Private Contributors Grant $1.5 Million to Medical Research
15 October 2015 at 10:48 am
One of Australia’s largest private contributors to biomedical research, the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundations, has awarded $1.5 million to seven researchers, including $1 million towards reducing the cost of medicines worldwide.
The biennial Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award, worth $1 million, has been granted to Professor David Craik of The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience and Professor Marilyn Anderson of the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science at La Trobe University.
The award will support Professors Craik and Anderson to establish the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Facility (CVRF) for Producing Pharmaceuticals in Plants. The CVRF will be a state-of-the-art facility to develop technologies to produce potent next-generation medicines inexpensively.
“We are thrilled to receive the Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award for our work on using plants as ‘biofactories’ for producing next-generation pharmaceuticals,” Professor Craik said.
“This research has great potential to provide medicines inexpensively to patients in both the developed and developing worlds. However, this type of blue sky research falls outside the realm of work typically funded by government or industry so we are particularly grateful to the Ramaciotti Foundations for their support.”
Managed by Perpetual, the Ramaciotti Foundations started off with $6.7 million in funds in 1970, with the first major grant going to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in 1971. Since then, the Foundations have donated almost $56 million to biomedical research and are one of the largest contributors to the field.
Professor Carola Vinuesa of the Australian National University was selected as the recipient of the Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research, an annual award of $50,000 to honour an outstanding discovery in clinical or experimental biomedical research. Professor Vinuesa’s discovery of the ROQUIN family of proteins has opened up new avenues to diagnose and treat autoimmune diseases.
Up to $150,000 will also be allocated to each of the four recipients of the Ramaciotti Health Investment Grants. The grants are awarded to autonomous early career scientists to support health or medical research with a potential path to clinical application within five years.
“The Ramaciotti Foundations have provided essential support to some of our most remarkable scientists since 1970,” Perpetual’s National Manager of Philanthropy and Non Profit Services, Caitriona Fay, said.
“As trustee of the Foundations, we have witnessed the life changing impact that philanthropy can have on millions of people. Thanks to Vera Ramaciotti’s vision and the legacy she has created, she has helped shape the futures of not only the recipients, but people worldwide who will benefit from their work.”