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Breakthrough bio-tech agreement.

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Media Release


8 December 2003

A potential revolution in the treatment of human disease will become a commercial reality following the announcement today of an agreement between the CSIRO, Benitec Ltd and the Queensland Department of Primary Industry.

In congratulating all parties involved in the agreement to commercialise gene silencing technology (ddRNAi), Australian Government Science Minister Peter McGauran said it was the most significant advance in biotechnology in the last decade.

“This gene silencing technology has attracted tremendous worldwide interest and is revolutionising the way researchers meet the challenge of creating new drugs and cure major diseases,” Mr McGauran said.

The technology offers possible treatments for Cancer, HIV/Aids, Hepatitis C, Alzheimers disease and major parasitic diseases, including malaria and sleeping sickness. It could also be used to develop medication for animals and breed livestock resistant to viral diseases.

“It also has the potential to help people who may be genetically disposed to some cancers by ‘turning off’ the offending gene, reducing their risk of developing cancer,” Mr McGauran said.

CSIRO is Australia’s leading patenting enterprise, holding over 3,900 granted or pending patents so maximising value is critical to the organisations ongoing scientific research.

“This is an outstanding example of CSIRO partnering with industry to achieve full commercialisation of a major scientific breakthrough,” Mr McGauran concluded.

Further information: Fiona McDonald (Minister McGauran’s office) 02 6277 7440 or 0419 622 915