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Biotech bright ideas rewarded with BIF funding.



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Media Release The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources

13 September 2002 02/174

BIOTECH BRIGHT IDEAS REWARDED WITH BIF FUNDING

People with cancer, chronic back pain sufferers, young diabetics, and patients with Alzheimer’s disease could benefit from the innovative biotechnology projects which were offered Commonwealth Government funding totalling $9.1 million today.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has announced funding offers of between $80,000 and $250,000 to 39 projects under the third round of the Commonwealth Government’s Biotechnology Innovation Fund.

"This round of funding under BIF brings the number of biotechnology projects being assisted since the start of the program in May last year to 94 with grants totalling $21 million," Mr Macfarlane said.

"The latest funding offers involve projects related mainly to the biomedical field but it also includes projects to develop a solution for combating soil fungi; insects pests in agricultural crops; key diseases affecting race horses; and an organic waste conversion system," he said.

The funding is going to projects in all states and the Northern Territory with the largest number, 12 each, going to NSW and Victoria. Projects in those states total $2.67 and $2.81 million respectively.

Mr Macfarlane said the Commonwealth recognised the importance of biotechnology and the benefits that could be gained from the research.

"We launched the National Biotechnology Strategy in 2000 to ensure Australia stayed abreast of industry developments and remained internationally competitive," Mr Macfarlane said.

"BIF is an integral component of that Strategy. It helps companies meet the funding gap between research and commercialisation, as well as assisting individual projects to obtain private sector investment," he said.

Initially, the Commonwealth provided $20 million under the National Strategy for BIF. That funding was doubled to $40 million as part of the $3 billion Backing Australia’s Ability initiative.

Following are snapshots of the 39 projects which have received funding offers. Details will also be posted on the website of the Government’s business unit, AusIndustry, at www.ausindustry.gov.au.

Contact: Kirsty Boazman, Minister Macfarlane's office, 02 6277 7580 or 0412 171 444

ATTACHMENT

The Biotechnology Innovation Fund (BIF) is a key initiative arising from the Commonwealth Government’s National Biotechnology Strategy that outlines its vision and support for the Biotechnology sector.

The strategy provided an initial $20 million for the three-year program.

Funding for the program has since been doubled with an additional $20 million from the $3 billion Backing Australia’s Ability five-year vision to strengthen innovation. The BIF program commenced in mid-May 2001 when applications for the first quarterly round were called.

Objective

BIF is a merit-based competitive grants program. It aims to increase the rate of commercialisation of Australian biotechnology ventures by reducing the cost to companies of demonstrating "proof of concept" (POC) for new biotech initiatives.

It addresses the critical gap between the research and commercial development stages, where sourcing funding to prove the viability of a new concept can be difficult.

By part-funding technical testing and product analysis at this pre-seed stage, the program aims to increase the flow of Australian biotechnology projects proceeding to commercialisation.

BIF is designed to:

Encourage commercialisation of promising biotechnology developed in Australian research institutions and small and medium sized enterprises and start-up companies; and

Assist in attracting private sector investment.

The program provides national benefits through:

Increasing the flow of biotechnology projects proceeding to commercialisation by attracting investment in new enterprise formation, or, collaboration with Australian and international companies;

Increasing the extent of commercialisation activities carried out in Australia;

Raising understanding among research organisations about the effective management of biotechnology commercialisation; and

Raising awareness among the private investment community as to the investment opportunities for profitable early-stage investment in Australian biotechnology research.

At the company level, BIF provides financial support by targeting the POC stage of biotechnology commercialisation.

Grants of up to $250,000 are available to eligible firms on a dollar for dollar basis.

ADP Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd (NSW) Grant Offered: $149,625

Project Title: Restoration of cartilage by novel gene therapy

The aim of the project is the restoration of cartilage by novel gene therapy. The project involves delivery of a gene obtained from deer cartilage into damaged cartilage cells to stimulate "self-repair" that would otherwise be impossible in mature cartilage. The therapy could be repeated to eliminate joint replacements and their attendant socio-economic costs. The project has a potential to eliminate pain and suffering in nearly four million Australians affected with different forms of osteoarthritis.

