New centre fuels drug discovery at Monash

A new cutting-edge research training platform to produce the drug discovery research leaders of the future was launched at Monash University today.

On behalf of the Federal Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan, Member for Menzies, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, today visited the Parkville campus to officially launch the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Fragment-Based Design (FBD).


L-R: Monash University Provost Professor Marc Parlange; The Hon Kevin Andrews MP; Centre Director Professor Martin Scanlon; Australian Research Council CEO Professor Sue Thomas and MIPS Director Professor Chris Porter.

Established under the vision and leadership of Professor Martin Scanlon, Director of the Monash Fragment Platform at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the centre includes collaborators at Griffith University and The University of Sydney, and has 10 industry partners.

It brings together an internationally recognised technology to facilitate access to the transformative technology of FBD for the development of novel, commercially valuable compounds.

FBD is transforming the way new compounds are discovered and developed. This technology has significant commercial applications including agrichemicals, veterinary products and human pharmaceuticals.

Professor Scanlon said the centre will contribute to the growth of the pharmaceutical sector.

“The centre’s new approaches to generating novel chemical matter have the potential to produce fundamentally new drug classes, expand the number of targets that are amenable to compound development and tackle difficult-to-drug targets, as well as overcoming widespread drug resistance issues, and decreasing the time to market,” Professor Scanlon said.

Expected outcomes include over $10 million of value generated for industry and at least two spin-off companies are expected to commercialise new treatments and therapies based on centre technology.

A key aim of the Centre is to provide innovative Higher Degree by Research and postdoctoral training, for end-user focused research industries that are vital to Australia's future. It is considered a ‘major investment’ for the ARC and targets priorities in research for the medtech and pharma sector.

“These centres will provide a high-tech environment where students, academics and industry can collaborate to ensure trainees have the skills they need to make key contributions to the sustainability and growth of Australia’s growing pharmaceutical sector,” Professor Scanlon said.

The Centre received $4.16m in ARC funding together with $5.4 million in cash and in-kind support from industry partners and $2.9 million from partner universities.
Provost and Senior Vice-President Professor Marc Parlange said the centre will form part of the University’s growing international research network which is driving positive change, innovation and new jobs.

“Monash is proud to be the lead organisation for 13 Australian Research Council Research Hubs, Training Centres and Centres of Excellence,” Professor Parlange said.

“We believe that great research can lead to positive and lasting change, as we continue to forge deep connections with our partners in industry, government and the community to deliver significant social, environmental and economic benefits.

“We’re grateful for the government’s investment and support to collectively deliver positive change to Australia’s growth and prosperity.”

Contact: Divya Krishnan