Robotics research rewarded

Advanced robotics that accelerates the creation of medicines has received a $25 million injection from the government.

A new research centre in Melbourne will receive the funding injection from the federal government in order to speed up the process of developing medicines

Cutting-edge robotics equipment will be used at the Drug Discovery Centre at the city’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, allowing researchers to easily screen chemicals for their medical abilities.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says the centre will open in June to help researchers develop drugs to treat common and rare diseases, improving the quality of life of many Australians.

He says the centre will “supercharge” the discovery and creation of new medicines, with its robotics able to complete 200,000 chemical tests in three weeks.

“It’s for all Australian researchers and it’s the envy of the world,” Mr Hunt told reporters in Melbourne.

“International researchers are looking at the drug discovery centre here and hoping to be part of it.”

Mr Hunt says medicines for the treatment of conditions including cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, motor neuron disease and cancers could be created through the research.

“Above all else, this is about giving Australian patients first and best access to the world’s newest medicines,” he said.

The Drug Discovery Centre has earned $32.1 million from royalties of venetoclax, an anti-cancer treatment based on a discovery at the institute in the 1980s, and continues to receive philanthropic support.

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