Indee Labs secures funding to develop unique gene therapy manufacturing technology in Australia
BioMedTech Horizons project will see cancer-curing gene therapies manufactured for the masses
6:30pm AEST, Tuesday 17 April, Melbourne, Australia – MTPConnect and the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, today announced that Indee Labs will receive grant funding of nearly A$1M from the Australian Government’s A$35 million BioMedTech Horizons program.
The project will see Indee Labs make a new generation of medicine, known as gene therapy, accessible to the masses. The impact of gene therapies will be similar to that of antibiotics seen during the last century - it will offer cures for most cancer sufferers with minimal side effects. Kymriah and Yescarta were the first to be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration last year and there are many hundreds more in development.
“The first generation of gene therapies will cost about the same as a house in Sydney or Melbourne because the manufacturing process, which typically use engineered viruses, is slow, difficult and problematic,” said Dr. Warren McKenzie, Director and Chief Executive Officer of Indee Labs Australia.
“This will see some very difficult decisions made by families, health insurers and governments about who will get access to these life-saving cures.”
“Our technology will solve many of the problems with using viruses, bringing down their price and allowing pharmaceutical companies to manufacture enough therapeutics for everyone that needs them while also expediting development timelines.”
“BioMedTech Horizons grant will get our technology into the hands of pharmaceutical companies years earlier.”
The BioMedTech Horizons program is providing the necessary support to boost investment, commercialisation and success of health innovations in Australia.
“These first investments from the BioMedTech Horizons program are set to fuel ongoing innovation in Australia, in line with MTPConnect’s priorities for growth of the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector,” said Sue MacLeman, Managing Director and CEO of MTPConnect.
“Indee Labs and the other 10 outstanding projects address identified global megatrends including precision healthcare and the digital evolution, as well as forecasted areas of unmet clinical need, such as immunology and advanced prosthetics.”
Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, said, “The Turnbull Government is committed to improving the health services for all Australians and will continue to invest in better treatment, care and medical research. Our researchers are innovators and this investment will speed up the journey from idea to reality. These technologies have the potential to create better health outcomes for Australians, while driving investment and strengthening our economy. All Australians benefit from investment in health and medical research.”
The BioMedTech Horizons program is being delivered as a part of the Australian Government’s A$20 billion Medical Research Future Fund, which aims to transform health and medical research to improve lives, build the economy and contribute to health system sustainability through targeted strategic investment.
For more information on the BioMedTech Horizons program and first round recipients, please visit: www.mtpconnect.org.au/biomedtechhorizons
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About Indee Labs and its BioMedTech Horizons Project
Indee Labs is developing hardware for gene delivery.
Gene delivery to cells is the most critical and problematic step in developing and manufacturing gene modified cell therapies (GMCTs). GMCTs represent the most promising platform for many patients suffering from diseases such as cancer or genetic disorders, where traditional forms of medicine fail.
Indee Labs’ project will develop a product based on the mechanical phenomenon of microfluidic vortex shedding (µVS) into an end product that will be trialed by pharmaceutical companies worldwide.
µVS is the only practical gene delivery technology – Indee has already demonstrated revolutionary improvements over existing gene delivery methods including higher yield, negligible immune cell perturbation along with rapid processing of research, clinical and commercial-scale samples with a simple workflow and a small footprint. It will also reduce the lead times for a treatment from months to weeks saving the lives of patients with aggressive conditions. These promising results have led to seed investment from investors in both Australia (Main Sequence Ventures) and the United States (Y Combinator, Social+Capital and Founders Fund).
Indee would like to hear from companies developing gene therapies interested in trialing its gene delivery technology.
Collaborators on the project include; ANFF-SA, Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia; Defence Science Technologies Group; University of Sydney.
MTPConnect is the Medical Technology, Biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical (MTP) Industry Growth Centre.
It was formed as a not-for-profit organisation in November 2015 as part of the Australian Government’s Industry Growth Centres Initiative to accelerate the rate of growth of the MTP sector to achieve greater commercialisation and establish Australia as an Asia-Pacific hub for MTP companies.
The MTPConnect Head Office is located at the New Horizons Building at Monash University, co-located with CSIRO and industry. There are also key hubs at the University of Sydney’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology and the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders University at Tonsley in Adelaide.
Industry Growth Centres
The Industry Growth Centres Initiative is an industry-led approach driving innovation, productivity and competitiveness by focusing on areas of competitive strength and strategic priority. This will help Australia transition into smart, high value and export focused industries.
The Initiative enables national action on key issues such as collaboration, commercialisation, international engagement, skills and regulation reform. It drives excellence, not dependence, and will create an economy that ensures Australia’s ongoing prosperity. For more information: www.industry.gov.au/industrygrowthcentres
Dr. Warren McKenzie,
Director and Chief Executive Officer, Indee Labs Australia
+61 400 059 509
Corporate Communications Manager, MTPConnect
+61 417 267 739