MTPConnect announces $7.3m in funding for 20 national MTP projects


MTPConnect is focused on investing on big, bold ideas to improve the productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity of Australia’s medtech, biotech and pharmaceutical sector.

Thursday, 26 October 2017 - Adelaide, Australia: MTPConnect - the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Industry Growth Centre - today announced it will provide $7.385 million of funding over two years for 20 national projects in the medtech, biotech and pharmaceutical (MTP) sector. In addition, these projects could leverage as much as $15.2 million in industry partner funds. The selected programs will receive funding from MTPConnect’s Project Fund Program, as part of the Australian Government’s Industry Growth Centres Initiative.

This year, MTPConnect received 33 applications from industry, research organisations and universities to share in the funding available, with a proposed $25.8 million of matched funding coming from the sector. MTPConnect selected the projects that would deliver results on a national scale, have sector-wide impact, and are aligned with MTPConnect’s Sector Growth Priorities as defined in its 10-year Sector Competitiveness Plan. Last year MTPConnect selected 15 projects to receive $7.8 million in funding over two years, with matched funding of $15.6 million.

Sue MacLeman, CEO of MTPConnect, said, “This competitive, dollar-for-dollar matched funding program aims to invest in big, bold ideas to accelerate growth, drive greater commercialisation opportunities and address key barriers in the sector. The selection panel has chosen these 20 projects because they creatively address many of these barriers and have the potential to have a major impact on the sector. By supporting these projects, 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.”

One of the key sector growth priorities identified by MTPConnect is the need to create a highly productive commercialisation environment from research to early clinical trials and proof-of-concept. A number of the selected projects will help achieve this including The Bridge Tech Program – a program providing entrepreneurs and researchers with access to product development and commercialisation training, and internships; The Healthy Living Design Hub – which offers real-life testing for new health technology products and services to help translate ideas from concept to prototype evaluation; and The Clinical Manufacturing Training Hub – which aims to establish a MTP clinical manufacturing training hub to enable the manufacturing of innovative products into clinical studies.

MTPConnect has also recognised the need to strengthen Australia as an attractive clinical trial research destination, which is why it has awarded ClinTrial Refer Australia funding to develop a new IT platform that connects doctors and patients to improve clinical trial recruitment. MTPConnect also keenly supports the development of digitally enabled MTP solutions, and has awarded funding to The National MTP+D Live Showcase to create a searchable and trackable catalogue for Australian medtech, pharmaceutical and digital health innovations.

Charles Ross, project lead for The Clinical Manufacturing Training Hub and Head of Clinical Operations and Supply at Vaxxas, said, "With the benefit of MTPConnect funding, this project will establish a medtech and pharmaceutical manufacturing training hub that enables the translation of innovative, investigational products into clinical studies.Additionally, the project will establish a “turn-key” early stage clinical product manufacturing facility, at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) in Brisbane, that can be used for a wide-range of clean to sterile medtech and pharmaceutical products."

Marcus Dawe, project lead for The National MTP+D Live Showcase and CEO of Health Horizon, said, "MTPConnect’s support will allow Australian’s to grasp the overwhelming but oftentimes, confusing, progress in medtech, pharmaceutical and digital health nation-wide. This platform will unite informed professionals and an empowered public in a national collaborative effort to make sure the right innovations make it into our lives, faster.”

Full list of successful applicants:

