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Government bets $35.5m on keeping medical discoveries in Brisbane

Business

The State Government will pay $35.5 million towards the development of new drug and vaccine facility at the Translational Research Institute in Brisbane to boost domestic biomedical advances.

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The TRI said the new manufacturing facility would help keep pharmaceutical developments in Australia rather than being sold off to multinationals.

Brisbane company Microba, which is based at TRI, had been planning to shift some of its work offshore but will be able to stay in Brisbane because of the new facility which would cost a total $80 million would be a unique manufacturing facility to produce drugs in the clinical trial stage.

Professor Ian Frazer, who co-developed the technology to prevent cervical cancer, leads a research group at TRI. Frazer also heads the TRI Foundation Board.

The facility also houses several private sector companies like Microba.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said Covid taught the Government many lessons and one was that more things needed to be made in Queensland.

“Turning Maroon know-how, into Maroon business products,” he said.

“When biomedical developments happen and they get to the stage of clinical trials, they need a huge boost in the quantity and that’s what translational manufacturing is all about.

“For nine years this extraordinary research institute has been taking Queensland research ideas and taking them from the scientific bench to the bedside and into business.

“When we can’t rely on the international supply chain we must rely on ourselves.”

Microba chief executive Luke Reid said his company was growing rapidly and was considering moving some of its work offshore, but would now stay in Queensland because of the development of the Translational Manufacturing facility.

He said it was critical piece of infrastructure that would drive the growth of the knowledge economy.

TRI’s Professor Ian Bell said the funding was fantastic news for a facility that would be unique in Australia and support the development of a range of new medicines and vaccines in Queensland.

He said Australia lagged behind in turning discoveries into new drugs and treatments.

“At the moment we don’t have the infrastructure in Australia to flexibly manufacture a range of promising new therapies adn vaccines in quantities for late stage clinical trials,” Bell said.

“This means that in some cases our discoveries are licensed to multi-national pharmaceutical companies based overseas. Thus, our start up companies may be forced to move offshore because they can’t manufacture enough of their products here in Australia.”

 

 

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