Next steps for Medical Countermeasures Program

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The Hon Christopher Pyne MP

Minister for Defence Industry

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17 November 2017

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, today announced three projects selected to progress under Round Two of the Medical Countermeasures Program managed by the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC).

Minister Pyne said more than 50 expressions of interest were received from across Australia, and that the three successful projects will share around $5 million worth of funding under the program.

“Flinders University, the Australian Respiratory & Sleep Medicine Institute and Adelaide-based SME Vaxine Pty Ltd will work collaboratively to advance the work on vaccines against Japanese encephalitis and related viruses,” Minister Pyne said.

“The University of Queensland will lead the development of magnetic nanotechnologies that will assist with the administration of anti-biotics by speeding up the diagnosis of microbial infections.

“Planet Innovation and research partners from CSIRO will partner on a project to further develop a deployable, point of care diagnostic system that can track outbreaks as they happen in real time, minimising the spread of disease.”

Minister Pyne said the projects received technical expertise and support from industry and research partners as part of the program.

“That in itself is a great reflection of the dual purpose of the DMTC – to enhance Defence capabilities but to also to strengthen the industrial sector supporting Defence,” Minister Pyne said.

“These projects are a step forward in reducing Australia’s reliance on imported medical countermeasures products.

Medical countermeasures are an important sovereign capability for military or civilian personnel in a range of scenarios including biological warfare or chemical attacks, as well as the potential spread of global infectious disease pandemics.

This round of projects has been supported by funding from CSIRO and the Defence Science and Technology Group through its Next Generation Technologies Fund.

The DMTC is a key partner for the Defence Innovation Hub. Launched in 2016, the Hub will invest around $640 million over the decade in maturing and further developing technologies that have moved from the early science stages into the engineering and development stages.

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