Early-stage research projects in areas such as autoimmune disease, antimicrobial-resistant infections and eye disorders are benefiting from expert advice from TIA facilities to maximise their translational potential.
The new Technical Feasibility Assessments (TFA) are part of TIA’s voucher-style research schemes that are jointly supporting a combined 24 projects with advice and subsidised access worth $850,000.
Newly announced funding includes:
- 800,000 allocated to 19 projects as part of the Pipeline Accelerator scheme, for subsidised access to facilities associated with TIA, including core facilities and high-throughput screening centres
- $50,000 for five projects through the TFA scheme, providing early-stage advice to researchers at the start of research translation of cell and gene therapies.
The announcement of successful projects comes as TIA prepares to call for applications for the new round in early March, held in partnership with Phenomics Australia. A webinar with details of this round of the Pipeline Accelerator 2022-23 (Round 2) scheme will be on March 14. We invite you to join this webinar to learn more about the scheme.
Pipeline Accelerator scheme
Support provided through the Pipeline Accelerator scheme will advance cancer research, as well as work in heart, brain and eye disease, bacterial infection, tissue regeneration and vaccine development.
This round of the Pipeline Accelerator scheme provided access to three new facilities: the UNSW RNA Institute, the Recombinant Products Facility and the Stem Cell Disease Modelling & Drug Screening Facility.
The Pipeline Accelerator scheme recipients are:
- Robert Batchelor from Nutromics Pty Ltd, accessing the Monash Fragment Platform for a project entitled Surface plasmon resonance-based screening of DNA aptamers targeted to small molecule drugs
- Professor Philip Board from Omega-One Therapeutics Pty Ltd, accessing the Australian Translational Medicinal Chemistry Facility for a project entitled Developing glutathione transferase omega 1 inhibitors as anti-inflammatory therapeutics
- Associate Professor James Chong from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, accessing Sydney Cell and Gene Therapy for a project entitled Process development for the preparation and delivery of induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes for end stage heart failure
- Dr Steve Dingwall from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology accessing Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics for a project entitled Generation of induced pluripotent stem cell master and working cell banks for a phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of heart failure
- Professor Andrew Elefanty from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, accessing theStafford Fox Disease Modelling Facility for a project entitled Building a better leukaemia – Modeling paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia in pluripotent stem cells
- Paul Fahey from Vaxxas Pty Ltd, accessing the National Biologics Facility, Victoria Node for a project entitled Enhanced skin delivery of vaccines by manipulating surface interactions on high density micro array patches.
- Dr Richard Foitzik from Oncology One Pty Ltd, accessing the Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation for a project entitled ADME investigation into methyltransferase inhibitor candidates
- Professor Brian Gabrielli from the Mater Research Institute, accessing Discovery Biology at Griffith University for a project entitled Screen for compounds synthetically lethal with defective RB and p53
- Dr Graham Heery from Starpharma Pty Ltd, accessing the Protein Expression Facility for a project entitled Production of a HER2 binding nanobody for the assembly of targeted novel dendrimer therapeutics for breast and gastric cancer
- Professor Mark von Itzstein from the Institute for Glycomics at Griffith University, accessing the Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation for a project entitled Development of drug candidates against drug resistant bacteria
- Professor Robyn Jamieson from the Children’s Medical Research Institute, accessing Sydney Cell and Gene Therapies for a project entitled Long-term AAV-mediated genetic rescue of photoreceptors in retinitis pigmentosa
- Dr Jacek Kwiatkowski from the Queensland Emory Drug Discovery Initiative, accessing the Monash Fragment Platform for a project entitled Identification of inhibitors of a key necroptotic protein through fragment screening
- Professor Enzo Porrello from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, accessing the Australian Translational Medicinal Chemistry Facility for a project entitled Developing next generation cardio-regenerative therapeutics to treat systolic heart failure
- Associate Professor Elaine Sanij from the St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, accessing the Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics for a project entitled Development of new cancer therapeutics targeting the nucleoli
- Filippa Shub from Inosi Therapeutics, accessing the Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation for a project entitled IRAP inhibitor lead optimisation
- Professor James St John from Griffith University, accessing Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics for a project entitled Spinal Injury Project: pilot-scale GMP production and validation of clinically compliant nerve bridges
- Professor Alastair Stewart from the University of Melbourne, accessing the Monash Fragment Platform for a project entitled Discovery of selective inhibitors for fibrosis
- Associate Professor Daniel Thomas from the University of Adelaide, accessing the National Biologics Facility, Queensland Node for a project entitled Anti-mutant CALR antibody preparation for clinical manufacture for patients with myelofibrosis
- Associate Professor Silvia Velasco from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, accessing the Stafford Fox Disease Modelling Facility for a project entitled Development of a platform for the automated generation and high-throughput drug screening of brain organoids.
TFA scheme was added as a pilot scheme in this round, with TIA Cell and Gene Therapies Capability Scientific Engagement Manager Dr Heather Donaghy saying they provided timely advice to researchers.
“We’ve had significant interest – and that tells us there’s a need in the research community for tailored advice to ensure projects are well-placed for translation and impact,” Dr Donaghy said.
“The advice can cover anything from raw materials and manufacturing to quality control or regulatory requirements.
“This is a pilot scheme with an aim of assessing projects to reduce unnecessary experiments, focus the research plan and expedite progress of cell and gene therapies to clinical trials.”
The TFA scheme recipients are:
- Associate Professor Anthony Kicic from the Telethon Kids Institute, accessing Cell & Tissue Therapies WA for a project entitled Making bacteriophage therapy a reality: Implementation of a novel treatment pipeline to treat antimicrobial-resistant infections
- Dr Rhonda Taylor from the University of Western Australia, accessing Cell & Tissue Therapies WA for a project entitled Allele-selective CRISPR deletion as a therapy for ACTA1 congenital myopathy
- Dr Evan Wong from the Royal Perth Hospital, accessing Cell & Tissue Therapies WA for a project entitled Validation of GMP-compliant manufacture of corneal endothelial cells for injection
- Professor Enzo Porrello from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, accessing the Centre of Excellence in Cellular Immunotherapy for a project entitled Evaluating technical feasibility of cGMP production of bioengineered heart tissue to treat heart failure in congenital heart disease
- Associate Professor Joshua Ooi from Monash University, accessing the Centre of Excellence in Cellular Immunotherapy for a project entitled Manufacture of autologous T regulatory cells modified ex vivo to express T cell receptors for autoimmune disease.
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 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 the TFA scheme:
TFA scheme supports the provision of advice specifically on cell and gene therapy product development. The scheme provides academic and SME researchers early guidance on the technical feasibility of developing and manufacturing their products for clinical supply.