Contact: Mr Dennis White, 144 Gorman Road, GOULBOURN NSW 2580

Phone: 02 4821 4386, Fax: 02 4821 6296, E-mail: adp@goulburn.net.au

Advanced Metal Coatings Pty Ltd (NSW) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Cardiac catheters with metal-coated polymer electrodes

The aim of the project is to develop cardiac catheters with electrodes based on a novel biocompatible composite material, namely platinum-coated polymers. There is a need for new cardiac catheters that have a large number of flexible electrodes for easier and more effective use by the clinician leading to superior outcomes for the patient. The first part of the project is aimed at developing a scaled-up manufacturing process for coating catheters in quantity. The project also includes pre-clinical trials to ensure appropriate mechanical, electrical and biocompatibility.

Contact: Mr N Anderson, University of Technology, Sydney Building 4, Harris Street, BROADWAY NSW 2007

Phone: 02 9514 1565, Fax: 02 9514 1628, E-mail: neil.anderson@advancedmetalcoatings.com.au

Alzhyme Pty Ltd (WA) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Validation of lead molecules directed at the cause of Alzheimer’s disease

The project, supported by the McCusker Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, the University of WA, Hollywood Private Hospital and TechStart Australia, aims to demonstrate the specificity of three lead molecules with the potential to block the toxicity of beta amyloid, a key factor linked to the cause of Alzheimer's disease. Unlike currently available drugs, these molecules have the potential to block the onset and development of Alzheimer’s disease. It is proposed to test and validate the functional characteristics of these molecules in preclinical studies.

Contact: Associate Professor Ralph Martins, Sir James McCusker Alzheimer's Disease Research Unit, School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of WA, Hollywood Private Hospital, Monash Avenue, NEDLANDS WA 6907

Phone: 08 93466312, Fax: 08 9346 6666, E-mail: rmartins@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

Anadis Ltd (VIC) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Demonstration of the efficacy of a novel food additive which protects beneficial bacteria in gut-benefit foods

This project will demonstrate the ability of natural extracts to protect a wide range of beneficial bacteria (sometimes called probiotics) in their passage throught the human stomach. The aim is to deliver higher counts of probiotic bacteria to the intestine, achieving enhanced reliability of action and enabling the use of faster growing bacteria rather than relying on slower growing acid resistant strains. The successful demonstration of the project will enable the commercialisation of ‘Anadis Bioshield’, a novel food additive which protects beneficial bacteria in many gut-benefit foods and drinks.

Contact: Dr G T Rawlin, 4 Capital Link Drive, CAMPBELLFIELD VIC 3061

Phone: 03 9358 6388, Fax: 03 9358 6399, E-mail: grant.r@anadis.com.au

AorTech Biomaterials Pty Ltd (NSW) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Drug eluting stents and stent grafts for coronary and peripheral vascular applications

The project will refine the technique of incorporating drugs into Elast-Eon polymers, enabling tighter control over the drug concentration and elution rate. It will obtain proof of concept for a drug eluting Elast-Eon coating on self-expandable and/or balloon expandable stents; determine the optimum dosage and release rate of a preferred therapeutic agent to reduce or eliminate restenosis of arteries, and prove safety and efficacy of stents with controlled release of drug in animal studies.

Contact: Ms G Strouthos, Unit 2, 10 Rodborough Road, Frenchs Forest NSW 2086

Phone: 02 9451 5822, Fax: 02 9451 5388, E-mail: ranjin@aortechbio.com

AorTech Biomaterials Pty Ltd (VIC) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Blood regulation devices (including synthetic valves) utilising novel biomaterials for cardiac therapies

AorTech has become a world leader in designing replacement aortic valves in its novel biomaterial and now aims to develop a new range of cardiac-related devices. These include percutaneous valves, left ventricular assist devices and a device to treat coronary artery disease.

