Australian researchers will translate their discoveries into commercial products faster thanks to a newly established Queensland Node of the Therapeutic Innovation Australia (TIA).


TIA – Qld Node, a State-based model of the future national TIA entity, is being developed under the auspices of "Therapeutic Innovation Australia (TIA)" – lead agent for the $35 million Translating Health Discovery Project funded under the Government's Super Science Initiative.

The Therapeutic Innovation Australia (TIA) Queensland Node will be funded with $6.9m from the Federal Government and co-investment funding of $2m awarded by the Queensland Government.

The Node will provide a testing model to accelerate the movement of inventions by Australian life sciences researchers from the laboratory, through preclinical trials, clinical development and produce 'reduced risked technologies' that will be highly attractive for investors to commercialize into therapeutic products.

The TIA-Qld Node will initially undertake four 'translational' example projects to deliver tangible commercial returns within 5 years.

Comprised of five of the leading Translational Research Centres based in South East Queensland, members include the Centre for Integrated Preclinical Drug Development; Queensland Clinical Trials and Biostatistics Centre; Centre for Clinical Research and the Diamantina Institute which are based at The University of Queensland's Herston campus and the Griffith Health Institute based at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus.

Griffith University Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O'Connor (pictured) said some of the hardest work of developing any new medical therapy was moving from the trial stage to the product stage.

"This is often where Australian research is forced to go off-shore," he said. "However, the TIA Qld node provides an important link in keeping the development of therapies in Australia.  With Griffith Health Institute's migraine research now entering phase-three clinical trials, the consortium offers an ideal platform for more personalised diagnostics and more targeted migraine therapies. It will ensure Queenslanders and Australians gain the most immediate treatment benefits."

CEO of Therapeutic Innovation Australia Stewart Hay said the major strategy embodied in this plan involved aggregating and leveraging existing infrastructure across the nation, improving researcher access and addressing gaps in infrastructure rather than establishing a large number of new facilities.

"In Queensland this will allow the expansion of facilities at The University of Queensland and Griffith University and link them in a co-ordinated way," he said. "This is the first time this co-ordinated approach has been implemented in Australia and represents a move to a more systematic approach to therapeutic innovation."

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the node's first focus would be projects that have a high probability of yielding tangible results for human health and the economy within five years.

Professor Terry said the node will initially target:

  • a test aimed at protecting unborn babies who are at risk of premature birth
  • a migraine prevention product
  • 'glucose alarm' software package to help people with conditions including diabetes to control their blood sugar levels
  • an imaging technique to aid the development of treatments for bone disorders such as osteoporosis.