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New grant will help save lives

Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences

A world-class translational pharmaceutical science laboratory will be established at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Parkville and will be the first of its kind in Australia.

Directly supporting capacity building, skills growth and education development, the new Translational Research Lab has been made possible by a landmark grant from the Helen Macherson Smith Trust (HMSTrust).

The $1.2 million grant from the HMSTrust enables $1.1 million of in-kind contributions from industry partners PerkinElmer and Shimadzu and a further $350,000 contribution from the McCallMcBain Foundation to build state of the art facilities at the precinct.

MIPS Director Professor Bill Charman thanked the HMSTrust for their foresight, generosity and vision in establishing the new facility. He said the facilities and capabilities would support individual projects to make the giant translational leap from a research project to a new medicine.

Professor Charman also thanked the industry partners for their support and collaborative approach to establishing a translational laboratory that was otherwise beyond the financial capabilities of any of the individual partners.

He said the objective of the lab would be to support the development of new medicines that would improve global access to life-saving medicines while at the same time providing world-class industry-standard training to the next generation of pharmaceutical scientists.

“This platform will be open access and allow Victorian researchers to continue the development of their projects within Australia,” Professor Chairman said.

Lab Director Dr Michelle McIntosh said the lab would be used to evaluate key parameters influencing product stability such as storage conditions, humidity and packaging.

“It is a wonderful addition to Victoria’s research infrastructure,” Dr McIntosh said.

HMSTrust Chairman Darvell Hutchinson AM said the Trust was honoured to give its support to MIPS for the Laboratory, as part an ongoing partnership.

Mr Hutchinson said the Trust’s support of MIPS began in 2007, with a grant of $50,000 to purchase equipment that established key analytical capability leading to the ground-breaking Inhaled Oxytocin project.

“The Trust has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with Monash University over many years, and this new grant takes our total support to in excess of $3.3 million,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“This grant marks a special celebration for the HMSTrust. It is the first Social Impact Lead Grant in our Health Advancement Program of our new grant making policy.

“The Trust is thrilled that our grant of $1.2 million has enabled MIPS to secure a level of major international support that will establish the Laboratory as a unique resource for Victoria, Australia and beyond.”

Research programs that are likely to be conducted at the new facility include projects such as is the Inhaled Oxytocin project, which is developing a new medicine that could save the lives of tens of thousands of women who die each year at childbirth from postpartum haemorrhage.

Dr McIntosh said the research was investigating the effectiveness of inhaling oxytocin in a bid to overcome the challenges associated with the current injectable product, which includes the need to store oxytocin in refrigerated conditions, and is not often feasible in low resource settings.

“An inhaled product would negate the need for cold chain storage, remove the risk of needle stick injuries and could be used by all levels of healthcare workers,” Dr McIntosh said.

The Laboratory will officially open in early 2015.

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