IN 1978, David Tinworth graduated from the NSW Institute of Technology (now UTS) with a Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Microbiology and Biochemistry, while working in human pathology at Douglass Laboratories.
He completed a Masters of Business Administration at Macquarie University in 1983 and was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Applied Science by RMIT in 2008. As Biotechnology Research Manager at Wallace International, in 1985 David initiated a commercial research project with Kevin Whithear at the University of Melbourne to produce a live MG vaccine (Ts-11).
He subsequently formed his own company, Bioproperties, in 1989 to bring the MG Ts-11 vaccine to commercial reality. In 2019, Bioproperties celebrated its 30-year anniversary, and its flagship innovative products, Vaxsafe MG and MS, have allowed poultry industries in Australia and worldwide to drastically reduce antibiotic use.
David recognised the Australian market for biologicals was too small to support the necessary research spending and give a return on investment without the possibility of export. With this in mind, he travelled to international poultry industry and scientific meetings and networked extensively, which led to early licensing deals and registration of MG Ts-11 in Japan, the US, South America, Europe, China and South Africa.
David established Australia’s largest live vaccine manufacturing facilities, which supply critical live vaccines to the local poultry industry and more than 70 countries. He runs the only specific-pathogen-free chicken operation in Australia, critical to biosecurity operations and vaccine manufacture.
In response to the massive losses resulting from Marek’s disease, David imported a low-passage Rispens masterseed of known efficacy as well as the skilled people and technology to campaign manufacture of the vaccine. He did this in the CSL influenza manufacturing labs in the off season.
In the largest field trial ever undertaken in Australia, he ‘saved’ the Australian poultry industries as the effectiveness of this approach became apparent. The initial success allowed for rapid growth of Bioproperties and funding of further research and development opportunities such as salmonella, pasturella, Newcastle disease, infectious bronchitis, infectious laryngotracheitis and eimeria.
Bioproperties was founding commercial partner of the Australian Poultry CRC and developed live vaccines for pasteurella, salmonella, NetB technology and coccidiosis – all aids to decreasing antibiotic dependence of intensive animal industries. David and Bioproperties continue to provide support for research in developing antigens and vaccines across a broad range of institutions in Australia.
Currently, Bioproperties has six major research projects at six institutions. Bioproperties and associated entities have about 170 employees across Victoria and NSW. David is noted for his lateral thinking, problem-solving capacity, persistence and enthusiastic optimism. He has achieved a great deal for the world’s poultry industries and has seen numerous projects through from creative scientific idea to commercial application, which is a unique skill.
He is a most worthy recipient of the Australian Poultry Award 2019.
Dr Juliet Roberts
WPSA Australian Branch President