Contact: Dr I Griffiths, 677 Springvale Road, MULGRAVE VIC 3170

Phone: 03 9562 2846, Fax: 03 9562 2977, E-mail: iang@aortechbio.com

ASO Australia Pty Ltd (WA) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Bioconversion scale up and optimisation

The project aims to develop and demonstrate an organic waste conversion system using large shipping containers. The system consists of the containers as modular units within which organic wastes are composted in a fully enclosed, temperature-controlled environment. It is proposed to scale up and optimise the technology using 40ft containers and trial three types of organic waste.

Contact: Mr Robert Walker, PO Box 1426, MIDLAND WA 6936

Phone: 08 9255 1401, Fax: 08 9255 1840, E-mail: mailto:johnwalker@atsourcejohnwalker@atsourceorganics.com.au

Australian Orthopaedic Innovations Pty Ltd (SA) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Adaptive orthopaedic handpiece

The project aims to demonstrate proof of concept of an adaptive orthopaedic handpiece (AOH) to be used for drilling screws into human bone when attaching orthopaedic devices. The AOH will feature a control system able to assess material properties in bone while drilling, and control (optimise) the tightness of the screw being inserted. This will result in prolonged effective life of the attached orthopaedic device.

Contact: Mr P Maddern, Level 1, 241 Rundle Street, ADELAIDE SA 5000

Phone: 08 8419 1010, Fax: 08 8232 1833, E-mail: pmaddern@aoiptyltd.com.au

Bioacumen Pty Ltd (NSW) Grant Offered: $81,940

Project Title: Bait-oriented broad-spectrum bactericide/fungicide

The project aims to demonstrate proof of concept of a bait-oriented broad-spectrum bactericide/fungicide. It involves field tests in Australia and the USA, to demonstrate the replicable efficacy of "Bioacumen" in treating bacteria and fungi harmful to crops, in order to register the product in the USA; and improving production procedures to enhance product concentration and reduce costs. "Bioacumen" combines inorganic copper with pectin, a complex sugar found in certain plants during flowering and fruiting. The pectin attracts bacterial and fungal pests and the copper eliminates them.

Contact: Mr A Dignam, Level 4, 104 Mount Street, NORTH SYDNEY NSW 2060

Phone: 02 9964 9333, Fax: 02 9964 9777, E-mail: adrian@businessgeneration.com.au

Biogreen Pty Ltd (VIC) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Biologically enhanced new generation pest control technology

The project aims to load insecticides into peat baits. The targeted insect pests are soil-borne insect pests of major agricultural crops. The company is currently commercialising a similar product called Grub Guard which targets the Australian sugar

cane grub. This technology will be extended to target pests of corn, potatoes, rice and turf crops.

Contact: Mr N Farnan, Level 6, 499 St Kilda Road, MELBOURNE VIC 3004

Phone: 03 9866 2305, Fax: 03 9866 2306, E-mail: Nick.Farnan@BiogreenLtd.com

Biotech Ventures Pty Ltd (VIC) Grant Offered: $105,000

Project Title: Development of a novel biopesticide for the control of fungal diseases in crop production

Despite existing control measures, soil-borne fungal diseases of grain crops in Australia have a total potential impact on our economy estimated at $753 million a year. Chemical fungicides are effective against a limited number of these diseases, but chemical residues in grain can pose problems for consumers. The greatest potential for limiting the impact of fungal disease lies in biological control agents based on beneficial soil microbes. This project aims to commercialise a new biological fungicide for use in grain crops to control soil-borne fungal diseases and will be undertaken in collaboration with Charles Sturt University, NSW.

