The Defence Materials Technology Centre has called for expressions of interest for collaborative projects focusing on three medical countermeasure priority areas to protect military and civil personnel.
The priority areas are:
- Point of care diagnostics;
- Antimicrobial resistance; and
- Security sensitive biological agents.
DMTC says the program is about translation of technology and all proposed projects must be at or above the non-clinical/preclinical phase of development for vaccines and therapeutics.
The call for EOI comes on the back of DMTC leading a medical countermeasures (MCM) activity focused on vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for the protection of military and civilian personnel against chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) threats, emerging infectious diseases and pandemics.
The DMTC MCM program will focus on the advanced development of technologies relevant to the national preparedness strategy. It will include the development of an integrated capability to reduce dependence on non-Australian sources for MCM products.
"The overarching aim of the program will be to develop leading edge advanced development capabilities and to deploy those skills into activities that support Australian defence, health and national security. The DMTC MCM program is the first attempt in Australia to be proactive and harness the expertise, capability and capacity to support indigenous MCM solutions," DMTC said.
DMTC said the MCM activity they are leading is the result of extensive work carried out by the Defence Science and Technology Group, the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), various industry and academic partners who are focused on establishing a national capability for the advanced development and manufacture of MCMs.
Funding of $5 million was provided by CSIRO to begin the program, and an additional $2 million was recently provided by DST Group along with in-kind support in the form of technical expertise.
The program has been developed in the context of the quadrilateral (AUS/CAN/UK/US) community and aims to engage in areas where Australian research and industrial expertise could have the most impact.
DMTC noted that "there is a real opportunity, through the DMTC, to create an integrated multidisciplinary network focused on MCM product development".
"Australia has a dispersed, relatively small, but highly experienced discovery and development community with expertise and resources relevant to MCM product development," DMTC said.
"Furthermore, Australia is geographically positioned as an important sentinel for emerging infectious disease threats and has the potential to become a regional leader in MCM development. By developing capability through collaboration, the DMTC aims to establish a product development pipeline which will form part of the national preparedness strategy."
Proposed projects must have a minimum of one industry partner and one academic or research partner.
Submissions are due at 4pm AEDT on Friday, 17 March and contract negotiations are to be completed no late than 30 June 2017.
DMTC is a not-for-profit collaborative venture that brings together defence industry, universities and government research agencies to develop technologies that will enhance Australia’s defence and national security capability.