CSL RAI Awardees Announced

27 September 2022: Seven medical researchers have been awarded a CSL Research Acceleration Initiative (RAI) partnership, including up to an AU$500,000 investment in each program over two years, to fast-track the discovery of innovative biotherapies to address unmet medical needs.

The CSL Research Acceleration Initiative establishes partnerships between CSL and global research organisations to accelerate commercialisation of promising discovery programs. In addition to creating long-term mutual partnerships to further innovation, the initiative includes funding as well as access to CSL R&D experts.

The seven Global RAI awardees, selected via the 2021 call for proposals, include researchers from: The University of Queensland, University of Newcastle and ANZAC Research Institute in Australia; University of Pennsylvania in the US; Justus Liebig University Giessen and University Hospital of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany; and University of Basel in Switzerland.

Dr Marthe D’Ombrain, CSL’s Head of Global Research Innovation said, “Through our Global Research Acceleration Initiative, we are able to tap into and support research innovation happening in all corners of the world. We are looking forward to collaborating with our new partners to support the development of their exciting discoveries”.

These Global RAI awardees’ research addresses important unmet medical needs across CSL’s therapeutic areas, including immunology, transplant, respiratory, hematology, and cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

The investigators and technologies selected in the 2021 call for proposals include:

Professor Allison Pettit, The University of Queensland, Australia

Prof. Pettit is exploring a new therapeutic approach to improve homing and engraftment of hematopoietic stem cell transplants. Prof Pettit’s program aims to reduce graft failure and risk of infection, thus significantly improving outcomes for patients.

Dr Kirsten Coupland, University of Newcastle, Australia

Dr. Coupland is researching novel therapeutic targets for acute ischemic stroke, one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. Dr Coupland’s work focuses on understanding how the composition of cerebrospinal fluid changes following a stroke.

Associate Professor Georgina Clark, ANZAC Research Institute, Australia

A/Prof. Clark is developing a new treatment that could reduce the requirement for chemotherapy during a hematopoietic stem cell transplant, thus improving safety and enabling more patients to benefit from this potentially curative approach.

Professor Daniel Rader, University of Pennsylvania, United States of America

Prof. Rader is developing a novel therapy for reducing triglycerides (a type of fat) in the blood. Patients with very high triglycerides can develop severe and sometimes life-threatening pancreatitis.

Professor Elie El Agha, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany

Prof. El Agha’s research program is focused on novel cellular and molecular pathways implicated in the pathobiology of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; a progressive lung disease that currently has no cure.

Professor Arthur Liesz, University Hospital of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany

Prof. Liesz investigates the interplay between our immune system and the brain. Understanding the role the immune system plays in exacerbating cardiovascular events, including in acute ischemic stroke and myocardial infarction, may identify novel treatment approaches.

Professor Daniel Ricklin, University of Basel, Switzerland

Prof. Ricklin is developing novel therapeutic candidates to target inflammation. This approach could be applied to many serious diseases including immune complex mediated autoimmune disorders.

Dr D’Ombrain said that the RAI recipients’ research addresses important unmet medical needs where there is often limited or no existing treatment options available for patients. “We want to look back in years to come and see projects accelerated via our Research Acceleration Initiative making a difference to the lives of patients across the globe.”

“We look forward to helping transform these ideas into what we hope will ultimately be ground-breaking therapies to improve the lives of people living with these conditions,” said Dr D’Ombrain.

Providing life-saving medicines to patients in over 100 countries, CSL is driven by its promise to advance and deliver innovations that address rare and serious diseases as well as protect public health. Each year, CSL’s Global Research Acceleration Initiative works to identify promising research programs around the world which will benefit most from fast-tracked industry collaboration and support. More than 25 new partnerships have been established via the Research Acceleration Initiative since 2019.

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