Advancement in reproduction, pregnancy and child health is enabled by successful partnerships with the private sector to develop and deliver new technologies, treatments and therapies.
Innovative research discoveries made by Robinson Research Institute members are being developed with commercial partners to transform medical practice and the health of our community - some examples are listed below.
In April 2013 the first baby was born in Australia using EmbryoGen®, a treatment product for miscarriage containing cytokine Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF).
Developed in collaboration with Origio A/S, EmbryoGen® offers a novel treatment option for women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) after a history of one or more miscarriages. Professor Sarah Robertson, who spent more than 20 years working on cytokine regulation of embryo development, leads the science behind the technology. The key to its success is the technology's ability to closely mimic the natural environment of the uterus and support early embryo growth and firm implantation.
The work has entered a new phase with new trials to evaluate second-generation formulation. A blastocyst culture medium containing GMCSF, marketed as BlastGen® is currently in trial in partnership with Fertility SA and other international partners.
- IVF Vet Solutions
The IVF Vet Solutions business unit, led by Associate Professor Jeremy Thompson, provides services to the human and veterinary IVF market. This includes the Mouse Embryo Assay (MEA), a quality assurance test for media and other products used in IVF. A variety of national and international companies and reproductive medicine clinics utilise this service.
The unit has also developed a suite of bovine IVF media, with significant sales of media to Australian Reproductive Technologies PTY LTD and OVASEM PTY LTD. The media is being exported to a number of countries including Canada, South Africa and USA.
- Production and supply of antibodies
Professor David Kennaway has a commercial partnership with Buhlmann Laboratories involving the supply and use of antibodies that form the active agents in assays to detect the hormone melatonin. The antibodies are incorporated into kits sold by Buhlmann to measure melatonin for laboratory and clinical applications in Australia and around the world.
- Collaboration with Cook Medical
Several Institute Research Leaders enjoy a strong relationship with Cook Medical LLC - a privately owned medical device company based in Bloomington Indiana, USA. Cook make over 30,000 medical and surgical products, and their Women's Health Division is a global producer of IVF products.
For the past 10+ years, Cook have partnered on grants, engaged Associate Professor Jeremy Thompson as a consultant, and supported several research projects which focus on development of assisted reproductive technologies, especially in collaboration with The University of New South Wales and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium).
Cook have supported patent filings related to these technologies, and also resourced the Robinson Research Institute to fund the China Exchange Grant. Cook is a commercial partner in a Premiers Science Research Fund and Australian Research Council Linkage Grants related to the Sensing Technologies and Advanced Reproduction Research lab, which is a joint project between the Robinson Research Institute and the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS).
- Biomarker translation
As part of a biomarker discovery program jointly funded by the CRC for Biomarker translation and the NHMRC, a novel biomarker of immune cell subsets PI16, also named CD364, has been developed by Associate Professor Simon Barry.
Beckton Dickenson now licenses this biomarker for sale on the international market. The antibody is being tested for diagnostic utility in a number of diseases including type1 diabetes IBD and infertility, and is a new tool to advance research into regulatory T lymphocytes in laboratories around the world.
- Cell Therapy manufacturing
In 2014 a new $63 million CRC for Cell Therapy Manufacturing was jointly established with the University of South Australia, with Associate Professor Simon Barry leading the T cell therapy programme. This CRC aims to develop novel cell manufacturing devices and protocols aimed at increasing the availability and reducing the cost of cell therapy.