August 1, 2017 | Media Release

International research partnership to accelerate impact of Australian discoveries

1 August 2017

The Imaging CoE is driving an exciting new collaborative research partnership in molecular imaging and immunology with the German Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (Leipzig) and its branch for Bioanalytics and Bioprocesses (Potsdam). The partnership, which is headquartered at Monash University – the lead organisation of the CoE – intends to develop scientific discoveries that will solve industry-oriented research problems and have a significant impact on people’s lives.

Utilising the complementary strengths of each institution, the partnership will focus on translational outcomes to accelerate the development of novel therapeutics, imaging technologies and diagnostic devices to better treat diseases, such as cancer and other immune-associated disorders.

Monash University Vice-Provost for Research & Research Infrastructure Prof Ian Smith said he was pleased to announce that the joint Monash-Fraunhofer team has already been successful in securing a grant of up to €650,000 from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Over five years this grant will provide funding for three collaborative pilot projects.

Professor Ian Smith – an advocate for a multi-disciplinary, collaborative and industry-involved approach to complex research – said the partnership with Fraunhofer would enable the University to better translate its discoveries, ensuring they reach their full potential and have maximum impact.
“The German Fraunhofer model is seen worldwide as an example of best practice in getting innovation from universities out into industry and also enabling these inventions and discoveries to have real impact,” Prof Smith said.

“We envisage this partnership as the first of several joint initiatives between Fraunhofer and Australian institutions.”

Professor James Whisstock, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging at Monash University, said with the inevitability that most people will suffer from immune-related diseases during their lifetime, this international collaboration had the potential to result in life-changing therapies.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can achieve by combining our strength and capabilities to improve the human condition,” Prof Whisstock said.

Fraunhofer IZI Director Prof Frank Emmrich said he was excited about tapping into the exceptional biomedical research capabilities at Monash University and helping to translate and promote Australian research on a global scale.

“I am convinced that our cooperation will enable numerous synergies, accelerating the development of innovative technologies on both sites,” Prof Emmrich said.

About the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI)
The world-class Fraunhofer network comprises 69 Fraunhofer institutes, each focussing on different fields of applied science, and more than 24,000 employees. The Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI investigates and develops solutions to specific problems at the interfaces of medicine, life sciences and engineering. One of the institute’s main tasks is to conduct contract research for companies, hospitals, diagnostic laboratories and research institutes operating in the field of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical engineering. The Fraunhofer IZI develops, optimizes and validates methods, materials and products for the business units Cell and Gene Therapy, Drugs, Diagnostics and Biosystems Technology. Its areas of competence lie in cell biology, immunology, drug biochemistry, biomarker, bioanalytics and bioproduction as well as process development and automation. In these areas, research specifically focusses on the indications oncology, neuropathology, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases as well as infectious diseases and regenerative medicine. The institute works in close cooperation with hospital institutions and performs quality tests besides carrying out the GMP-compliant manufacture of clinical test samples. Furthermore, it helps partners obtain manufacturing licenses and permits.