Recent participants in NSW Health’s Commercialisation Training Program say they’ve gained valuable insights and practical advice to develop their own businesses.
No matter how much experience they have in science, academia, business or the health industry, people are finding NSW Health’s free Commercialisation Training Program (CTP) an essential tool when they embark on commercialising a product. “Even if you think you know enough about a particular subject, I can guarantee there will be plenty of nuggets of gold in these courses to make it worthwhile,” says Dr Nicky Boulter, part of a team at the Garvan Institute that is hoping to bring to market a simple PCR test for the early detection of kidney disease.
“I am a scientist with over 30 years’ experience, with a Master in Intellectual Property, who has worked in both academia and industry and have been involved in commercialising diagnostic assays. However, this did not involve gaining much of an understanding of the broader aspects of running a business, approaching and engaging appropriate customers or how to obtain a Medicare code.”
Over the past year or so, Dr Boulter has taken full advantage of the CTP, (a free offering from NSW Health), completing all four information-packed one-day courses, as well as longer units on customer discovery, business fundamentals and diagnostics specialisation.
“Each of these were incredibly useful and provided the basic information required, along with the knowledge of where to look, or who to ask, for more in-depth information,” she says. “I thought it was critical to arm myself with as much knowledge as possible and network with people who would be able to provide advice along the journey. I also encouraged my junior staff to attend these courses in order to expand their knowledge in areas that are critical to understand in a commercial company.”
Similarly, Professor Peter Gunning has spent decades in research and commercialisation in Australia and the United States, but still found the CTP very helpful for his current role as CEO of TroBio Therapeutics, which has been developing a new class of drugs to treat cancers and other conditions since 2018.
“Anyone who wants to establish a company or commercialise an idea should do this program as early as possible along the path,” he says. “Commercialisation is a dynamic process, and your goals can shift. The key thing I learned from the training program was to start by identifying what you want to achieve in practical terms and then work backwards to identify the key steps on the path. As you move down the path, objectives change and you need to re-evaluate the steps to a new objective.”
Opening your eyes
For Simon Biggs, who is developing Radiotherapy AI software and is founder of the business Radiotherapy AI based in Wagga Wagga in regional NSW, the course helped him refine his business model and strategy, particularly around regulation issues. “It essentially gives you a bird’s eye view of your business,” he says. “When you’re spending all this time on this specific tree, they show you the whole forest.”
One unit Simon found especially helpful was on enterprise marketing – mapping out the chain of people who would have influence in an organisation that would potentially buy your product. Each of these people might have different biases or reasons for buying or not buying a particular product. Some may choose a product on reputation, others on price or because of a relationship – but they all need to be convinced for the organisation to go ahead with a purchase. “You can map it out and then cross it off, such as ‘I’ve met this person for coffee twice’,” Simon says. “That was an amazing session and it was really practical.”
Building a model
Damian Sofrveski and Nathalie Gouailhardou undertook CTP as the founders of Neurode, a company developing an affordable headset that can deliver drug-free, personalised treatment to people with ADHD and other cognitive challenges. They found the sessions on stakeholders and reimbursement particularly helpful, as well as those on developing a business model. “That is all taught to you in a really condensed space. It’s like a crash course,” Nathalie says. “It’s so good learning about the regulatory environment, scalability and working through different health care business models. And it’s really helpful looking at other businesses as case studies – they don’t even need to be in your direct area.”
“It’s important to think about your business model,” Damian says. “Learn about that as soon as possible so you can let it evolve.”
Updated 8 months ago