Publish Date: 
Friday, July 26, 2019 - 13:45

Investment in Research is Driving a Wave of Medical Innovation in Brisbane

Brisbane excels in biomedical research, medical device manufacturing and clinical trials on a global scale. This has created a critical mass of knowledge generation driving growth in high-value specialisations such as bio-medicine, vaccine research and drug discovery, oncology, clinical trials, ageing and chronic conditions, neurosciences, hospital management and e-health and human bionics. 

2018 Australian Emerging Company of the Year Microba, based at the Translational Research Institute, has forged a strong reputation developing new pathology services, therapeutics and diagnostics based on the human gut microbiome, the internal colonies of organisms which research increasingly indicates play a central role in maintaining health.

"Gut health is a hot topic not only in Australia but across the globe," says Microba's CEO, Blake Wills.

"We have entered into collaborations with global players such as Google Cloud and precision medicine company Macrogen in Korea, and recently joined the battle against antibiotic resistance with 12 other organisations including University of Technology, Sydney, as part of the Medical Research Future Fund's Frontier initiative." Wills credits the company's roots in Brisbane as one of the key factors in Microba's success.

"Being Brisbane-based may make us a little biased but we are seeing Brisbane building a community of innovation and scaleups. We have some great people in Brisbane, along with strong support from the local council and government," he says.

Professor Ian Frazer accredits the boom to investment by the government and research partnerships along with the close proximity to the expanding Southeast Asian markets. "Investment in Brisbane in the late 1990s by the Beattie government, along with Chuck Feeney [the American philanthropist who poured millions of dollars into Queensland], has provided and continues to support the necessary infrastructure to enable exciting new scientific discoveries and that has attracted scientists and clinicians interested in translation of the new science into practical outcomes for patients," says Prof Frazer.

"One excellent example of this is the Translational Research Institute, where I work. This building represents a partnership between universities and hospitals and aims to provide an environment that supports the development and testing of new ways of managing disease arising from the research conducted by their clinicians and scientists.

"It's also a great place to live, with a relaxed lifestyle, friendly people, great performing arts, and close proximity to the expanding markets offered by Southeast Asia."

Together with a well-supported startup ecosystem and strong advanced manufacturing capability, Brisbane is at the forefront of the convergence of technology and healthcare, attracting international attention and recognition.

Article adapted from DEAL magazine, to read the full article please see here (subscription required).