8 October 2020

The Australian Government is investing almost $15 million to drive health and medical research in Australia towards commercial outcomes, announced in the 2020-21 Budget. 

The latest round of Development Grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) will support 18 research teams in the development of a product, process, procedure or service to improve health care, prevent disease or save health care costs.

Funded projects include:

  • A system that tracks tubes inserted into the blood vessels of babies and small children when critically ill. Associate Professor Christiane Theda from the Royal Women’s Hospital (Melbourne) will lead a team to develop the Neonav ECG Tip Location System. The system addresses a problem when babies and children are critically ill and need fluids and medications delivered by thin, flexible tubes (catheters) placed in their blood vessels. Despite best efforts, catheters may not reach or move from the correct location inside the patient, requiring the procedure to be repeated. This team’s solution is an innovative medical device that tracks where the catheter is during and after the procedure. 
  • A drug that blocks the injury response of the heart following a heart attack, discovered by a team at the University of Queensland. Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. Dr Nathan Palpant’s team will now develop the drug, Hi1a, as a new therapeutic for protecting the heart from damage due to lack of oxygen. 
  • A novel hearing-monitoring product integrated with the cochlear implant to minimise loss of natural hearing, developed by Professor Stephen O’Leary at the University of Melbourne. People receiving cochlear implants may have some natural hearing which up to 70% of patients lose as a result of implantation, a major barrier to the adoption of cochlear implants. Professor O’Leary’s team has developed Hear Assure, a product that enables safe positioning of the implant to minimise loss of natural hearing.

Other funded grants will support development of a new drug for treating multidrug resistant bacteria, biomimetic mineralisation to repair tooth enamel/dentine, and a point-of-care test for Hepatitis C virus.

“NHMRC’s Development Grants are enormously valuable in taking research to the proof-of-concept stage so that they can progress towards commercial outcomes for the benefit of Australia,” NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso said.

NHMRC invests in the highest quality health and medical research and the best researchers. NHMRC also supports the translation of scientific discoveries to benefit communities in Australia and around the world.

More information is available at: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/funding/find-funding/development-grants

Chief Investigator

Grant Title

Administering Institution



Professor Erica Fletcher (University of Melbourne)

Development of AD214 a novel anti-fibrotic treatment for advanced age related macular degeneration

University of Melbourne


Professor Mark Smyth (The Council of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research)

New multivalent antibodies for immuno-oncology

The Council of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research


Professor Jonathan Baell (Monash University)

Development of a New Class of Broad-Stage Antimalarial Agents

Monash University


Professor Eric Reynolds (University of Melbourne)

Repair of tooth enamel/dentine by biomimetic mineralisation


University of Melbourne


Professor Trent Woodruff (The University of Queensland)

Targeting complement C5a receptor 2 as a disease-modifying treatment for motor neuron disease


The University of Queensland


Doctor Remy Robert (Monash University)

A bispecific antibody to synergise checkpoint blockers in oncology


Monash University


Associate Professor Christiane Theda (Royal Women's Hospital)

The Neonav ECG Tip Location System: Better & safer care for paediatric intensive care patients


University of Melbourne


Doctor Tuncay Alan (Monash University)

Next generation hand-held nebulisers for aerosol drug delivery: using microfluidics to tune particle size


Monash University


Doctor James Wells (The University of Queensland)

Preclinical development of Q2361, a transforming new drug for skin cancer prevention in organ transplant recipients


The University of Queensland


Professor David Kaye (Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute)

Anti-inflammatory compound development for the treatment of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction


Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute



Doctor Mark Blaskovich (The University of Queensland)

OctapeptinX Potentiators to treat XDR Gram-negative infections


The University of Queensland


Professor David Grayden (University of Melbourne)

Stentrode Neuro-stimulator


University of Melbourne


Associate Professor Jack Richards (Burnet Institute)

Development of a molecular point-of-care test for hepatitis C to increase uptake of curative antiviral treatment


Burnet Institute


Professor Daniel Christ (The Garvan Institute of Medical Research)

Development of a therapeutic monoclonal antibody



University of New South Wales


Professor Stephen O'Leary (University of Melbourne)

Hear Assure: Saving natural hearing during cochlear implantation


University of Melbourne


Doctor Nathan Palpant (The University of Queensland)

Development of a first-in-class therapeutic for protecting the ischemic heart


The University of Queensland


Associate Professor Andrew Wise (The Bionics Institute of Australia)

Delivering hearing therapeutics to the clinic


The Bionics Institute of Australia


Doctor Lindsay Wu (University of New South Wales)

Media formulations to enhance embryo formation in assisted reproduction


University of New South Wales