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News & Trends - Biotechnology

University of Melbourne and Illumina biotech secure $60 million genomics project

Health Industry Hub | December 4, 2020 |

Biotech News: A partnership between a leading global biotech company and Australia’s prominent university will put Victoria at the forefront of medical research innovation, create hundreds of jobs, and generate opportunities for local businesses and clinical trials.

Illumina and the University of Melbourne have partnered to establish the Illumina–University of Melbourne Genomics Hub, the first in the Asia Pacific region, which will bring together the best of genomic expertise and technology in Australia. This will drive better public health outcomes in research and diagnostics, in areas including infectious diseases such as the coronavirus.

Minister for Economic Development Tim Pallas said “We welcome this significant partnership between one of the world’s leading biotech companies and the University of Melbourne, which will further underscore our strong capabilities in medical research.”

“An Australian-first, the Illumina–University of Melbourne Genomics Hub will future proof Victoria’s position as a national leader in genomic research, harnessing our highly skilled talent, a culture of innovation and our world class universities,” he added.

The Hub will give local researchers access to world-class genomics, bioinformatics and health economics technologies and help support the analysis of vast amounts of data to better understand the human genome and translate this to new commercial applications. It is set to create opportunities for hundreds of medical research staff and interns, retain talent in Victoria and boost links between partners in industry, research and education.

To be located in the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, the Hub benefits from being in the presence of over 40 world-class biomedical organisations, leading hospitals and clinical research leaders. The Hub will complement the work of the recently announced Australian Institute for Infectious Diseases at the Precinct.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said “Our partnership with Illumina is bridging the gap between the genomics industry and research, placing Victoria at the forefront of the global genomics revolution to drive workforce development, research translation and the implementation of genomics into routine clinical care.

“A personalised COVID-19 response flagship project led by The Doherty Institute is just one example of how the Illumina-University of Melbourne Genomics Hub will enable the rapid translation of research to act quickly and effectively on health threats such as cancer and infectious disease.”

The Victorian Government has worked closely with the University of Melbourne and Illumina to secure the $60 million project, which aligns with the State’s International Investment Strategy and supports its world leading reputation in medical research.

The project is the first of many proposals from universities to secure funding from the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund, which was developed in response to the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Victorian universities. The Fund will support universities with capital works, applied research and research infrastructure projects focused on boosting Victoria’s productivity and economy as the state recovers from the pandemic.

Illumina Chief Executive Officer Francis de Souza commented “We are pleased to partner with the Victorian government and the University of Melbourne to create new opportunities in genomic research and education and to accelerate the implementation of genomic medicine for the benefit of patients and their families.

“The University of Melbourne has long been at the forefront of genomics education, and together, we will work to bridge the gap between research innovation and healthcare reality.”


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