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Eskitis links with European life science researchers

Griffith University's Eskitis Institute will be the gateway for European scientists to access potential building blocks for new drugs and other products sourced from compounds created by Australian chemistry researchers.

In return, Australian researchers will also be able to draw on the chemical libraries of Europe after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding hosted by the Australian Ambassador to Belgium, in Brussels on 16 May 2014.

The signatories are;

  • Therapeutic Innovation Australia (TIA), a Federal Government funding agency for strategic infrastructure for medical research
  • EU-OPENSCREEN, a European Research Infrastructure Initiative of Open Screening Platforms for Chemical Biology and
  • Compounds Australia - the national compound collection housed at Griffith's Eskitis Institute on Griffith's Nathan Campus.

Director of the Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery, Professor Ronald J Quinn AM said research collaborations are vital in the search for new drugs to fight disease.

"Research needs to become more collaborative and multidisciplinary to succeed and we will get more value from Australian compounds if more exploration is being done," Professor Quinn said.

"Australian chemists will be able to have their compounds investigated by European scientists who are looking at things in different ways, and Australian biologists will have access to European compounds. The more people who are investigating the better."

Coordinator of the EU-OPENSCREEN consortium, Dr. Ronald Frank from Leibniz-Institut fr Molekulare Pharmakologie in Berlin Germany, is also enthusiastic about the exchange with Compounds Australia.

"This brings us a big step forward in joining forces with other continents to advance our understanding of how chemicals affect molecular mechanisms of complex biological processes," Dr Frank said.

"We now can combine the rich chemistry knowledge of Europe and Australia in our compound collections to promote the availability of safe and efficacious chemical products for unmet needs in medicine, nutrition, agriculture, and environment."

CEO of Therapeutic Innovation Australia, Dr Stewart Hay, said the Eskitis Institute and EU-OPENSCREEN commitment to share compounds will improve the probability of an important discovery.

"This collaboration between drug discovery researchers in Europe and Australia could potentially be the critical step leading to the discovery of our next blockbuster drug," Dr Hay said.


Contact: Helen Wright
Griffith University

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