Up to $50,000 is available from Pipeline Accelerator to support meritorious therapeutic development projects that specifically relate to drug discovery through screening of small molecule libraries against drug targets.

 

Pipeline Accelerator

The Australian Therapeutic Pipeline (the “Pipeline”) is an initiative of TIA to bring together a diverse range of Australian translational medical research capabilities. An objective of the Pipeline initiative is to create the framework for a facilitated pathway for researchers and industry (including SMEs) to access Pipeline members’ translational research capabilities. This can leverage public sector investment in such capabilities and reduce duplication. To support this aim, TIA has developed a voucher-style researcher access scheme – the Pipeline Accelerator.

This round of the Pipeline Accelerator scheme seeks to support meritorious therapeutic development projects that specifically relate to drug discovery through screening of small molecule libraries against drug targets. This can also include pre-screening assay development and/or hit validation post-screening.

 

Objectives

The Accelerator scheme is designed to be able to respond quickly to the needs of researchers and industry by facilitating access to the expertise available in screening centres. The scheme also provides a mechanism to support and track projects as they progress through development, which is critical when demonstrating outcomes and impact from Government investment.

The scheme has three key participants, Providers, Applicants and TIA.

For Providers (Screening Centres), the aims of the scheme are to:

  • Enable and increase external business from SMEs and public-funded research groups
  • Raise the profile of the screening centres and their capabilities within the Australian research community
  • Incentivise collaborative projects, leading to more effective use of research infrastructure

For Applicants (public and private sector researchers) the aims of the scheme are to:

  • Provide a mechanism for financially supporting and enabling hard-to-fund activities relating to screening of compound libraries in order to:
    • Demonstrate proof of concept for a larger screening campaign
    • Generate pilot data to support an application for further funding (eg. to NDCC)
    • Support pre-screening assay development and post-screening hit validation activities
  • Lower the financial bar to access high quality, internationally accredited translational research services

For TIA the aims of the scheme are to

  • Enable co-investment with NCRIS funding
  • Increase external access to national research infrastructure
  • Provide a means to identify and track progress of meritorious projects as they progress
  • Provide case studies and exemplars for TIA reporting to government

 

Funding

The scheme will offer 2 separate and flexible funding levels to account for the range of potential projects costs.

  • $50,000 – Intended (but not exclusively) to support assay development, library screening and/or hit validation activities
  • $5,000 (multiples) – Intended (but not exclusively) to support pilot screens of small compound libraries

Note: An applicant may apply for multiple $5,000 vouchers up to a total value of $20,000 to support a single project.

Applications should specify the level of funding to apply for. Applicants will not be offered a different level of funding than was applied for.

 

Eligible Projects

Projects considered eligible for support must align with at least one of the following activities:

  1. Development of a novel assay into a format suitable for compound library screening
  2. Screening of compound libraries against a target with a suitable assay
  3. Post-screening hit validation prior to entry into medicinal chemistry

To achieve support, the Project applications must:

  • Briefly articulate of the current state of research relating to the chosen therapeutic modality in terms of biochemical characterisation, mechanism of action, target validation,
  • Be regarded as scientifically meritorious by an assessment committee appointed by TIA.
  • Demonstrate significant cash co-investment, with a preferred minimum level of 50% of the requested award. This component may include competitive grant funding specifically awarded to support the project.
  • Demonstrate a plan for the next steps in therapeutic development as they relate to the project, in the context of the project’s potential to lead to new therapeutic product or product/service for an existing or new market (including via out-licencing).
  • Have obtained appropriate service quotes from the selected Provider
  • Define an indicative desired timescale for the project
    • The timescale should align with the award and would ordinarily not exceed 12-18 months from commencement. Note: this timescale applies to the supported activities only, and not the full completion of the project or development of a potential therapeutic.
  • Define an endpoint for the supported Project (as noted above, not necessarily for the entire development project).

 

Eligible Applicants

The Pipeline Accelerator scheme is open to applications from the following organisations:

  • University-based researchers and research groups
  • Research groups within Public Funded Research Organisations, including Medical Research Institutes
  • University or Medical Research Institute’s technology transfer office or organisations
  • Commercial entities that meet the general eligibility criteria for the R&D Tax Incentive.

Applications from international organisations will be considered.

TIA has made an initial selection of screening centres that meet some or all of the following criteria

  • Provide library screening and related expertise to researchers external to their host entity
  • Have a defined contact person and external identity
  • Offer a fee for service and/or collaborative business model

The following screening centres are eligible for support from this round of the scheme (“Providers”). Multiple Providers can be named on a single application if the project makes use of capabilities at several different facilities. This list of providers may be amended for future rounds, subject to demand.

Facility NameContact(s)EmailHomepage
Community for Open Antimicrobial Drug DiscoveryJohannes Zuegg, Mark Blaskovich[email protected], [email protected]http://www.co-add.org/
Cell Screen SAAmanda Aloia[email protected]https://www.flinders.edu.au/research/facilities/cell-screen-sa-facility
ANU Centre for Therapeutic DiscoveryAmee George[email protected]https://jcsmr.anu.edu.au/services/high-throughput-screening
Monash Fragment Platform Martin Scanlon, Stephen Headey[email protected], [email protected]https://www.monash.edu/researchinfrastructure/mfp
Griffith Discovery Biology Vicky Avery[email protected]http://www.discoverybiology.org/
National Drug Discovery Centre*Hélène Jousset[email protected], [email protected]https://www.wehi.edu.au/about-business-development/partnering-opportunities/opportunities-platform-technologies
ACRF Drug Discovery Centre for Childhood CancerGreg Arndt, Andrew Stone, Tim Failes[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]https://www.ccia.org.au/our-services/drug-discovery-centre/
Victorian Centre for Functional GenomicsKaylene Simpson[email protected]https://www.petermac.org/research/core-facilities/victorian-centre-functional-genomics

* Regarding National Drug Discovery Centre: Applications to the Pipeline Accelerator scheme may seek to access capacity and capability at the National Drug Discovery Centre, so far as the project is outside the NDCC’s ongoing process to identify and support large scale high throughput screens (https://www.wehi.edu.au/research/research-technologies/drug-discovery/apply). Pipeline Accelerator applications may describe a subsequent application to NDCC as part of a development plan, and external projects emerging from NDCC may apply to the Pipeline Accelerator scheme for support for hit validation.

 

Timing

Applications close 15 November 2019.

 

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