New centre to bring more international eye clinical trials to Victoria

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A new clinical trial centre launched in Melbourne hopes to bring more international trials to Victoria and give people with vision loss and blindness early access to investigative therapies.

Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Medical Research, Ben Carroll, launched Cerulea Clinical Trials. It is a new specialist ophthalmic clinical trial facility established by the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA).

Cerulea Clinical Trials is supported by a $10 million investment from Breakthrough Victoria. Over the next decade, it is expected to deliver clinical trials to more than 2,500 Victorians a year and create 50 new jobs.

A wholly owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of CERA, Cerulea Clinical Trials will specialise in advanced therapeutics to prevent and treat blindness, including gene and cell therapies, biologics and medical devices.

A state-of-the-art centre, which houses next-generation eye photography and imaging suites, vision lanes, as well as laser and treatment rooms in which therapies can be administered and monitored, is located at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in East Melbourne.

Cerulea Clinical Trials CEO Michelle Gallaher said the new centre would harness the growing investment in the global ophthalmic research market to bring more clinical trials to Australia.

“There is a growing pipeline of discovery with new medicines and devices being developed around the world and Cerulea Clinical Trials provides the perfect location to conduct these trials.

“Our aim is to build a specialist clinical trial centre that cements Victoria’s reputation as a world leader in preventing blindness and reducing the impact of vision loss.

“Cerulea aims to provide the best possible experience for patients, researchers, clinicians and industry partners.”

Professor Keith Martin, Cerulea Clinical Trials Chair, CERA Managing Director and University of Melbourne Professor and Head of Ophthalmology, said investment in the new centre was a major boost for eye care and eye research in Victoria.

“Cerulea will support the work of lab-based scientists to develop innovative new treatments to prevent vision loss and restore sight,’ he said.

“It will also benefit local eye care professionals who will be able to improve the quality of care they provide to their patients by providing them access to emerging treatments in clinical trials."

Minister Carroll added, “We're backing life changing research and therapy for eye disease which is a testament to Victoria's world class medical research sector. This will be developed locally for the benefit of Victorians and patients around the world."