Contact: Mr M Furzer, Suite 2, Level 4, 450 St Kilda Road, MELBOURNE VIC 3004

Phone: 03 9866 4002, Fax: 03 9867 1219, E-mail: kaye@jetsec.com.au

Calibre Biotechnology Pty Ltd (VIC) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Design and development of growth factor mimetics and inhibitors

Calibre will design and develop growth factor mimetics and inhibitors. Growth factors are endogenous molecules that regulate the growth of cells. They offer great potential for the treatment of a variety of diseases including neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, and cancer. However, being large protein molecules, they are generally not suitable for use as drugs. The Calibre approach allows for the creation of small molecules that can be tailored to either mimic or inhibit the action of a given growth factor.

Contact: Dr R A Hughes, 215 Grattan Street, PARKVILLE VIC 3052

Phone: 03 8344 8604, Fax: 03 8344 0241, E-mail: rahughes@unimelb.edu.au

CenTec Ltd (NSW) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Immunomodulatory prevention of Type 1 diabetes

The project involves the development of a vaccine for the prevention of type 1 diabetes in young children. Previous work has shown that a single component of the cell wall of the conventional anti-tuberculosis vaccine, BCG, can prevent the onset of disease in the well-described NOD mouse model of type 1 diabetes without inducing any significant side effects. CenTec aims to complete preclinical studies in the animal model of the disease; complete Phase 1 clinical trials of a biological response modifier; and

determine the frequency of people in the general population who will respond to the biological response modifier.

Contact: Dr N Pearce, Building 93 Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Missenden Road, CAMPERDOWN NSW 2042

Phone: 02 9565 6190, Fax: 02 9565 6106, E-mail: n.pearce@centec.biz.au

Chinese Medicines Scientific Consultants Pty Ltd (NSW) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Validation of the key components of the herbal formula for relief of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The outcome of the project will be the validation of the key components of the herbal formula for relief of chronic gastro-intestinal symptoms as indicated by Irritable Bowel Syndrome, with the aim of developing a registered herbal medicine.

Contact: Mr B Reichman, PO Box 1488, NORTH SYDNEY NSW 2059

Phone: 02 9955 2166, Fax: 02 9955 2091, E-mail: cmsc@capx.com.au

Combinomics Pty Limited (QLD) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Sequencing of unsequenceable DNA

This project will validate NovoSeq methodologies by developing independent techniques for confirmation of sequence accuracy. NovoSeq is a novel DNA-sequencing technology developed by Combinomics. This technology, which can be used with conventional sequencing platforms and chemistries, will, when fully developed, allow the sequence of previously unsequencable regions of genomes to be determined accurately.

Contact: Dr H Leemon, Faculty of Eng, Phys Sci & Architecture , University of QLD, St Lucia QLD 4067

Phone: 07 3365 8884, Fax: 07 3365 1881, E-mail: h.leemon@epsa.uq.edu.au

Compost Tasmania Pty Ltd (TAS) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Biologically enriched composts for suppression of sclerotial fungi in horticultural crops

Compost Tasmania produces compost for fertiliser and rehabilitation of depleted agricultural land from timber, paper, agricultural and fisheries industry wastes previously destined for landfill. The project aims to produce disease suppressive composts and compost extracts which can be used to suppress sclerotial fungi - an important group of plant diseases in vegetable and horticultural crops. The project should provide solutions to large-scale waste-disposal problems, by converting wastes from a number of sustainable resources into valuable fertiliser enriched with biological control agents. This would result in an improvement in soil health and replace imported chemical fungicides.

Contact: Mr G Cameron, 38 Gemalla Road, Margate TAS 7054

Phone: 03 6267 1211, Fax: 03 6267 1277, E-mail: greg@soilfirst.com.au

CustomVis (CLVR Pty Ltd) (WA) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: System for custom refractive laser (eye) surgery

The aim of the project aims to develop and demonstrate a new fully integrated system (including eye tracking, scanning and computer-aided mapping) for custom refractive surgery of the eye. The focus of the project is the design and subsequent testing of a new solid-state laser running at high pulse rates and a new wavelength (between 211-213nm), and the design of an eye tracker that can measure the eye while working at very high speeds. The project outcome will be a surgical laser system that can perform highly customised eye treatments that are not achievable with existing technology

