New Australian agency to accelerate genomic research and drive innovation in healthcare
21 March 2022: Genomics advances will help develop revolutionary treatments for some of our biggest health challenges, including diagnosing and understanding rare and inherited diseases.
Announced today, the Federal Government will invest $28.1 million into a new agency for the Health Portfolio, Genomics Australia, from 1 January 2024.
Genomic technologies have been around for decades and have rapidly evolved since its discovery says Medicines Australia CEO, Elizabeth de Somer. In recent times, scientists are using genome sequencing to track mutations in the SARS-CoV2 virus, which causes COVID-19.
“Genomics is a core part of our healthcare and during the height of the pandemic, was the reason how scientists and researchers were able to quickly understand the COVID-19 virus,” said Ms de Somer.
“Not only does genomics help us understand human health and the mechanisms of disease, but it can be used in the prevention, earlier diagnosis and treatment of a large range of diseases, including cancer.”
“The establishment of Genomics Australia is the right step forward, building on Australia’s growing infrastructure that will support genomic research and medicine into the future,” she said.
Today’s announcement complements other recent initiatives such as the Medicines Australia and AusBiotech’s joint Cell and Gene Therapy Catalyst programme, the Industry Genomics Network Alliance (InGeNA) and the Omico Precision Oncology Screening Platform ‘PrOSPECT’, which was announced just last week.
“It is our hope the new agency Genomics Australia will build on the collaboration efforts between Government, the health sector and patients to ensure all Australians can benefit from these pioneering advancements in research and genomics,” said Ms de Somer.
“Creating more efficient ways of onshoring innovative technologies and treatments such as genomics to Australia is something that has been resoundingly called for by patient groups and stakeholders in the recent National Medicines Policy Review and the House of Representatives Report, ‘The New Frontier’.”
“The new Medicines Australia Strategic Agreement with the Federal Government prioritises creating these new pathways that will encourage more innovative technologies to our shores, including precision medicines.”
“As part of the Strategic Agreement, the independently chaired HTA review – one of the biggest health reforms in Australia for 30 years – will bring about bold changes to speed up access to innovative medicines, vaccines and treatments for the Australian population.”
“We will be advocating the next Federal Government to make the independent HTA review one of its highest priorities.”
“Medicines Australia welcomes today’s announcement, which will help to build on Australian scientific successes and ensure patients can have faster access to more personalised treatment options,” said Ms de Somer.
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ABOUT GENOMICS MEDICINE
Further information about genomics medicine can be found at Queensland Genomics.
“Genomics is the study of genomes. A genome is an organism’s complete set of genetic information, also known as DNA. All living organisms have their own genome that is unique to them.
Advances in genomic medicine offer exciting opportunities to improve health and wellbeing. Through genomic medicine, medical experts can predict disease risk, diagnose illness and guide treatment. And its use is expected to grow exponentially in coming years due to further advances in science and technology.”
ABOUT MEDICINES AUSTRALIA
Medicines Australia leads the research-based medicines industry of Australia. Our members discover, develop and manufacture prescription pharmaceutical products, biotherapeutic products and vaccines that bring health, social and economic benefits to Australia. Our members invest in Australian medical research and take local discoveries and developments to the world.
Our mission is to drive policy outcomes in partnership with government, health sector organisations and the community which will ensure Australians have universal, affordable, and fast access to treatments that keep pace with advancements in medicine.