$79 million to turn brilliant ideas into new treatments

The Hon Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health and Aged Care

The Morrison Government is investing $79 million in medical research and innovation projects to develop new medical devices, medicines, and digital health technologies, which will benefit Australians who need them.

Australia’s researchers are world leading, however many of their great ideas do not always receive the support needed to make the transition into practice.

The Medical Research Future Fund’s Medical Research Commercialisation initiative addresses this gap to help great ideas become products, which benefit patients in Australia and around the world.

The $79 million will be shared among four companies with established track records in identifying and nurturing exciting new biomed tech ideas. The companies will work with Australian small and medium-sized businesses to progress commercial application of the research.

Two of the grants have been awarded to the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), a collaboration of leading medical research institutes, hospitals, superannuation funds, CSL, and other leading research organisations here and in New Zealand.

MRCF chief executive, Dr Chris Nave, said the company had already helped commercialise numerous great Australian research findings, using investment capital.

“For every 100 opportunities brought to us, only four pass the risk assessment for commercial investment. This doesn’t mean the remaining 96 are bad ideas and in many cases, it is simply because they are too early in their development and haven’t yet generated key supporting data,” Dr Nave said.

“This funding will allow us to support many more ideas, earlier and we will provide both capital and commercial expertise to guide them through to the point where they are ready to be translated into clinical development and commercialisation, creating jobs and income and ultimately benefitting patients.”

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the new grants would build on early successes from the Medical Research Future Fund’s Medical Research Commercialisation initiative.

“The initiative has already supported implementation of new products that are changing clinical practice and improving lives,” Minister Hunt said.

“They include a novel device that improves the success rate of breast cancer surgery and an implant that promises to treat glaucoma for six months from a single injection, removing the need for daily drop therapy.”

The Morrison Government is investing $6.7 billion in medical research over the next four years, as part of the 2021-22 Budget.

Minister Hunt has also announced two fellowships under the Medical Research Future Fund’s Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry initiative.

Dr Ewan Millar from NSW Health Pathology will undertake a 24 month part time project with New York-based digital diagnostics company Paige, working with worldwide project teams spread across three continents to develop skills in application of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Dr Miller will focus on the application of deep learning AI to breast cancer biomarker development to improve behaviour predications and treatment response.

Dr Cindy Chia-Fan Shu from Kolling Institute, University of Sydney Royal North Shore Hospital will undertake a 12 month project with Regeneus Ltd, to increase her skills in the translation of science.

Dr Shu will focus on developing assays and models for pre-clinical trials for osteoarthritis treatments and progressing clinical trials and preparing regulatory submissions.

The Morrison Government’s $20 billion MRFF, is a long-term, sustainable investment in Australian health and medical research, helping to improve lives, build the economy and contribute to the sustainability of the health system.

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