Contact: Dr P P Van Saarloos, PO Box 518, Balcatta WA 6914

Phone: 08 9440 3108, Fax: 08 9440 3109, E-mail: vansaarloos@smartchat.net.au

Cyclagen Pty Ltd (QLD) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Development of plant cyclotides as novel crop protection agents

Cyclagen's technology relates to new insecticidal proteins developed for crop protection. The project outcome will be the production of transgenic cotton plants containing an introduced cyclotide gene. It is expected that the project will demonstrate that expression of this cyclotide gene in transgenic cotton enhances resistance to the major insect pests of cotton crops.

Contact: Dr A Bowen, Level 7, Gehrmann Laboratories, University of QLD, St Lucia QLD 4067

Phone: 07 3365 1287, Fax: 07 3365 7226, E-mail: A.Bowen@IMBcom.com.au

Cystemix (NSW) Grant Offered: $249,998

Project Title: A novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer

The primary outcome of this project is the establishment of a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer, based on unique chemistry. A new class of compounds will be synthesised and tested to determine the extent to which these and other similar compounds can arrest tumour growth, and to examine their utility as highly specific delivery vehicles for imaging agents and other therapeutics.

Contact: Ms Karyn Johnson, Rupert Myers Building, Gate 14 Barker Street UNSW, Sydney NSW 2052

Phone: 02 9385 6535, Fax: 02 9385 6600, E-mail: k.johnson@unisearch.com.au

DNATech Pty Ltd (NSW) Grant Offered: $196,000

Project Title: DNA Tech Smartmarks as an anti-counterfeiting device

The project will develop DNA Tech Smartmarks as an anti-counterfeiting device. SmartMark technology incorporates small segments of DNA "oligomers" into inks, dyes and resins to mark products in conventional manufacturing processes. Trillions of versions of the oligomers are available for coding ensuring a virtually impenetrable barrier to counterfeiters. Recovery of the known but secret DNA code by an authorised laboratory will provide "proof positive" authentication of market products or identification of counterfeits.

Contact: Mr R Taylor, PO Box 206, Dee Why NSW 2099

Phone: 02 9948 3953, Fax: 02 9948 8720, E-mail: RTaylor@dnatecaus.com

FLUOROtechnics Pty Limited (NSW) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Production scale-up and demonstration of utility of Beljian Red � a new fluorescent label with wide application in biotechnology, particularly proteomics

The aim of this project is to demonstrate the suitability of Beljian Red (BR) as a high-end stain for proteomics and as a tag for nucleic acids and antibodies and also to develop a scaleable process for the production of BR. Fluorescent tags are widely used in many diagnostics and other analytical technics. Beljian Red is a newly discovered fluorescent molecule which has many unique desirable features.

Contact: Professor D Veal, FLUOROtechnics Pty Limited, c/o Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde NSW 2109

Phone: 02 9850 8185, Fax: 02 9850 8253, E-mail: dveal@rna.bio.mq.edu.au

G2 Therapies Ltd (NSW) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Preclinical development of a new therapeutic antibody for inflammatory diseases

The project involves preclinical development of a new therapeutic antibody for inflammatory diseases. The C5a receptor (C5aR) is one of the best validated and highest priority targets for inflammatory diseases. The project involves the preclinical development of G2 Therapies’ lead monoclonal antibody (mAb), anti-C5aR. G2 has successfully developed a series of fully antagonistic mAbs to the C5aR. The clinical progression of one of these mAbs to human clinical trials requires in vitro and in vivo validation, as well as a safe toxicity profile. G2’s lead mAb is extremely effective at blocking C5aR binding and functions in vitro. The company now aims to demonstrate similar efficiency in vivo, using various mouse models of inflammatory disease.

