27 December 2021

NHMRC welcomes today’s announcement by the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, of more than $15 million in 19 innovative research projects that will drive commercial outcomes to deliver better health care. 

NHMRC welcomes today’s announcement by the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, of more than $15 million in 19 innovative research projects that will drive commercial outcomes to deliver better health care. 

The funding, through NHMRC’s Development Grant scheme, supports researchers at the proof-of-concept stage in the design and testing of new health and medical interventions with the potential for a commercial outcome within a foreseeable timeframe. 

The funding supports the continued development of innovations that will contribute to better health care and health cost savings in the future.

NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso AO said it was exciting to see these innovations making progress along the path to patient care.

“We know that commercial development of medical technologies can be challenging. These grants fill a critical gap in that pathway by supporting research teams to obtain the proof-of-concept data needed to attract a commercial partner,” Professor Kelso said.

Today’s grants will advance the development of a range of health and medical innovations, including:

  • A compound that can prevent the scarring from chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer patients which limits the effectiveness of subsequent rounds of treatment (Associate Professor Thomas Cox at University of New South Wales). 
  • A new device to open blocked coronary arteries (angioplasty) for safer and more effective treatment of vascular disease (Associate Professor Anthony Dear, Monash University). 
  • A device that allows clinicians to assess a patient’s lung function so they can plan radiotherapy to minimise side effects and evaluate suitability for surgery (Professor Ricky O’Brien, University of Sydney.) 
  • A new form of RNA-based treatment for patients with liver cancer (Professor Peter Leedman, University of Western Australia and Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research).
  • A new, low-energy laser that rescues the light-sensitive film at the back of the eye to preserve central vision and prevent complete blindness from retinitis pigmentosa (Professor Robert Casson, The University of Adelaide).
  • A highly active antimalarial drug class with a known mechanism of action and the prerequisites to advance to human clinical trials (Dr Brad Sleebs, WEHI, in partnership with Medicines for Malaria Venture and Janssen Pharmaceuticals).

Development Grants announced are:

Title Chief Investigators Administering Institution Budget
A First-In-Class Tumour Matrix Targeting Approach to Enhance Chemotherapy in Pancreatic Cancer Assoc Prof Thomas Cox University of New South Wales $827,500
Development of a non-invasive mucosal integrity diagnostic and ingestible capsule sampling tool targeting IBD gut health. Dr Valerie Wasinger University of New South Wales $345,635
Targeting metabolism to correct fatty liver disease Assoc Prof Kyle Hoehn University of New South Wales $621,083
Lung Ventilation Imaging: A new device to protect the lungs for cancer treatment Prof Ricky O'Brien University of Sydney $1,075,714
Development of a novel blood test that accurately predicts response to checkpoint therapy in cancer patients Prof Barbara Fazekas de St Groth University of Sydney $571,216
Building Synthetic DNA Controls for Oxford Nanopore Sequencing. Assoc Prof Timothy Mercer The University of Queensland $786,252
Developing FXIIa inhibitors as next-generation anticoagulants Prof David Craik The University of Queensland $698,512
Novel long-acting and orally delivered conotoxin-based peptides with both analgesic efficacy and disease modifying potential. Dr Richard Clark The University of Queensland $948,644
Targeting the Achilles’ heel of multi-drug resistant Neisseria gonorrhoea with drugs that disrupt metal homeostasis Prof Mark von Itzstein Griffith University $1,116,524
Development of a Novel Photo-Angioplasty Device for the Treatment of Occlusive Peripheral Vascular Disease Assoc Prof Anthony Dear Monash University $808,505
Preventing reperfusion injury in stroke with an acutely dosed NK1R antagonist prodrug Prof Jonathan Baell Monash University $653,527
Development of a potent and fast acting antimalarial that is orally efficacious in vivo Dr Brad Sleebs The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute $1,002,769
c-FIND: Diagnosis of infections in minutes Prof Marc Pellegrini The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute $868,752
Retinal Implant with Closed-loop, Multichannel Stimulation to Improve Visual Acuity Assoc Prof Hamish Meffin University of Melbourne $1,141,581
Developing HCK inhibitor drugs to improve immunotherapy Prof Matthias Ernst La Trobe University $992,328
Developing a first-in-class therapeutic for chronic visceral pain using venom derived peptides Prof Stuart Brierley Flinders University $998,858
Rescuing cone photoreceptors in retinitis pigmentosa with laser-delivered photobiomodulation Prof Robert Casson The University of Adelaide $525,106
A novel RNA-based therapeutic for liver cancer Prof Peter Leedman University of Western Australia $482,632
Development of a novel topical serine protease inhibitor for tissue repair and inflammatory skin disease Assoc Prof Mark Fear University of Western Australia $590,264
    TOTAL $15,055,405

*Grants are listed grouped by state NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia.


NHMRC Media Team
M: 0422 008 512
E: media@nhmrc.gov.au