Australian research centre to boost drug discovery

08 February 2022 | Muriel Cozier

Benefits will include; ‘A substantive competitive advantage to emerging Australian biotechnology companies…’

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has officially launched the ARC Training Centre for Cryo-Electron Microscopy of Membrane Proteins for Drug Discovery (CCeMMP), at Monash University, Victoria, Australia. The Centre, which will receive AUS$4.8 million over five years through ARC’s Industrial Transformation Research Programme, will also train graduates so that they are ready to step into industry.

Cryo-electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM), a technique which allows images of proteins to be captured in their native state and visualised in 3D, is opening up new potential for innovations in drug discovery and development. The new ARC Training Centre will be led by Professor Patrick Sexton.

Expected outcomes from the CCeMMP, include: ‘World-first structural biology knowledge and techniques, and the entrepreneurial and technical skills desired by industry.’ It is anticipated that benefits will include; ‘A substantive competitive advantage to emerging Australian biotechnology companies that also links into new national investment in drug discovery and development infrastructure.’

Researchers at Monash University will work with other universities, research organisations and industry partners. Collaborators currently include: The University of Melbourne, Thermo Fisher Scientific USA, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi Aventis A/S, Pfizer Inc, and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH.

Welcoming the launch of the centre, ARC Acting Chief Executive Officer, Judi Zielke commented; ‘Graduates and research from CCeMMP will enable tomorrow’s industrial expansion in drug design, ensuring Australia catches this new wave of discovery in Cryo-EM being commercialised around the world – boosting the generation of new IP and expanding the economic investment in Australian biotech.’

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