Contact: Prof C Mackay, 384 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Phone: 02 9295 8405, Fax: 02 9295 8404, E-mail: c.mackay@garvan.org.au

Genetic Solutions Pty Ltd (QLD) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: High throughput gene discovery and diagnostic test development in cattle

Genetic Solutions will develop a process for high throughput gene discovery and diagnostic test development in cattle and evaluate it in terms of technical and commercial viability. The process will make use of DNA sequence from human, mouse and cattle genes and a bank approaching one million beef cattle, which have records on key carcass and eating-quality traits. If successful, the process will accelerate the linking of genes to commercially important traits and the development of DNA diagnostic tests for use in selective breeding and management programs. The potential market for such tests in beef cattle is estimated to exceed $1 billion in Australia and the USA alone. The process developed in this project will be applicable to other livestock species where similar databanks are available.

Contact: Dr Jay Hetzel, PO Box 145, Albion QLD 4010

Phone: 07 3633 3555, Fax: 07 3633 3500, E-mail: jay.hetzel@geneticsolutions.com.au

Genetraks Pty Ltd (QLD) Grant Offered: $246,380

Project Title: Diagnostic capacity of gene expression "signatures" in equine white blood cells in immune-mediated diseases

The outcome of the project is to demonstrate specific and measurable changes in the expression of selected genes in equine white blood cells during the progression and regression of several diseases of economic importance in racehorses. Key diseases of racehorses include laminitis (hoof inflammation) and respiratory and joint inflammation, all of which are immune-mediated. If specific, measurable and repeatable changes in gene expression in equine blood cells can be demonstrated, it will be feasible to scale-up a repository of biodata (bioinformatic database) correlating gene expression and key phenotypic (demographic, clinical and pathological) information for future use in the delivery of equine diagnostic and fitness monitoring services, as well as drug development.

Contact: Dr Roslyn Brandon, Chief Executive Officer, Genetraks Pty Ltd, PO Box 1257, Kenmore QLD 4069

Phone: 07 3374 4666, Fax: 07 3374 4777

Hatchtech Pty Ltd (VIC) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Development of a new generation of low-toxicity insectides for controlling human ecto parasites

This project will evaluate enzyme inhibitors for their ability to control the hatching of head lice. The project will also pursue the cloning and expression of native proteins previously identified by Hatchtech. The goal is to develop a new generation low-toxicity insectide for controlling head lice.

Contact: Dr V M Bowles, 215 Grattan Street, Parkville VIC 3052

Phone: 03 8344 4439, Fax: 03 9347 5888, E-mail: v.bowles@vet.unimelb.edu.au

Hepatitis Signal Peptides Pty Ltd (VIC) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Hepatitis Signal Peptides as enhancers of DNA vaccines

The aim of this project is to further develop and commercialise a novel vaccine technology developed by scientists at the Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health. The invention relates to a nucleic acid vaccine for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases and cancers. The initial focus will be on the hepatitis C virus.

Contact: Dr D Anderson, Hepatitis Research Unit, Burnet Institute, Commercial Road, Melbourne VIC 3004

Phone: 03 9282 2239, Fax: 03 9282 2100, E-mail: anderson@burnet.edu.au

Mt Todd Rehabilitation Project Pty Ltd (WA) Grant Offered: $192,639

Project Title: A practical low-cost biotechnological treatment system for acid rock drainage

The project will open up a low-cost biotechnological water treatment process applicable to acid rock drainage (ARD) at mines in Australia and overseas. It will establish the technology under ARD conditions and determine the operational parameters for large-scale sulfide bio-generation reactors. The most cost-effective organic substrates will be identified for optimisation of sulfide bio-generation reactor performance as measured by the rates of sulfide production and metal removal from the ARD. The project will produce engineering design criteria for a large-scale, in-field visual demonstration at the Mt Todd (Yimuyn Manjerri) mine site in the Northern Territory.

