Monash Opens New Centre to Boost Medical Innovation

Monash University

L-R: Prof McIntosh, Prof Lewin (CGCPT), Victorian Deputy Premier Ben Carroll, Vice-Chancellor and President Prof Pickering, Prof Chris Porter, Prof Michael James (ANSTO)

Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Medical Research the Hon Ben Carroll today officially opened the newly built Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) within the heart of the Monash Technology Precinct, Clayton.

Funded through an $8.58 million investment from the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund and $4 million from Monash University, MMIC's expansion to Clayton builds on the Centre's work based at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) in Parkville to provide further opportunities for innovation across medicine formulation, resolving manufacturing process challenges and building supply of highly-skilled, industry ready candidates for the workforce.

Minister Carroll also announced a grant awarded to MMIC by the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics (Cumming Global Centre). The grant will fund the development of a potential new therapeutic agent for the treatment of respiratory infections and inflammation, with the aim to help safeguard the community against both existing and future viruses.

Director of MMIC, Professor Michelle McIntosh said the Centre's expansion to Clayton will deliver far-reaching benefits to the Victorian community.

"This new facility represents a significant advancement in Victoria's research commercialisation opportunities. Our team of dedicated pharmaceutical scientists are committed to driving forward the end-to-end development of a range of medicines using state-of-the-art technology, from laboratory-scale projects right through to local manufacture of medicines for clinical trials," Professor McIntosh said.

"We're also thrilled to have Cumming Global Centre's Professor Sharon Lewin join us for the MMIC launch. Fostering collaboration between research institutes is central to MMICs mission, and we are excited to be working with Professor Lewin and her team to progress a new treatment for respiratory viruses and further strengthen Australia's resilience to future health emergencies," Professor McIntosh said.

Inaugural Director of the Cumming Global Centre, Melbourne Laureate Professor Sharon Lewin congratulated Professor McIntosh on the grant and said she looks forward to seeing the project come to fruition.

"In a globally competitive process, Professor McIntosh's exploration of an innovative delivery system to treat future respiratory viruses stood out for both scientific excellence and its alignment to the Centre's mission to advance the science behind therapeutics for pathogens of pandemic potential," Professor Lewin said.

In addition to the latest Cumming Global Centre grant, MMIC is working on a suite of local and international projects with a range of partners, including Texas-based biotechnology company Etira Therapeutics (Etira).

Etira has been working with MMIC since 2021 to synthesise a drug candidate called 'ERX-315' to become commercially viable to manufacture for clinical trials. ERX-315 is part of the broader ERX medicine family which has shown to be effective in the treatment of solid tumours including breast, brain, pancreatic and ovarian cancers.

MMIC teamed up with industry partner IDT Australia to manufacture ERX-315 for Phase 1 clinical trials in cancer patients, which is now underway at St Vincent's hospital.

"The partnership with Etira is a great example of MMIC's quest to support pharmaceutical and medical technology companies across the drug development pipeline, with a core focus on optimising and fine-tuning drug formulations for the critical process of drug manufacturing and, ultimately, getting potentially life-saving candidates into clinical trials," Professor McIntosh said.

Monash University Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Sharon Pickering said the permanent MMIC facility is an important new addition to the Monash Technology Precinct - a world class hub of research, industry, innovation and talent that is part of Victoria's largest employment precinct outside the Melbourne CBD.

"This new facility will further strengthen the research and development capability of the Monash Technology Precinct innovation ecosystem, joining world-leading research and technology organisations such the CSIRO, the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication, the Victorian Heart Hospital and the soon-to-be completed Moderna manufacturing facility.

"By being located in the world-class Monash Technology Precinct, the MMIC will provide our researchers, precinct partners and local and international companies the opportunity to develop, test and scale-up new medicines here in Australia without going off-shore."

MMIC Clayton is a purpose designed and built facility including laboratory and office space, co-located with the Australian Synchrotron in the heart of the Monash Technology Precinct, promoting further economic opportunities and growing employment.

Monash University ranked number two globally in the 2024 QS World University Rankings by Subject for Pharmacy and Pharmacology.

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