Illumina partnership to drive genomics innovation in Australia

Illumina Vice President and General Manager for Asia Pacific and Japan Gretchen Weightman and University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell signing the Memorandum of Understanding.

Illumina Vice President and General Manager for Asia Pacific and Japan Gretchen Weightman and University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell signing the Memorandum of Understanding. Picture: Paul Burston/University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne and Illumina, one of the world’s leading biotech companies, have announced a partnership that will enhance Melbourne’s reputation as a world-class biomedical precinct.

The partnership will focus on genomics-based biomedical research and innovation in the detection and management of diseases such as cancer.

Genomics examines the ‘genome’ which is the complete set of genetic information contained within the cells in our bodies.

The intention is to broaden the partnership into a wider range of clinical areas by demonstrating their health and economic benefits.

The University and Illumina have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to increase genomics innovation and how it is translated and adopted into the healthcare system to improve patient outcomes.

To be co-located at the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct in Parkville, the University and Illumina believe the partnership could eventually lead to a range of benefits for oncology patients including better treatment, improved testing in hospitals and access to drugs in clinical trials.

The partnership is based on a four-pillared approach: international reach, clinical utility, data generation and talent development.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said: “A partnership with a world-leading genomics company like Illumina will serve as a catalyst for innovation across Melbourne’s biomedical precinct. It strongly supports the University’s objective to collaborate with industry partners and develop programs that can make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Illumina Vice President and General Manager for Asia Pacific and Japan Gretchen Weightman said: “Illumina’s Australia team is thrilled to be moving into the Biomedical Precinct later this year. Our hope is that co-location with the wider research community, and collaboration with the University of Melbourne, will enable a deeper engagement in collaborative research activities and clinical trials.

“The current momentum in genomics research is growing exponentially and we are inspired by the way it can stimulate job growth and economic activity to maximise the impact for Victoria, and more importantly fuel research with the potential to improve health outcomes for patients.”

University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor James McCluskey said: “The partnership will provide opportunities for researchers within the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, including Illumina as a key industry collaborator in precinct activities focused on biomedical and clinical innovation.”

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