  • A cloud‐based AI digital health platform (Hospital 4.0) applied to nationwide cardiovascular clinical decision support: Implementation of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) digital health platform to eliminate avoidable/preventable errors in health care services by automating best practice clinical guidelines and delivering real time guidance to clinical decision makers, with initial focus on cardiovascular services in rural/remote SA. Led by Integrated Cardiovascular Clinical Network (iCCnet) & CHSA.
  • Ab-initio pharma | Formulation and GMP product manufacturing services for clinical trials in Australia: Establishment of a Ab-initio, a unique pharmaceutical product design, formulation, manufacturing and training facility that provides cost effective solutions for small-to-medium enterprises, academics, clinicians and larger pharma for early phase clinical trials in Australia. Led by The University of Sydney.
  • Accelerating Australia – Stage 2: Facilitating translation of biomedical research through entrepreneurial experience courses and support services, to improve collaborating across sectors, organisations and disciplines to identify promising biomedical products and assist in bringing them to production. Led by Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation (CERI).
  • Accelerating precision therapies through digital infrastructure for adaptive trials and trial-reading cohort studies: The project is a feasibility study for the development of national digital infrastructure to support adaptive clinical trials and ‘trial-ready’ natural history cohort studies for a number of rare diseases. The digital study will improve efficiencies in drug evaluation through trial enrolment, data collection, and enabling analysis for novel trial designs. Led by Murdoch University.
  • AMMRF Technical Voucher Fund: The scheme will fund vouchers to support MedTech R&D by providing easy and discounted access to Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF) microscopy services, reducing existing barriers to use. Led by University of Sydney.
  • Australia-China Life Sciences Partnership Program: Increasing awareness, and thus, opportunities for communication, collaboration and commercialisation between the life sciences sector in Australia and China, to deliver high quality, collaborative research and industry projects as well as valuable data analytics on commercial engagement between the two countries. Led by AusBiotech Ltd.
  • Building clinical trial capability and capacity to grow the MTP Sector: The MTP clinical trials sector is constrained in growth through lack of appropriately skilled and experienced workforce participants. This project aims to train and connect graduates with MTP clinical trial companies to equip them with job ready skills to meet this MTP sector gap. Led by ARCS Australia Ltd.
  • Certara-Monash University Industry Fellowship Program: The Certara-Monash University Industry Fellowship Program will identify and develop the next generation of industry-experienced drug development pharmaceutical scientists with real world drug development experience through training in clinical pharmacology, pharmacometrics and regulatory science, who will help shape the future of the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Led by Certara Australia Pty Ltd.
  • Clinical Trial Assist – facilitating clinical trial recruitment in general practice: To provide funds for a feasibility study to develop and evaluate a model to support clinical trial feasability assessment and patient recruitment in Australia by utilising a large general practice network and data set. Led by VentureWise Pty Ltd.
  • ClinTrial Refer Australia integrated platform development: Developing a new IT platform connecting doctors and patients to recruiting trials across research networks. Will integrate 19 ClinTrial Refer derivative apps, create one combined database, new search functions, enable electronic referrals, link to ANZCTR and build a national solution to trials recruitment. Led by South Eastern Sydney Local Health District and Sydney Local Health District.
  • Enabling Precision Cancer Clinical Trials: A molecular profiling platform for the Australian clinical trials industry: This project will enable Australian SMEs to enhance clinical trials through access to the Garvan Institute’s molecular profiling platform; including a clinically-accredited tumour genomic test, an analysis platform, and patient-matching capabilities to facilitate recruitment and optimise treatment. Led by The Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
  • Establishment of a MTP competency based, manufacturing skills development facility/training hub and early stage clinical trial manufacturing facility: Establishment of a manufacturing and hands-on training facility to facilitate the translation of innovative pharmaceutical products for early stage human clinical trials by providing the necessary infrastructure, equipment and manufacturing systems. Led by Translational Research Institute.
  • Installation of robotic sterile finished product clinical trial manufacturing capability: Support for Pharmaceutical Packaging Professionals to add a fully robotic, sterile vial-filling line to manufacture Phase II and III products, to their facility, which can then be used by Australian companies to locally produce product for clinical trials. Led by clinical trial network services.
  • National MTP+D Live Showcase: Searchable, trackable, public pipelines for medtech, pharmaceutical and digital health innovations: Cataloguing and tracking of publicly accessible, searchable online showcase of the MTPD innovations under development in Australia. Investors, practitioners and consumers can follow the progress of any innovation as the showcase is updated in real time using a humanized machine learning system. Led by Health-Innovate Pty Ltd.
  • Operationalise the Centre for Commercialisation for Regenerative Medicine Australia (CCRM Australia): Accelerating the commercialisation of Australian regenerative medicine therapies and related products, building on the 2016 Project Fund Program supported development of CCRM Australia as a hub, via training; fostering increased collaboration between industry and academia, both locally and globally; and nurturing local regenerative medicine companies. Led by Monash University.
  • Pan-Asia Regenerative Medicine Alliance (PARMA) Program: Aiming to develop and implement a global framework to identify and match research, marketing and investment opportunities in Regenerative Medicine, leveraging the pre-existing relationship between the sectors in South Korea, Japan and Australia to test and develop PARMA before expanding to other countries. Led by AusBiotech Ltd.
  • The Bioprint Facility for Translational Science and Medicine in the MTP Sector: This project will allow SMEs to engage with the BioPrint facility and technical experts at the University of Wollongong to establish a world first facility to enable the development of bioinks and customised bioprinting systems for targeted clinical applications. Led by the University of Wollongong.
  • The Bridge Tech Program: Providing mid-career, senior entrepreneurs and scientists with access to relevant, specific commercialisation training, MedTech conferences and internships. The program will be delivered by companies, universities and industry operating in the sector through online mediums, residential training, and networking events. Led by the Queensland University of Technology.
  • The Healthy Living Design Hub: Funding to work with MedTech companies to create customer-focused health solutions, offering real life testing for new health technology products and services. Programs focus on user-centred interactive design, translating ideas from concept to prototype with clear paths to market and long-term product development planning. Led by Swinburne University of Technology.
  • Training Programs for the Biologics and Biomedical‐based Industry Sector: The design and creation of training programs for companies associated with the R&D and advanced manufacturing of biologic medicines and biomedical sciences. The training program will improve the knowledge and skills base necessary for advancement of Australian industry in this sector. Led by the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology & The University of Queensland.

For more information on MTPConnect’s Project Fund Program and the successful applicants, visit: www.mtpconnect.org.au/2017projects.