The initiative was established with $9.75 million in funding from the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund, along with more than $5 million from Therapeutic Innovation Australia and the three partners, bringing the project’s total seed funding to around $15 million over five years.
Federal Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney visited Monash’s Parkville campus to meet with the scientists behind MedChem Australia and mark the official launch of MedChem Australia.
Globally, Australia has an enviable reputation in biomedical research, but a poor record in translating these discoveries into new homegrown medicines for patients who need them.
MedChem Australia will tap into medicinal chemistry expertise across the three partners to guide projects through the critical early stages of the drug discovery pipeline to translate ‘hits’ into drug candidates with enhanced commercial value.
Director of MedChem Australia Professor Brendon Monahan said the drug candidates are significantly more attractive to industry, and will catalyse investment to develop home grown, high value medicines, jobs and exports.
“Through a collaboration model, MedChem Australia will provide expert medicinal chemistry capability and mentorship to enhance, accelerate, and enable the development of home grown, high quality medicines. We are excited to launch this initiative and make the first call for project applications from across Australia,” said Professor Monahan.
MedChem Australia Chief Investigator and WEHI Professor Guillaume Lessene said MedChem Australia would accelerate drug discovery and development in Australia.
“Drug discovery is a long and challenging process, which usually happens over many years,” said Professor Lessene, Leader of the New Medicines and Advanced Technologies theme at WEHI.
“It requires enormous investments from the biopharma sector, and is usually out of reach from academic research laboratories. It involves the incredible dedication of large teams of researchers to progress a program through the various stages of drug discovery to eventually deliver a drug that can be used by patients.
“This initiative will expedite drug discovery from compound to medicine significantly here in Australia, allowing researchers to take their ideas from the lab to the clinic quicker than ever before.
“MedChem Australia will help advance the research discoveries made by our nation’s talented scientists and will create a highly skilled workforce locally, allowing us to attract and retain the best talent.”