Monash stem cell centre signs $4.1bn deal with US
By Martin Daly Chicago
April 12, 2006
Melbourne's Australian Stem Cell Centre and a leading US university with $US3 billion ($A4.1 billion) to spend have sealed a unique deal that forms one of the most significant groups in regenerative medicine in the world.
The deal between the ASCC at Monash University and the University of California San Diego, brings together 300 of the best scientists and researchers to share resources and expertise as they work on complex stem cell issues.
Innovation Minister John Brumby said it heralded a new era and brought closer the possibility of breakthroughs for people with diseases such as Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's.
Mirror image laboratories in San Diego and Melbourne will be built, allowing Australian and US scientists to work and learn at both sites.
"There is no gathering of this size anywhere in the world," said Professor Alan Trounson, the ASCC founder who worked on the deal for years.
"This will clearly hasten the development of new drugs," Professor Trounson said.
The ASCC must make available, free of charge and without any claim to intellectual property rights, several embryonic stem cell lines, while the UCSD brings its facilities and expertise with adult stem cells.
Professor Trounson, Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories director and ASCC deputy chairman, was in Chicago for the announcement yesterday by Premier Steve Bracks and Mr Brumby at the Biotechnology 2006 conference, attracting 20,000 delegates from 60 countries.
Mr Bracks said the deal was "a giant leap forward for stem cell research".
He said stem cells were significant because they could self-renew and become any type of specialised cell in the body.
"This research has the potential to drive new discoveries in regenerative medicine, such as treatments to replace damaged tissue or cells, treating diseases with a genetic component," he said.
Professor Trounson said he pursued the deal because partners were crucial in the highly competitive world of stem cell research and Australia would become isolated unless it progressed with top researchers.
"If you are Australian, you would want to be connected to an institution that has $US3 billion to spend over 10 years. That's $US300 million a year and you can do a lot with even a little bit of that money. This has fantastic potential."
On this development alone, I'd say Bracks & Co's going it alone with the synchrotron has already started to pay dividends.
- The likelihood of the new lab being near the synchrotron & Monash Clayton is yet another reason to actively start revisiting plans for the Rowville rail line, who knows what else will come to the area, but the Monash precinct is growing, and not that it wouldn't serve a rail line well now, the area's in danger of becoming 100% auto-centric.
- What's the bet that ENTER and full-feeing places for science degrees at Monash rise significantly over the coming years? :lol: