experienced from pre-clinical trials right through to Phase 4, making Adelaide a one-stop-shop for clinical research."

According to Health Industries SA chief executive Marco Baccanti, the technology being developed by the sector had a very real impact on people’s everyday lives and it was in the national, and the state, interest to encourage ongoing commercialisation and investment.

“Adelaide is increasingly becoming a destination for life sciences investment, which is helping create high-skilled jobs in the state and build momentum for further investment in this important high-tech sector,” he said.

“The conference will provide an excellent opportunity to showcase Adelaide as a medtech innovation destination, and highlight the collaboration between all of our key sector players including BioSA, Health Industries South Australia, the Medical Device Partnering Program and Tonsley, Australia’s first innovation district.”

BioSA Acting CEO Dr Meera Verma told delegates this morning that South Australia’s economy is primed to embrace value-added manufacturing by building off its engineering and traditional manufacturing capabilities.

“For a medtech sector to thrive there needs to be an ability to manage the complexity that is found in the many layers that make up an industry,” said Dr Verma.

“This is something that SA in particular is well versed in, given our past in automotive and traditional manufacturing, creating a complex interaction of stakeholders and a value chain of infrastructure, expertise and capabilities along the way. Although we are now transitioning away from this style of manufacturing the ability to manage an industry complexity remains.”

Dr Verma has announced the launch of a mentoring program for PhD science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) students, to support the next generation of high tech sector leaders.

“In order to be a truly innovative economy, we need to improve collaboration between our universities and industry and increase the number of our PhD students moving into the commercial and government sectors,” she said.