Contact: Dr D E Ralph, c/- Unit 7, 14 King Edward Road, Osborne Park, Perth WA 6107

Phone: 08 9204 2666, Fax: 08 9204 1016, E-mail: micron@netunltd.com.au

MediHerb Pty Ltd (QLD) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Prove an Echinacea preparation to be quantifiably superior and scientifically demonstrable

The project aims to prove that an Echinacea preparation is quantifiably superior and has scientifically demonstrable enhanced bioavailability and pharmacological activity meeting demands for the herbal medicine market. MediHerb aims to produce an enhanced Echinacea preparation that will use a combination of identified polysaccharides and surfactant/emulsifiers. The product will have a higher proportion of active compounds that will be better absorbed by the body. In addition the preparations will not vary in efficacy as do the current Echinacea products and can be better used for scientific research to substantiate claims.

Contact: Dr R Lehmann, 124 McEvoy Street, Warwick QLD 4370

Phone: 07 4661 0700, Fax: 07 4661 0788, E-mail: reg@mediherb.com.au

Metabolic Pharmaceuticals Ltd (VIC) Grant Offered: $234,700

Project Title: Studies of a novel group of iron chelators for the treatment of Transfusional Iron Overload (beta-thalassemia)

The aim of this project is to establish the efficacy and safety in validated animal models of a novel group of iron chelators for the treatment of transfusional iron overload (beta-thalassemia) - a disease which is classified by the World Health Organisation as a major health problem.

Contact: Dr M Heffernan, Level 1 10 Wallace Avenue, Toorak VIC 3142

Phone: 03 9826 0949, Fax: 03 9826 4399, E-mail: mark@metabolic.com.au

Micronix Pty Ltd (SA) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: The VAC Cathlocator � A revolutionary medical device for the correct placement of venous access catheters (VAC)

The project aims to carry out human testing and demonstrations of a medical device for the correct placement of venous access catheters - the venous access cathlocator. The portable bedside device will track the catheter, record and visually display its position in real time. It will be targeted particularly at central venous catheters and peripherally inserted catheters.

Contact: Dr S Brasted, 235 Ward Street, North Adelaide SA 5006

Phone: 08 8267 5406, Fax: 08 8267 4342, E-mail: sbrasted@micronix.com.au

Mimotopes Pty Ltd (Vic) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Development of a new treatment for heart failure

The project will identify a suitable therapeutic candidate for preclinical development following a demonstration of proof of concept in animal models. The candidate will also treat diseases such as vascular dysfunction in diabetes.

Contact: Dr N Ede, 11 Duerdin Street, Clayton VIC 3168

Phone: 03 9565 1183, Fax: 03 9565 1199, E-mail: nick_ede@mimotopes.com

Pro-Active Industries Pty Ltd (VIC) Grant Offered $227,250

Project Title: Back strain monitor

The project proposes to test a prototype Back Strain Monitor designed to measure movements of the lumbar spine and give feedback to the wearer about potentially dangerous back movements. The monitor will assist in reducing the incidence of injuries and/or a more rapid rehabilitation of back injury.

Contact: Mr A Ronchi, 7 Burke Road, Malvern East VIC 3145

Phone: 03 8500 6966, Fax: 03 9505 6299, E-mail: pro_act@ihug.com.au

Protagonist Pty Limited (QLD) Grant Offered: $198,000

Project Title: Exploiting natural products for drug development: Evaluation of cyclic tetrapeptides

Cyclic tetrapeptides are a class of natural products that have broad-ranging activities including anti-parasitic, anti-cancer and herbicide activities. Protagonist will undertake proof-of-concept studies to illustrate the commercial importance of cyclic tetrapeptides against various therapetutic areas.

Contact: Dr M Smythe, Level 1, 11 Lang Parade, Milton QLD 4064

Phone: 07 3377 0300, Fax: 07 3377 0333, E-mail: m.smythe@protagonist.com.au

Pulmosonix Pty Ltd (VIC) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Device for monitoring patency of the upper airway

The project will build on IP originating in the Ritchie Centre for Baby Health Research at Monash University. The inventors of the technology designed a monitoring device that uses acoustics to assess the degree of inflation of the lung. From these measurements, an assessment of lung inflation and lung condition can be made. The objective of this project is to develop a functional prototype of a lung inflation monitor for neonates and a prototype sleep apnoea monitor that may be used as a diagnostic tool as well as improving the treatment of sleep apnoea. The project will involve the development of a prototype and testing in animal models followed by testing in adults and infants.

