Monash University centre recognised for COVID-19 work

Monash University’s Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) has been recognised as a leading light in Australia's COVID-19 response and scientific collaboration with a 2020 AusBiotech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Industry Excellence Award.

For their work in supporting the sector response to the pandemic, the MMIC - located at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Parkville - has played an integral role in prioritising resource allocation to COVID-19 related projects, in Victoria and beyond, including the development of inhaled and intranasal formulations to reduce the spread and severity of infection.

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In this new era of scientific collaboration, researchers from some of Victoria’s leading institutes have joined forces to accelerate a range of COVID-19 therapies, some of which have the potential to be ready and widely accessible before there’s a vaccine.

Funding for the MMIC was announced by Premier Daniel Andrews at AusBiotech’s national conference in 2016, and was established to support pharmaceutical and medical technology companies, and allied industries.

During a time when sovereign capability of medicine manufacturing is under the spotlight, the MMIC is playing a leading role in the industry.  The MMIC remains committed to supporting pharmaceutical manufacturers and allied industries by facilitating the optimisation of processes, current and new product development and building supply of highly skilled, industry-ready, workforce candidates.

MMIC Director, Professor Michelle McIntosh, says: “In response to the pandemic, the MMIC has opened our doors to research institutes and companies to provide support for the development of COVID-related therapies. The team is delighted to be recognised for our collaborative efforts through this year’s AusBiotech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Industry Excellence Awards.”

Amongst the collaborations is the impressive multi-institutional programme to investigate repurposed medications which includes The Peter Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne, Monash University, Certara, CSIRO, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and clinicians from Royal Melbourne Hospital, Northern Health and St Vincent’s Hospital.

“We are optimistic that the reformulation of an existing product with a well-established safety profile will be able to move into clinical trials in Australia and the United Kingdom, with our partners at University of Oxford, and if the results are positive a safe and effective product could be available in the near future.”

Since the start of the pandemic the MMIC has also partnered with Geelong-based health care provider, Barwon Health, along with Starpharma, Ena Respiratory and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to work on formulations for the treatment of COVID-19.

As the world has dramatically changed, our scientific leaders have played a critical role in pivoting their research towards seeking positive solutions for the health, wellbeing and economic security of all Australians within a very difficult year.

“As we wait for a vaccine for COVID-19, it’s critical that scientists work together to provide clinicians with a range of treatment options. An early treatment which is affordable, safe and widely accessible could be a major game changer in the way we respond to outbreaks,” says Prof McIntosh.

“Effective early treatments that minimise viral spreading would allow local businesses to open with confidence and would allow hospitality and travel industries to begin to rebuild.”

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About The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation CentreThrough the MMIC, pharmaceutical and medical technology companies, and allied industries, are supported via a dedicated team of experienced pharmaceutical scientists who work in partnership with their industry clients to develop new product formulations, resolve manufacturing process challenges, and building supply of highly-skilled, industry-ready candidates for the workforce.

About the 2020 AusBiotech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Industry Excellence AwardsThe 2020 AusBiotech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Industry Excellence Awards recognise the unsung heroes in white and blue coats who are making meaningful contributions to, or whose achievements or response has significantly impacted patient improvements, Australian public health, or the Australian biotechnology industry.

Contact: Kate Carthew, Media and Communications Manager, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University

Phone: +61 438 674 815

Email: kate.carthew@monash.edu