University to spin out manufacturing pharmaceuticals company

26 October 2017

The University of Sydney has received funding for a number of projects including the development of pharmaceutical manufacturing facility to bolster research and clinical trials.

The University of Sydney has received $500,000 in funding from the MTPConnect Project Fund Program to support the establishment of a specialist pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, Ab initio Pharma, with a further $1.5 million being sourced from the sector.

The MTPConnect - the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Industry Growth Centre - Project Fund Program is a competitive, dollar-for-dollar matched funding program investing in big, bold ideas to improve the productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity of Australia’s medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector. MTPConnect is supported by the Australian Government’s Industry Growth Centres Initiative.

The funded facility will produce pharmaceuticals for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), academics, clinicians and large pharma for early phase clinical trials in Australia.

Project leader from Sydney Medical School and the Woolcock Institute, Professor Paul Young says the facility will assist translating early discoveries into clinical trials and ultimately commercial pharmaceutical products that will enhance Australia’s reputation in the sector.

“Australians have a passion for medical discovery and innovation. Ab-initio pharma will provide our innovators with a platform for rapidly translating bench-top discoveries into clinical trials and tangible pharmaceutical products.

“Our consortium members, The University of Sydney, Sydney Local Health District and ARCS Australia are committed to innovation and this initiative will enhance Australia’s position as a global player in the pharmaceutical sector,” said Professor Young.

There is increasing demand for specialist contract facilities that provide formulation and product manufacturing that meets international pharmaceutical regulatory standards.

The University of Sydney along with its project partners aim to fill this void by building a formulation and manufacturing company, Ab initio Pharma, that adheres to international standards that will provide facilities and support to researchers, clinicians, SMEs and start-ups across Australia.

Ab initio Pharma will also provide support to the industry and manufacture short runs of commercial products when there are local shortages.

The company is committed to quality education and will provide internship programs for students at the new facility.

CEO of MTPConnect, Sue MacLeman said, “MTPConnect is focused on harnessing Australia’s world-class research to seize more commercialization opportunities and accelerate growth. As part of our mission, we are funding big, bold ideas that will deliver results on a national scale and have sector-wide impact.

“By supporting Ab initio we believe we can develop a more vibrant MTP sector ecosystem with more successful companies, and ultimately improve the health and wellbeing of Australia and the world.”

The facility will be established in 2018, fully operational by 2020 and fully sustainable by 2021.

Along with Ab initio Pharma, the University has also received funding grants from MTPConnect for a number of different projects including ClinTrial Refer Australia and the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF) Technical Voucher Fund. The University is also one of 21 members of Accelerating Australia.

The ClinTrial Refer Australia project will receive $700,000 in funding over two years to design and launch a combined database, enable electronic referrals, link to Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry and build a national solution to clinical trials recruitment.

ClinTrial Refer is a smartphone app and website connecting doctors and patients to recruiting clinical trials across research networks.

The AMMRF Technical Voucher Fund will receive $250,000 over two years which will fund vouchers provided to small-to-medium enterprises that allow for discounted access to microscopy services.

Accelerating Australia, a national consortium, will receive $1,000,000 over 2 years matched by the sector to facilitate translation of biomedical research through experiential entrepreneurial courses, brokerage and early stage commercialisation support services, collaborating across sectors, organisations and disciplines to identify and reduce hurdles in our biomedical translation ecosystem.

Elliott Richardson

Assistant Media Advisor (Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy)

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