Monash to receive $17.5 million to establish Victoria’s Health Innovation Centre

Monash University will establish Victoria’s Health Innovation Centre, including a flagship cardiovascular disease-focused research accelerator, HeartLabs, and a new focal point for clinical trials, to create high-value jobs, intellectual property, start-ups, and attract and nurture new clinical trials.

Enabled by $17.5 million in funding through the state government’s Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF), the Centre will be housed in the Monash Technology Precinct and networked across the state through its clinical trials.

HeartLabs will translate and commercialise clinical research, cardiac technology, models of care, drug discovery, and biomedical engineering.

The lead of HeartLabs, and Director of Monash University’s Victorian Heart Institute (VHI), Professor Stephen Nicholls, said: “HeartLabs will house business development groups and strategic industry commercial partners as anchor tenants, accelerating new health and clinical innovations, and attracting significant global investment to Victoria. It’s a critical step in the pipeline to allow the VHI to turn its discoveries into real solutions for the community.”

The Health Innovation Centre will provide clinical trials sponsors, investors and partners with access to world-leading expertise in the design and delivery of global clinical trials with a single, virtual front door to the University to attract, scale and streamline multi-site, industry-sponsored clinical trials across various disciplines, including cardiovascular.

The lead of the Centre’s clinical trials, Professor Sophia Zoungas, said: “The Centre will comprise a virtual clinical trials hub-and-spoke network connecting to Alfred Health, Eastern Health, Monash Health, Peninsula Health, Cabrini Health and Epworth HealthCare, and the Victorian Heart Hospital (VHH).

“Monash University’s advanced bio-statistical expertise and extensive network of public and private hospitals, primary care, rehabilitation, aged care and community health providers will enable it to support companies and the health system with trials that provide answers to treatment questions faster, and with fewer patients than conventional randomised trials,” Professor Zoungas said.

The establishment of HeartLabs complements two of the University’s current projects, including the VHH and VHI.

Due to open in 2022 in close proximity to the VHH, HeartLabs will have access to research acceleration activities relating to translation and commercialisation outcomes, driving discoveries from the VHI and other medical research departments, centres and institutes, particularly from Victoria.

President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AC said: “Monash University is delighted to receive $17.5 million through the VHESIF to establish Victoria’s Health Innovation Centre at the heart of the state’s largest innovation and employment ecosystem outside Melbourne’s CBD.

“This funding will enable Monash to deliver greater innovation in biotechnology and pharmaceutical research, and development for cardiovascular disease, as well as new products and services for better cardiovascular and other health outcomes for Victorians, including new access to medicines through trials,” Professor Gardner said.

This announcement follows the University’s funding allocations through the VHESIF for its Safe and Equal @ Work and Access to Justice programs and smart manufacturing, and research and development commercialisation.