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Medtech research facility launched in Australia to help SMEs transition new discoveries from bench to bedside

Above image: ©CSIRO, Nick Pitsas

CSIRO, Monash University and Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP[1]) have launched a new translational medical technology (medtech) research facility called M2 to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the sector transition new discoveries from the bench to prototyping, pre-clinical testing, industry evaluation and commercialisation.

This infrastructure is supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF). It is expected to accelerate the achievement of breakthroughs in life-changing medicine, including medical devices, vaccines and cell therapies.

Australia has more than 500 companies working in the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals (MTP) sector. Many of these are SMEs, which might not have the resources to make the expensive, time consuming transition from prototype to clinically tested product.  

In a video accompanying the press release, Dr. Gordon McPhee, Monash Health Translation Precinct explains, “The translational phase is something that’s often referred to as the “Valley of Death” for potential medical treatment. It’s where you are in a research environment, you have promising results that you need to trial in humans, in phase one clinical trials in humans and that step has traditionally been very expensive, with clean room space being very limited.”

M2 aims to bridge this gap for Australian businesses, by providing a ‘one stop shop’ and bringing together the best minds and technology together. M2 is expected to have all the things that a small manufacturing enterprise would need to develop products in the medtech sector.

In addition to expensive, important infrastructure, M2 will have people with extensive expertise in areas like polymers, surface coating technology, biofabrication and biocompatibility testing. SMEs can get all of that intellectual input in one place.

Officially launching the M2 precinct at CSIRO’s new Biomedical Materials Translation Facility (BMTF) in Clayton, Victoria, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Senator, Arthur Sinodinos, said, “From life-changing cochlear implants, to life-saving vaccines, world-first 3D printed bone and tissue replacements, Australia has an incredible track record when it comes to medical technologies and pharmaceuticals. M2 will help to accelerate development of technology like this, not only vital for the improvement of the lives of Australians facing medial challenges, but also leading to job and economic growth for Australia.”

“M2 leverages some of Australia’s best medtech expertise, experience and equipment. When a company comes to us we can use CSIRO and MHTP facilities to develop and analyse production scale prototypes, whilst the Monash Biomedical Imaging facility can provide advanced pre-clinical and clinical testing and imaging,” CSIRO Director of Manufacturing, Dr. Keith McLean added.

The press release says that MTP sector is expected to be worth almost $3 trillion by 2025, while $18 billion and 28,000 new jobs could be added to the Australian economy over the next eight years.

Monash University Provost and Senior Vice-President Professor Marc Parlange said, “This initiative will deliver real health benefits to all Australians. Our healthcare spending is expected to almost double to 16 per cent of GDP by 2040. Cheaper and more effective medical solutions are better for our health and Australia’s financial future.”

[1]MHTP is a collaborative initiative of Monash Health, Monash University and Hudson Institute of Medical Research.

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