CSL funding to fast-track Australian research programs

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CSL has announced $2 million in total funding over two years for four Australian projects under its Research Acceleration Initiative partnership.

The company said the initiative establishes partnerships between it and research organisations and includes funding as well as access to its R&D experts.

Marthe D’Ombrain, CSL’s head of global research innovation said, “Australian researchers have an excellent reputation globally for producing high quality, novel research. The CSL Research Acceleration Initiative is designed to enhance research commercialisation through partnerships in promising discovery programs.

“Through these partnerships, CSL provides valuable access to our deep R&D expertise and we work alongside world-class researchers who are at the forefront of innovation. Ultimately we hope that these partnerships will lead to a stronger pipeline of promising discoveries being translated into new medicines.”

Recipients of the 2020 funding round include researchers from the University of Western Australia, The University of Queensland and two groups from QIMR Berghofer. 

Professor Livia Hool from The University of Western Australia is developing a novel therapeutic for the treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an inherited heart disorder that affects over 20 million people globally and is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in people under 35.

"Researching a new drug candidate, she aims to treat or even prevent the development of hypertrophy – a condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick," said CSL in a statement.

Associate Professor Mark Coulthard and Professor Trent Woodruff of the University of Queensland are developing a new therapeutic candidate to prevent and repair damage to the thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels known as endothelial tissue.

Associate Professor Michelle Wykes of the QIMR Berghofer is exploring a new immunological target for the treatment of rare autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren’s syndrome, and dermatomyositis. 

Professor Christian Engwerda, who is also at the QIMR Berghofer,is investigating an immunological target to improve stem cell transplantation and treat autoimmune conditions as well as Graft vs Host Disease. 

Dr D’Ombrain said the work is in areas of medical research where there is often limited or no existing treatment for patient conditions.

“We look forward to helping transform these ideas into ground-breaking therapies to improve the lives of people living with these conditions.”