Professor Anthony Weiss AM FTSE received the Clunies Ross Knowledge Commercialisation Award at a gala event in Sydney, organised by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.
Innovative work with tropoelastin and elastin – the unique biological ingredients that give human tissue its elasticity – led Professor Weiss to develop synthetic skin that can be applied to heal wounds. Professor Weiss, used his inventions to found a spin-off company called Elastagen, which was last year bought by Allergan, one of the world’s 20 largest biopharmaceutical companies.
Academy President, Professor Hugh Bradlow FTSE, congratulated Professor Weiss, who is a Fellow of the Academy, “Clunies Ross Awards have been offered since 1991, recognising people who have applied outstanding technological achievements for the benefit of Australia.
“The nation’s future prosperity depends on embracing new technology to address critical national challenges. More than ever, we need knowledge creation, technology and innovation that can be harnessed to drive commercialisation and economic and social benefit.
“Professor Weiss has made a tremendous contribution – developing a treatment that will now be delivered worldwide, thanks to the purchase of his company by Allergan.”
Professor Weiss, from the University of Sydney's School of Life and Environmental Sciences and Charles Perkins Centre, said he is honoured to receive a Clunies Ross Award, “The elastic biomaterial I developed with fine colleagues – the synthetic skin – changes the way that wounds are treated. A patch placed on damaged wounds heals faster and works better for the patient than conventional treatment.
“The commercialisation of the technology has been a big win for collaboration between the university sector and industry, for the superannuation and venture capital firms that backed it, and for the Australian economy.”
Sir Ian Clunies Ross, born in 1899, was best known for his pioneering work in veterinary science. In 1949, he became Chairman of the newly renamed CSIRO. The Clunies Ross Awards are administered by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.