New partnership supports advances in therapeutic development research

Research in eye, gum, heart and kidney disease, reproductive and developmental biology, cancer, infections, high blood pressure, therapeutic development, microbiome, immunity, endometriosis and osteoarthritis will advance with a combined $642,159 in support from TIA and Phenomics Australia.

The Pipeline Accelerator scheme enables researchers to develop disease model systems to study, screen, optimise and validate drug candidates, test their efficacy and work towards industrial scale-up at advanced translational medical research facilities.

This round of the scheme is a partnership with Phenomics Australia to support a combined 19 research projects with access to 12 advanced facilities across Australia.

Recipients are academic researchers and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) working in translational medical research, from the molecular basis of health and disease through to clinical trials.

TIA CEO Dr Stuart Newman said the Pipeline Accelerator is a perfect vehicle for partnering, on the back of a successful scheme with the Australian Antimicrobial Resistance Network (AAMRNet) last year.

“Together, TIA and Phenomics Australia can seamlessly support national infrastructure to maintain research excellence, improve innovation and translation outcomes and address emerging challenges,” he said.

“Partnering on the Pipeline Accelerator scheme is a tangible way we are driving a more integrated national research infrastructure ecosystem.

“This, in turn, results in research outcomes that can deliver long term impacts to improve our standard of living, strengthen our economy and build sovereign capabilities to protect our nation from future medical threats.”

Phenomics Australia CEO Prof Michael Dobbie said: “This scheme is intended to further reduce the cost of access to Phenomics Australia and TIA facilities and can be a great way to develop a track record in translational research for therapeutic discovery and development, particularly for early-career researchers.

“The general aims of the scheme are to provide a mechanism for financially supporting and enabling hard-to-fund therapeutic development projects, lowering barriers to entry and helping develop new research and industry user communities.

“We collectively offer academic researchers and SMEs access to a broad range of Australian translational medical research advanced capabilities creating an ecosystem of seamless services leading to more effective use of national research infrastructure.”

Click here to see the Phenomics Australia voucher recipients.

Among those with vouchers in this round are recipients of previous TIA support.

Monash’s Dr Chengxue Helena Qin will again access the Australian Translational Medicinal Chemistry Facility and Psylo’s Dr William Thomas Jorgensen will return to the Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation.

Associate Professor Joshua Ooi from Monash University and Dr Evan Wong from the Royal Perth Hospital have secured Pipeline Accelerator support, following success in a recently-introduced TIA mentoring scheme. Both benefited from TIA Technical Feasibility Assessments announced in February, designed to support early-stage research projects with expert advice that maximises translational potential.

The Pipeline Accelerator scheme recipients include:

  • Ms Reema Bajaj from the Burnet Institute, accessing the National Biologics Facility for research into antivirals against future pathogenic coronavirus events.
  • Associate Professor Ann Kwan from the University of Sydney, accessing the Monash Fragment Platform for work on a new class of antibiotics.
  • Professor Fabienne Mackay from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, accessing the Protein Expression Facility to develop a therapeutic against chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
  • Associate Professor Joshua Ooi from Monash University, accessing the Centre of Excellence in Cellular Immunotherapy for manufacturing cells that can ultimately be used to fight autoimmune disease.
  • Dr Chengxue Helena Qin from Monash University, accessing the Australian Translational Medicinal Chemistry Facility for a project to treat pulmonary hypertension.
  • Professor David Ian Roper from the University of Warwick in the UK, accessing the Monash Fragment Platform for drug discovery research for combatting antimicrobial resistance.
  • Dr Evan Wong from the Lions Eye Institute, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Royal Perth Hospital, accessing Cell & Tissue Therapies WA for a project to develop a therapeutic alternative to corneal transplantation.

Also awarded are three SMEs:

  • Dr William Jorgensen from Psylo Pty Ltd and the University of New South Wales, accessing the Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation for developing therapeutics for the central nervous system.
  • Dr Balaji Somasundaram from Denteric Pty Ltd, accessing the National Biologics Facility for developing a vaccine candidate against a bacteria that causes gum disease.
  • Dr Steven Suchting from Emenda Therapeutics Australia Pty Ltd, accessing the Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation for work on a therapeutic against osteoarthritis pain.

About the Pipeline Accelerator:

​​TIA has developed the Pipeline Accelerator as a voucher-style researcher access scheme to facilitate and encourage access to our facilities. The scheme provides SMEs and researchers with access to one or more facilities associated with TIA to further reduce the cost of access to a specific capability. An external panel assesses projects for their scientific quality and potential for development of a therapeutic product.

About TIA:

TIA is a network of 25 national translational research infrastructure facilities in biologics and vaccines, cell and gene therapies, and small molecule pharmaceuticals. We aim to provide Australian researchers with access to the infrastructure to enable efficient translation of therapeutics to improve human health. Our investments ensure facilities are coordinated, comprehensive, accessible and responsive to the needs of the Australian translational research community. We financially support selected service providers to enable researcher access to subsidised, seamless, and value-adding expertise and support. Collectively, the TIA consortium enables translation of research findings into potential medical products, and towards readiness for Phase I trials and beyond.

About Phenomics Australia:

Phenomics Australia is a forward-thinking research infrastructure provider enabling research discovery and high-impact healthcare outcomes in precision medicine. Through 17 openly accessible service delivery centres across Australia, we offer specialised infrastructure, research services and technical expertise dedicated to advancing our fundamental understanding of health and disease, and enabling next-generation innovations in healthcare and therapeutic development to benefit all Australians. We will continue to develop our partnerships with prominent and emerging health initiatives and infrastructure providers, to establish integrated development pipelines for research discovery and translation.