The University of Melbourne and Monash University have entered into a collaboration to launch M2 Venture Catalyst, an $80 million project that will look to commercialise the universities’ biomedical research through the provision of the necessary skills and funding.
The enterprise, the brainchild of Professor Bill Charman, Director of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Professor Danny Hoyer, the University of Melbourne’s Chair and Head of Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, is expected to support new companies, increase investment and exports, and create specialised jobs in the sector by working with partners in hospitals, medical research institutes, and commercial partners.
The universities have contributed $50 million to the development of the enterprise, with the Victorian Government contributing a further $10 million and additional funding being sought from other avenues.
It will be jointly owned by the universities and governed by an independent board, with John Brumby, former Victorian premier and Professorial Fellow at both Monash and Melbourne announced as chair.
Professor Margaret Gardner, president and vice chancellor of Monash University, said the venture would help extend Melbourne’s record of biomedical innovation.
“This is an era in which Victoria can make unprecedented strides in tackling disease and investing in transformative research to solve the health challenges for the state and the world. The catalyst is our bold venture to do precisely that,” she said.
Charman agreed that Melbourne’s biomedical sector is a world leader, but falls behind in commercialising its research.
“Too often important medical discoveries have not made it from the lab into new cures and therapies. And those that have succeeded have often need to be taken off shore early in their development such that higher commercial and scientific value has been lost to Australia,” Charman said.
“Our new enterprise uses the combined research expertise, and infrastructure, of the two universities as a strong pipeline of high quality drug targets and drug candidates, along with the objective perspective of an independent entity which can then rapidly progress this forward to more advanced and then externally-funded stages of development.”
There have been a number of announcements in the health and medical sectors as of late as researchers and corporates alike look to innovate and commercialise new ideas. Trajan Scientific and Medical in April launched an accelerator program aiming to support medtech social enterprises, while Westpac this week launched its annual Innovation Challenge, which this year will focus on improvements in healthcare.