Melbourne's Bio21 Institute is expanding

Tuesday, 08 March, 2016

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday announced the imminent expansion of The University of Melbourne’s Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute.

For more than a decade, Bio21 has played an important role in positioning Victoria and Australia as a leading destination for life sciences and biotechnology research. It is also an example of an academia-industry partnership, with biopharma company CSL (ASX:CSL) having been a partner in the institute since 2007.

This partnership has been so successful that the university is embarking on a $36.4 million, 5000 m2 expansion of the institute, allowing for the expansion of major technology platforms that underpin personalised medicine and the development of new diagnostics. It will also be home to the CSL Global Hub for Research and Translational Medicine, where CSL expects to eventually double the presence of its research scientists from 75 to around 150.

“The increased presence at Bio21 will allow CSL to increase its collaborations with university researchers, plus other research institutes and hospitals,” said Dr Andrew Cuthbertson, CSL Chief Scientific Officer and R&D Director. “It will also provide an expanded base for new national and international collaborations.”

Work on the new building will commence in 2016 and the expansion is expected to be completed during 2017.

“This expansion makes business sense and is very exciting scientifically,” said Dr Cuthbertson. “Our research scientists find Bio21 an attractive and intellectually stimulating place to work, and the cross-cultivation of ideas from academia to commercial helps translate science into lifesaving medicines.”

CSL separately announced yesterday that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved IDELVION, CSL Behring’s long-acting albumin fusion protein linking recombinant coagulation factor IX with recombinant albumin for the treatment of haemophilia B.

IDELVION is said to be the first and only factor IX therapy that delivers high-level protection, with up to 14-day dosing in appropriate patients. This dosing interval has been achieved while maintaining high levels of factor activity — above 5% over 14 days at 75 IU/kg — reducing the monthly number of units needed for prophylaxis therapy.

IDELVION is indicated in the US in children and adults with haemophilia B for routine prophylaxis to prevent or reduce the frequency of bleeding episodes; for on-demand control and prevention of bleeding episodes; and for the perioperative management of bleeding around the time of surgery. The drug is expected to be available in the US later this month.

CSL (ASX:CSL) shares finished 0.565% higher at $103.15 as of the close of trading yesterday.

Originally published here.

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