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$10 million boost for drug research.



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24 May 2007 07/024

$10 MILLION BOOST FOR DRUG RESEARCH

Development of new biological drugs to treat conditions such as cancer and arthritis received a boost today with the Australian Government announcing a $10 million grant towards the establishment of a mammalian cell production facility.

Australian Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, said the new facility will operate as a dedicated manufacturing organisation, providing local drug researchers with access to biological material for pre-clinical and clinical trials.

"Biotech research and development worth around $35 million a year is undertaken in other countries, mostly the US, UK and Singapore, because there is no mammalian cell production facility here in Australia," Mr Macfarlane said.

"The facility will help attract this R&D back to Australia and build upon our world-class medical research base."

Mammalian cells are used in the development of proteins that form the basis of many new biological drugs used to treat conditions such as arthritis and cancer.

"The provision of these services in Australia is expected to speed up the development of research and lead to subsequent drug development work being undertaken here rather than overseas," Mr Macfarlane said.

"The proposed facility will create high value jobs, expand Australia's skills base and retain expert staff in this area in Australia."

Mr Macfarlane said the Howard Government's Pharmaceutical Industry Action Agenda had identified the absence of a small-scale mammalian cell production facility as an impediment to industry growth in Australia.

Applications for the $10 million grant are open from today and will close on 17 August, 2007. Information about the grant, including guidelines and other information to assist applicants, can be found at www.industry.gov.au/mammalian.

Department contact: Michael Schwager 02 6213 6058

CMR07-024