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New program to boost pharmaceutical R&D.

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

4 September 2003 03/169


An extra half a billion dollars in new local research and development will be unlocked through the Australian Government’s new pharmaceuticals program which was launched today in Brisbane.

Unveiling the five year, $150 million Pharmaceutical Partnerships Program (called P3) at cancer research company Progen Industries, Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane urged Australian companies to make the most of the program to build on their international R&D reputations.

“Australia punches well above its weight in medical research - with only 0.3 per cent of the world’s population we produce 2.5 per cent of the world’s medical research. This program is designed to build and cement our position as an outstanding R&D performer,” he said.

“P3’s chief aim is to encourage partnering between multi-nationals in the industry and Australia’s biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. It will support R&D by biotech, originator and generic medicine companies to develop medicines for global markets.”

“It sends a clear signal to international investors that Australia is serious about capitalising on its world-class biotechnology, health and medical research capabilities.”

Progen Industries is a good example of a small Australian company with the potential to partner with global companies. Its lead compound for the treatment of cancer, including melanoma, continues to show encouraging results in recent trials.

“Through P3 we aim to help keep our best ideas in Australia, and develop them here, rather than watch them disappear offshore,” said Mr Macfarlane.

P3 has been designed after extensive consultation with more than 1000 industry stakeholders. The first funding round starts on 1 July 2004.

It is a competitive grants program through which successful applicants will receive 30 cents for each additional dollar they spend on eligible pharmaceutical R&D in Australia.

The Industry Research and Development Board will undertake assessment of applications and the program will be administered by the Government’s business unit, AusIndustry.

Full details can be found at the AusIndustry website at First round applications close on 15 December 2003.

Media Contact: Kirsty Boazman, (02) 6277 7580, Mobile: 0412 171 444 Email: Website:

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