Researcher highlights Bridge Program opportunity

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Dr Gorjana Mitic, the commercialisation and innovation manager (Life Sciences) at Macquarie University, recently spoke about her experience as a participant in The Bridge Program.

The program is a collaboration between MTPConnect, pharmaceutical companies, venture capital firms and universities, to support commercialisation. It is being implemeted by QUT.

Speaking at the recent Science Meets Parliament event in Canberra, Dr Mitic said, “The Bridge Program, in which I was 1 of 100 selected participants, addresses a number of key objectives, identified as necessary to drive the sector’s future growth; translating research ideas and products to commercial outcomes, and developing necessary skills and networks.”

The program consists of a series of online education modules, seminars delivered by industry experts, a three-day workshop that backs onto the national AusBiotech conference and incorporates an investment pitch competition.

As part of the pitch competition, Dr Mitic was awarded one of four travel bursaries, which last month took her to the US-based headquarters of major pharmaceutical companies AbbVie, MSD and Amgen.

“To now know some of the international collaborators that I’d had existing connections with but no chance to meet before was a really great opportunity. I was able to build face-to-face relationships and really benefit from those interactions,” said Dr Mitic.

On the three-day workshop, she added, “The line-up of speakers was really impressive. There were senior executives and vice-presidents from major international companies and they were all enthusiastic and happy to share their insights with us all. This was a rare and invaluable opportunity that everyone was excited about.”

On the impact of The Bridge Program, Dr Mitic comments, “Initiatives like The Bridge Program enable us to share our combined knowledge and create cross-industry relationships which means we can all achieve our goals faster.”

Dr Mitic undertook an undergraduate degree in biotechnology, a diploma of innovation management and a PhD in cancer research before enrolling in the Bridge Program. She also worked in the biotechnology industry at Bio-Link Australia for 4 years before moving to her role at Macquarie University earlier this year.

She said she always had a professional interest in commercialisation and can see how opportunities like the Bridge Program can help overcome well-recognised barriers in Australia.