Queensland acoustic compound support could help COVID-19 breakthroughs

The Queensland Government has awarded $1.875 million in funding over four years to support transformative compound management infrastructure and skilled personnel at Compounds Australia – Australia’s only dedicated compound management facility.

Compounds Australia is located within the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD) at Griffith University. The facility stores and manages about 1.3 million compounds, providing them to researchers in customised formats ready for testing as potential new medicines for human diseases and other applications.

The new funding will allow Compounds Australia to continue its key role in vital research ventures, including supporting a number of projects focused on the search for COVID-19 treatments. Currently the facility has been working with eight COVID-19 research projects nationally, with three projects being undertaken by Queensland researchers.

“With Queensland Government support, drug discovery researchers will now have access to the most advanced compound management capability available internationally, thus accelerating drug discovery and drug target validation efforts nationally,” Compounds Australia Manager Ms Moana Simpson said.

The funding was awarded through the Queensland Government Research Infrastructure Co-Investment Fund (RICF), which provides funding for facilities operating in priority focus areas supported by the Australian Government under its Research Infrastructure Investment Plan, funded under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

In recognition of its role as a key strategic national research infrastructure asset, enabling drug discovery research across Queensland and Australia, Compounds Australia has a place among only five core facilities within the Therapeutic Innovation Australia Small Molecules platform.

Queensland Government RICF funding will leverage funding committed by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF; $2 million), Therapeutic Innovation Australia ($2 million) and Griffith University ($1.7 million) to implement acoustic compound management infrastructure with the Compounds Australia ACRF Centre for Compound Management and Logistics.

“The Queensland Government was a foundation supporter of Compounds Australia in 2008 and we welcome this new funding commitment, which will support Compounds Australia to introduce transformational technology,” Griffith University Pro-Vice Chancellor for Sciences Professor Andrew Smith said.

Drug discovery research

Professor Kathy Andrews, Director of GRIDD, said the support of the Queensland Government for the facility would ultimately lead to the discovery of new compounds to seed the drug development pipeline.

“With the support of the Queensland Government, along with the ACRF, Therapeutic Innovation Australia and Griffith University, our new capacity and capability at Compounds Australia will enable a greater drug discovery research effort across Australia.”

“By supporting transformational infrastructure and skilled technical personnel, Queensland Government RICF funding will facilitate world-class Queensland and Australian drug discovery researchers to be globally competitive,” Acting Executive Director, Science Strategy and Partnerships, Science and Technology, Department of Environment and Science Dr Julia Playford said.

Dr Stuart Newman, CEO of Therapeutic Innovation Australia (TIA), said Compounds Australia played a unique role in the Australian drug discovery landscape.

“We are delighted to commit to supporting Compounds Australia into the future. The facility represents a critical capability in this area and is a shining example of best practice in collaboration, research support and customer service, the very principles that underpin the NCRIS network,” he said.

Compounds Australia is supporting and delivering compound libraries for 11 TIA Pipeline Accelerator projects including two Queensland lead projects.

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