From the director

From the director

Illuminate newsletter, September 2017
September 2017

Professor Doug Hilton
Institute director Professor Doug Hilton.

The lead story in the September issue of Illuminate is our announcement of the partial sale of rights in the anti-cancer treatment venetoclax.

Many important discoveries at the Institute laid the foundation for venetoclax’s development. Our scientists carried out three decades of research into cancer cell survival, leading to the creation of this new medicine in collaboration with companies Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, and AbbVie.

Breakthroughs are always the result of teamwork. Support from the government and our generous donors is crucial to our research teams, and has been a vital part of this journey. Without this unwavering generosity, the basic research underpinning venetoclax would not have occurred.

"Breakthroughs are always the result of teamwork."

This is the latest achievement in our long history of making discoveries that revolutionise scientific thinking, advance biomedical science, improve clinical practice and result in new and more effective treatments for patients.

Investing in future discoveries

The income generated by the partial sale of rights will be invested back into our research to fuel more discoveries.

We have identified three priorities for investment which include:

  • Accelerating the process of drug discovery to ensure that potential new treatments are translated from the laboratory to the clinic;
  • Supporting important infrastructure initiatives, such as investment in the latest dynamic imaging technology; and
  • Building the Institute’s endowment to ensure that our scientists can continue to make great discoveries for decades to come.

Consultation and planning processes have begun to prudently invest this income and ensure the Institute’s long-term financial sustainability.

Though the financial gains stemming from venetoclax are important for the Institute’s future, they are a secondary benefit compared with the potential of this medication to improve the lives of people worldwide.

Sharing the wonder of what we do

In August, the Institute opened its doors to more than 450 members of the public as part of Open House Melbourne 2017. Our wonderful staff led tour groups through the Institute to engage, enlighten and enthuse people about medical research and the exciting work we do.

"I am proud that the Institute continues to uphold its promise to make discoveries for humanity."

Our 2017 Art of Science exhibition was also a success, with more than 3000 visitors viewing the images in Melbourne’s Federation Square during National Science Week. The imaging skill displayed was exceptional.

I am proud that the Institute continues to uphold its promise to make discoveries for humanity and spread the message of how vital medical research is for our communities.

Together we can continue this important work.

Very best wishes,


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