Two major new projects for MTPConnect with the organisation announcing new partnerships with Pathology Technology Australia and DMTC.
Under the partnership with Pathology Technology Australia, the organisation will develop a National Action Plan for building end-to-end sovereign manufacturing capability for diagnostic tests.
Pathology Technology Australia (PTA) is the peak body representing manufacturers and suppliers of tests and technology used in pathology laboratories, hospitals, general practice and for self-testing.
The new plan will examine supply chain and other barriers to positioning Australia to reliably and sustainably produce in vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs).
The IVDs range from Lateral Flow (RAT) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests to diagnostics for influenza, point-of-care tests for common infectious diseases and nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) based tests for contagions, early cancer detection and drug-resistant infections.
According to MTPConnect Interim CEO Stuart Dignam, “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of ready access to high-quality diagnostic tests and there’s no doubt Australia has the scientific and technical capability to develop and manufacture innovative tests at the frontier of the world’s health needs.
“Working with PTA, we’ll carefully examine the barriers faced by innovative manufacturers in Australia when gaining access to the local market so we can work to boost the resilience of our supply chains for this technology.
PTA CEO Dean Whiting added, “Our membership includes a cohort of Australian-based pathology technology developers and manufacturers which have significant ‘coalface’ experience and understanding of the barriers to success.
“Our members develop and manufacture tests and the testing technology, conduct clinical trials and validation testing to meet the requirements for inclusion on TGA’s Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, train doctors and scientists in the use of this technology, provide technical support to maintain devices and maintain the supply chain - their expertise will be critical to identifying likely solutions and ensuring the Action Plan has real impact."
MTPConnect is also funding a new project with DMTC Limited to provide a picture of the capability and capacity of Australia’s health biosecurity ecosystem.
The project will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to create a comprehensive digital database of sovereign capability and capacity in the health biosecurity sector.
“The project, which will have matching funding from DMTC, will start with Antimicrobial Resistance – AMR. This will mean we can pilot these new approaches, leveraging the latest AI, machine learning and data scraping techniques to augment our existing knowledge base," said Mr Dignam.
Head of health security for DMTC, Dr Leigh Farrell, added, “Previous surveys on Australia’s health security sector capability and supply chains have been incredibly useful in identifying capability and gaps, however, they have only provided point-in-time snapshots of the health security sector maturity.
“By using resources and expertise of both organisations and our delivery partners, we’ll now be able to move beyond surveys. We will be able to develop a dynamic and truly digital database that is actively curated. It will provide a more complete view of the ecosystem and the supply chain.
“It will also provide better line of sight for government agencies and stakeholders.”