$40 million for research into chronic illness medication

Australian biotech start-up George Medicines will receive $20 million to develop medicines for the prevention of heart attacks, strokes and other chronic illnesses as part of the Federal Government’s Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF).

Treatments for a range of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, hypertension and diabetes will also be funded.

Health minister Greg Hunt said the new medications could mean patients take less pills and reduce side effects as a result.

“Sadly, just under half of Australians had one or more chronic conditions in 2017-18. That’s why it’s so important the Government invests in vital research to treat these conditions,” he said.

“Once developed, it is hoped these new medications will be more effective, reducing the number of pills patients are required to take.”

George Health Enterprises, the commercial arm of The George Institute for Global Health will also invest $20 million with support from BUPA Innovations and Federation Asset Management.

Industry, science and technology minister Karen Andrews said investing in bio-tech start-ups are important for delivering important health and economic benefits to Australians.

“The BTF fosters both potential breakthroughs in health treatments and business opportunities that will assist Australian companies, boost the economy, and create high quality jobs,” she said.

Andrews said two patents have been filed based on research conducted in Australia and overseas, and that “the signs are very good”.

The BTF is operated by three private sector managers and selects Australian biomedical ideas to support.