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Burnet Institute has received the NHMRC Research Excellence Award for the highest ranked Development Grant in the 2018 funding rounds.
Deputy Director and Co-Head, Global Health Diagnostics Laboratory, Associate Professor David Anderson accepted the award, for the development of a rapid, point of care test with high sensitivity for the diagnosis of sepsis, at the NHMRC Research Excellence Awards Dinner.
Associate Professor Anderson accepts the award from former Burnet Director Professor Steve Wesselingh, Chair of the Research Committee, and CEO of NHMRC, Professor Anne Kelso.
The Development Grants scheme supports research and development at the proof-of-concept stage that specifically drives towards the commercial development of a product, process, procedure or service that can result in improved health care, disease prevention or provide health cost savings.
Research supported by this scheme must, via a commercial business plan, have detailed feasible strategies for commercialisation that takes into account the regulatory pathway, protectable IP, commercial barriers and potential routes to market.
Accepting the award on behalf of grant co-investigators Ms Mary Garcia, Mr Bill Hopper (Axxin Ltd) and Associate Professor Rose Ffrench, Associate Professor Anderson highlighted the contributions of Ms Serina Cucuzza and Mr Vivian Gleeson from Burnet’s business development team, together with Dr Roslyn Hendriks from C-Suite Corporate in formulating the business plan that was an essential part of a strong application.
“Early diagnosis so that treatment can be started within hours is essential to reduce both deaths and disability from sepsis.”
“Recognising the critical need for a fast and simple test for sepsis, and drawing on our success with the point-of-care VISITECT CD4 T cell test, we came up with a concept for a POC test based on the established laboratory tests for CD64 that should have had around 80 pre cent sensitivity for detecting sepsis.
“But in the course of the PhD studies by Ms Riya Palchaudhuri over the past few years, in close collaboration with our colleagues at the Intensive Care Unit of the Alfred Hospital as well as co-supervisors Professor Suzanne Crowe AM and Dr Clovis Palmer, we discovered new aspects of the biology of CD64 that allowed us to reach almost 100 per cent sensitivity for detection of sepsis using a combination of simple lab tests.”
Professor Anderson said the challenge now is expedite the development of an approved manufactured test working closely with industry partners at Axxin Ltd, Melbourne, and Nanjing BioPoint, China, together with the business development team at Burnet and the Burnet’s new “Accelerator” program, Quick Development of Solutions Lab (qDOS Lab).
Associate Professor Anderson (front far right) with other NHMRC award recipients.