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Case Studies Highlight Australian Research Successes

16 / 12 / 2018

Professor Anne Kelso AO, Chief Executive Officer of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), is pleased to announce the launch of two case studies which demonstrate the impact of Australian research funding on small to medium enterprises and health outcomes for Australians.

Professor Kelso said the case studies, compiled by NHMRC in partnership with leading universities and research institutes illustrate how research ideas can lead to a commercial product through a mix of publicly funded research and private investment.

The case studies describe the development of Picato® gel, used to treat potentially pre-cancerous sunspots, and two inhalants based on mannitol, a widely available natural product-Aridol® for the assessment of asthma severity and Bronchitol® to assist people with cystic fibrosis.

According to Professor Andreas Suhrbier, Group Leader, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, more than 750,000 people are treated for non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia each year, one of the highest rates in the world.

Professor Suhrbier said that, "Picato® will hopefully have a major impact on this problem both here and world wide."

"Picato® is the result of government-funded academia collaborating over many years with a privately funded biotech to develop a commercial product for the global market-this partnership is a great example of something we need to do more of in Australia."

Dr Sandra Anderson AM, Clinical Professor, Sydney Medical School, a lead scientist in the development of Aridol® and Bronchitol®, explained that, "About 2.5 million Australians suffer from asthma. Many people are diagnosed based on symptoms alone, which can be unreliable. Aridol® is a simple test which can be used to identify the presence of active airway inflammation and provide information to guide treatment."

"Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an incurable genetic disease affecting over 3,000 Australians and is associated with the presence of excessive mucus necessitating numerous daily treatments. Bronchitol®, which is available on the PBS, is a dry powder delivered via a portable handheld inhaler and is designed to help people with CF clear mucus from their lungs."

"These success stories show the value of supporting our Australian researchers and research institutions so that they can make discoveries that will benefit the community," Professor Kelso said.

"These case studies show how our research funding not only benefits individuals but also helps fuel innovation and boosts our economy."

Please visit NHMRC's website to view these case studies and for further information:

M: 0422 008 512

Gail Burke, Senior Media and Government Relations Officer
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
P: +61 7 3362 0280 | M: + 61 427 179 216|

Professor Sandra Anderson, Sydney Medical School
M: 0439 810 529

Felicity Moffatt, Media Enquiries, Pharmaxis Pty Ltd
P: +61 (0) 418 677 701