$5 million Biotech Horizons program announced to support health breakthroughs

09 June 2017

The Australian Government has today announced $5.2 million to support multi-disciplinary research teams and SMEs to deliver innovative health and medical breakthroughs – a program that has been welcomed by MTPConnect.

The announcement by Health Minister Greg Hunt, at the Translational Research Institute in Brisbane, sees $5 million funding from the Medical Research Future Fund to be used for a Biotech Horizons program – a new program aiming to boost Australia’s ability to move cutting edge ideas and breakthrough discoveries towards proof-of-concept, overcoming the first of the two acknowledged ‘valleys of death’ in the sector.

The fund will have a focus on adoption of new technologies and solutions for health challenges, such as megatrends – for example, chronic disease burden and personalised medical technologies – as identified in the MTPConnect Sector Competitiveness Plan.

The Biotech Horizon fund will complement the $500 million Biomedical Translation Fund, which provides co-investment to progress ideas past the second ‘valley of death’ to a commercialised output.

The Fund will move to expedite the identification and investment into disruptive technologies to secure Australia’s position as a global leader in medical research, and positively contribute to Australia’s economy.

Initial investments from the program will support 3D anatomical printing and precision medicine, for programs that have demonstrated strong industry partnerships and the potential for translation to proof of concept.

MTPConnect CEO Sue MacLeman said, “The Biotech Horizons program will provide much-needed support for new, innovative and life-changing discoveries, addressing the pre-clinical ‘valley of death’ that is a key barrier to growth for the Australian medtech, biotech and pharma sector. We welcome the announcement and look forward to working with the sector in taking advantage of the support it provides.”

As part of the announcement, the National Health and Medical Research Council has accredited the Brisbane Diamantina Health Partners, an academic health science network, as a new Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre. The network is being recognised for making tangible differences delivered to the community, and will receive $225,000 funding from the Medical Research Future Fund.