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      Saving, changing and repairing lives


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          Prof D. Hoyer has been Chair and Head of Department from December 2012 after 30 years with Sandoz/Novartis in Switzerland. The aim is to change the landscape of the University and the biomedical precinct of Melbourne to become a powerhouse in biomedical research and development, and to train the next generations of academics and industrial researchers. Since 2013, three Centres / Units with strong drug development and therapeutic focus have been created within the department: LHRC (Lung Health Research Center), Incisive and the Therapeutic Technology Research Initiative (TTRI). AVRU (Australian Venom Research Unit) and its PNG discovery arm, the Charles Campbell Toxinology Centre (CCTC), have been reoriented to work primarily on snake venoms and the treatment of snake bites with existing and newly developed antivenoms. Research in the Department focuses on chronic diseases affecting the CNS, Immune, Respiratory, Cardiovascular and Dental systems, including in the newborn and children. Improved envenomation management in adults and children represent a major focus of our research led by AVRU and CCTC in Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) within large international collaborations including with WHO. We have consistently demonstrated success in progressing our laboratory findings through different stages of drug development. Clinically, the department is involved in a number of drug trials/ developments: MOR103, a monoclonal antibody against GMCSF, developed by Morphosys (Munich) based on a concept from the Dept, is now in phase II/III for indications such as RA and MS with GSK in Europe. AVRU have just completed a phase II trial in Port Moresby (PNG) with a new antivenom against the taipan, a major deadly snake in PNG and Australia. LHRC will conduct two clinical trials in Australia in 2017/2018 with two new anticalins in asthma and eye diseases in collaboration with Pieris, an emerging German/US biotech. LHRC will also conduct a clinical trial to study the effects of reinforced flu vaccination in patients with recurrent severe asthma attacks. LHRC also participates in a study run by the Royal Melbourne Hospital on the efficacy of the anti-IgE antibody omalizumab in patients with systemic mastocytosis.Dr Jon Mangum has created a biotech (Incisive) to develop treatment and diagnosis of a devastating dental problem in children, molar hypomineralisation, also known as chalky teeth. Prof. A. Stewart (LHRC, TTRI) has led the discovery of a new pathway in TGFβ signalling and is developing a new class of drugs to treat treatment steroid-resistant asthma patients. Prof N. Saunders leads a company that provides sailing as a means to rehabilitate spinal cord injury paraplegic or tetraplegic patients, in addition to his research on blood brain barrier in embryos and infants and spinal cord injury in developing mammals. TTRI is seeking to transform drug screening processes through organ-on-a-chip technology and incorporating mechanopharmacology.Prof. D. Hoyer, with his colleague Prof. W. Charman, Dean of Pharmacy and Head of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, have conceptualised and launched Project Mercury, a historic 80M AUD joint venture between Monash University and University of Melbourne, with the support of the Victorian Government, to create the first Australian Academic Drug Development Incubator established as BioCurate PTY Ltd under the chair of the Hon. J. Brumby, former Premier of Victoria.

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          Science Impact, Ltd.
          February 07 2017
          February 07 2017
          : 2017
          : 2
          : 62-64
          © 2017

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

          Earth & Environmental sciences, Medicine, Computer science, Agriculture, Engineering


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