World-leading National Centre for Inflammation Research to be established in Victoria following budget boost

Hudson Institute of Medical Research today welcomed the Victorian Government’s initial investment to kick-start a National Centre for Inflammation Research (NCIR) to be established at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP) in Melbourne’s growing south-eastern corridor.

Professor Elizabeth Hartland, Director and CEO of Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Professor Paul Hertzog Associate Director of Hudson Institute of Medical Research welcome the Victorian Government's initial investment to kick-start a National Centre for Inflammation Research.
L–R: Professor Elizabeth Hartland, Director and CEO; Professor Paul Hertzog Associate Director

Hon Jaala Pulford, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy micannounced $1 million in funding to assist with detailed planning to establish the NCIR at Hudson Institute, co-located at the MHTP within the Monash Medical Centre campus in Clayton.

The funds will support capital planning, feasibility, and include research and development and seed funding to immediately accelerate critical inflammation research including into COVID-19. The investment will help to stimulate the Victorian economy with immediate and sustained job creation.

“A National Centre for Inflammation Research, the first of its kind in Australia, will boost Victoria’s leadership in inflammation research and the development of new anti-inflammatory therapies,” said Director and CEO of Hudson Institute, Professor Elizabeth Hartland.

“More than 50 per cent of deaths world-wide can be attributed to inflammation. The immune system response is implicated in hundreds of different diseases and conditions including cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart, kidney, liver and infectious diseases. The potential to advance human health by a greater understanding of inflammation is immense,” she said.

Hudson Institute houses Australia’s largest group of inflammation researchers – including many directly involved in the Institute’s contribution to the global COVID-19 pandemic response – who will be accommodated in the new Centre.

The state-of-the-art Centre will enhance Victoria’s capability and capacity to respond rapidly to current and future health challenges, including pandemics such as COVID-19, ensuring inflammation discoveries are translated into new treatments, diagnostics and devices for Victorians.

The facility will include much-needed PC3 containment laboratories – the only PC3 laboratories in the Monash Precinct – enabling scientists to study the inflammatory response to life-threatening hospital- or community-acquired infections such as multi-drug resistant bacteria and infectious disease outbreaks.

Architectural drawing of the National Centre for Inflammation Research (NCIR).
Architectural drawing of state-of-the-art Centre

This will help to safeguard against any future public health crisis by adding a geographically distinct capability to Melbourne’s complement of high containment laboratories, thereby forming part of an essential diversified network during a pandemic response.

Scientists at the National Centre for Inflammation Research will investigate cell and gene therapies, immunotherapies and the microbiome to treat chronic and dangerous inflammation during infection, cancer or chronic inflammatory diseases. The Centre will include facilities to manufacture therapeutics and increased capacity for clinical trials. The $1 million investment announced today is the first step towards bringing the centre, expected to cost approximately $130 million, to life. Further State and Federal government and philanthropic funding will be sought to complete the project. The Centre is expected to attract further international commercial investment and new partnerships with private sector and industry.

More than 950 jobs will be created throughout the project, including 300 highly skilled jobs for researchers, scientists and clinician researchers, and a further 650 construction related jobs throughout the building phase. Prof Hartland thanked Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister Pulford for their vision and commitment to establish Victoria as a national leader in inflammation research.

“Today’s announcement places Australia and Victoria at the forefront of life-changing medical research,” Prof Hartland said.

“The NCIR will be a gamechanger for Victoria. It will establish the state as Australia’s inflammation research powerhouse and strengthen Melbourne’s reputation as a world-leading centre for life-science. The NCIR will deliver life-saving and life-changing research that will transform health care, improving the lives of all Victorians, and ensure the state has the infrastructure to respond to future health challenges.”

Hudson Institute generates more than $50 million in revenue annually. In the past three years it has delivered three spinout biotech companies and 40 commercial partnerships with industry, worth $15 million.

This includes a multimillion-dollar commercial partnership with international investment firm Morningside Ventures, which resulted in a spinout company, Epsila Bio, to develop an ovarian cancer treatment based on Hudson Institute researchers’ world-first findings around the protective benefits of interferon epsilon. 

About Hudson Institute

Hudson Institute is a leading Australian medical research institute recognised internationally for discovery science and translational research. More than 450 researchers and clinicians, including the largest group of inflammation scientists in Australia, investigate inflammation, reproductive health and pregnancy, infant and child health, cancer and hormones and health. The National Centre for Inflammation Research at Hudson Institute will harness their scientific discoveries to curb the burden of disease, improve health for all Victorians, attract international investment and grow Victorian jobs.

About MHTP

The MHTP is a partnership between Hudson Institute and Victoria’s largest public health service, Monash Health, and Monash University, dedicated to medical research for improved health.

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