Cancer Therapeutics CRC/Canthera Discovery next generation drugs land CRA Award for Research Commercialisation

Cancer Therapeutics Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and its successor research and commercialisation entity Canthera Discovery have taken out the Cooperative Research Australia (CRA) Award for Research Commercialisation at its Innovation Awards ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday night (March 31).

Cancer Therapeutics CRC ran for 13 years (2007-2020) and has been one of the Australian Government CRC Program’s biggest success stories, landing deals for ground-breaking cancer therapies with pharma giants for a headline value of close to A$1.4bn. 

Cancer Therapeutics CRC led a collaborative partnership of leading medical research institutes, universities and biotechnology companies, translating Australian research discoveries into new cancer treatments ready for clinical development. Key research partners included the CSIRO, Monash University, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Griffith University, Children’s Cancer Institute, and WEHI.

Post-CRC funding, research and commercial work has been carried forward by Canthera Discovery, which has now firmly established itself as a global leader as it develops new drugs which have potential clinical applications for both cancer and non-cancer disorders affecting millions of people worldwide. One program is now in phase 1 clinical trials for the potential treatment of patients with advanced or metastatic breast, prostate or lung cancer. 

In addition to the large pharma deals, multiple innovations have been successfully licensed for further pre-clinical development. In October 2020, the first human trials started for the Cancer Therapeutics CRC-developed drug AMP945. If the clinical trials prove successful, this important discovery could be used to treat pancreatic cancer.

“The CRC Program funded Cancer Therapeutics CRC with $71m over 13 years. In potentially returning some ten times that investment and counting in licensing deals, Cancer Therapeutics CRC and Canthera Discovery have been a shining example of the strength of the CRC Program in bridging the gap between domestic world class research and innovation, and global commercialisation,” CRA CEO Jane O’Dwyer said.  

“Cooperative Research Australia is delighted to present Canthera Discovery and Cancer Therapeutics CRC with the Award for Research Commercialisation,” she said.

“Every new cancer drug starts with a great idea, however what Australia lacked was a good mechanism to convert these ideas into potential new medicines. This is the niche that Cancer Therapeutics filled with CRC Program funding – research and commercialisation work that is now being taken forward at astonishing pace and ingenuity by Canthera Discovery,” Canthera Discovery Managing Director Alan Robertson said.

“We are delighted to receive the Cooperative Research Australia Award for Research Commercialisation as it recognises something fundamentally important about why we do what we do. It’s about getting cutting edge Australian research translated – via commercialisation – for the benefit of patients. We want to see our innovations make the often-arduous journey from laboratory bench to the pharmacy shelf to meet unmet medical needs, not just for Australians but people all over the world,” Canthera’s Chief Scientific Officer Brendon Monahan said.

Media Notes 

·         Brendon Monahan is available for interview (see media contacts below)

Media Contacts

Niall Byrne

Science in Public

Email: [email protected]

M: 0417 131 977

Louise Reid 
Cooperative Research Australia
Marketing and Communications Manager 
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 02 6260 3988

Rajiv Maharaj

Story Inception Media Relations

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: 0416 148 541

Brendon Monahan

Canthera Discovery

Chief Scientific Officer

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: 0430 359 458

Cooperative Research Australia strengthens and promotes the transformative potential of collaborative, industry-led research through knowledge exchange, professional development, and advocacy. Our members form the lynchpin in the Australian innovation system and are focused on creating new products, services, industries, and value in our economy.

Canthera Discovery is an oncology focused small molecule drug discovery and early development biotechnology group, that evolved from the Cancer Therapeutics CRC. Canthera Discovery’s unique partnership model leverages the capabilities and expertise of several of Australia’s pre-eminent Medical Research Institutes and Universities. The Research Partners are the Children’s Cancer Institute, CSIRO, Griffith University, Monash University, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and WEHI. Together with industry partners and health advocacy organisations they form the membership of Canthera Discovery including Cancer Council of Victoria, Cancer Trials Australia, Clinical Genomics, Medicines Development for Global Health Limited, National Cancer Centre Singapore, Oncology One, Royal Melbourne Hospital, SYNthesis Research, Syneos Health and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.