Contact: Dr M Soust, Level 5, Ritchie Centre, Monash Medical Centre, 246 Clayton Road, Clayton VIC 3168

Phone: 03 9594 5473, Fax: 03 9594 6330, E-mail: msoust@ains.net.au

QRxPharma Pty Ltd (QLD) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Haempatch - a protein isolate aimed at stemming bleeding from surgical and traumatic wounds

The projects aims to establish the technical viability of Haempatch, a product aimed at rapidly stemming bleeding from surgical and traumatic wounds. Heampatch is based on a protein originally isolated from the venom of the Australian brown snake. The snake venom protein will be fully characterised and the gene cloned and expressed in E. coli for large-scale protein expression and purification. The ability of the protein to produce

clot formation will be fully examined in an animal model system, and if necessary, the gene encoding the protein will be re-cloned into an alternate expression system to achieve increased activity.

Contact: Mr M Quinn, C/o Innovation Capital Associates Pty Ltd, Suite 4.01 35 Lime Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: 02 8296 6000, Fax: 02 8296 6066, E-mail: michaelquinn@innovationcapital.net

Queensland Bioprocessing Technology Pty Ltd (QLD) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Collagen and gelatin upgrade for high-grade pharmaceutical and medical end use

The project involves validation of production, scientific techniques and batch-to-batch variation when scaling up the production of marine-based high-grade collagen and gelatin from R&D volumes to pre-production scale. Queensland Bioprocessing Technology Pty Ltd has developed an innovative process to derive collagen and gelatin from naturally occurring marine raw material, which provide a high-quality, safe and natural alternative that is disease free.

Contact: Dr B Manickavasagam, 30 Boothby Street, Kedron QLD 4031

Phone: 07 3359 0177, Fax: 07 3359 0166, E-mail: bhanum@qldbiotech.com.au

Syngene Limited (VIC) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Methods for enhancing uptake and specific targeting of Oligonucleotides

This project will investigate methods for enhancing the uptake of therapeutic oligonucleotides into cells that are normally inaccessible to these molecules (such as brain tissue). The project also aims to achieve targeted delivery to specific cells.

Contact: Mr G Kaufman, Level 1, 10 Wallace Avenue, Toorak VIC 3142

Phone: 03 9826 0399, Fax: 03 9824 0083, E-mail: graeme.kaufman@circadian.com.au

Tecra International Pty Ltd (NSW) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Genetest diagnostic test

The project aims to develop a gene-based diagnostic system, Genetest, for detecting a range of highly specific micro-organisms of importance to the food and water industries. Genetest will be used to test final product, raw materials, enviromental swabs and other samples. This will be a highly specific and sensitive test that is easy to use and able to provide results very rapidly.

Contact: Dr P Myers, 13 Rodborough Road, Frenchs Forest NSW 2086

Phone: 02 8977 3012, Fax: 02 9972 7869, E-mail: phil.myers@tecra.net

TinniTech Limited (WA) Grant Offered: $250,000

Project Title: Clinical verification of the Acoustic Desensitisation Protocol (ADP) for Tinnitus rehabilitation

The aim of this project is to develop a commercially viable rehabilitation technique and device for tinnitus sufferers that is consistent with contemporary understandings of the underlying pathology in the auditory system of which tinnitus is a symptom. The device will perform hearing tests, provide core treatment, and log patient performance.

Contact: Ms Michelle Naughton, PO Box 7218, Cloisters Square, Perth WA 6000

Phone: 08 9480 1115, Fax: 08 9480 1199, E-mail: mnaughton@220group.com.au

CMR02-209