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New clinical trial centre to be embedded in Centre for Eye Research Australia

Victorians will have better access to ground-breaking treatments for preventing and curing blindness, following the State Government’s multi-million-dollar investment in a new clinical trial centre.

Minister for Industry and Innovation Mr Ben Carroll announced on 6 June that Breakthrough Victoria will invest $10 million towards a new eye clinical trials centre at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital to help boost the number of clinical trials for world-first treatments for eye disease.

The new centre, which will be embedded within the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), will also enable further research into areas such as gene and cell therapy – allowing patients to access treatments that may still be years away from being available to the public.

“The new centre will position Victoria as the go-to location for international clinical trials of innovative treatments to prevent blindness, restore sight and transform the lives of people living with incurable eye conditions,” CERA managing director Professor Keith Martin said.

Rural and regional communities are also set to benefit from the expanded network of local optometrists participating in clinical trials and the provision of eyecare telehealth service through the new centre.

Establishing the new clinical trials centre will give around 2,000 patients access to new therapies over the next 10 years – and create around 50 new jobs. Construction of the centre is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

Victoria’s health technology sector is one of our fastest growing industries, generating $2.5 billion in exports in 2022. The commercial sector has around 31,000 workers, while a further 20,000 people are employed in research.

As one of the world’s leading life science hubs, Victoria carries out one-third of Australia’s clinical trials and this investment will strengthen the state’s clinical trial eco-system further.

“We’re backing projects like CERA because we know these investments help to change lives, create jobs and boost our economy for years into the future,” Carroll said.

Breakthrough Victoria invests in companies to support the commercialisation of new technologies that will benefit Victoria. Recent investments include FLAIM Systems, Quantum Brilliance, Samsara Eco and Smart Paddock.

“In establishing a new eye clinical trials centre, we are commercialising our state’s expertise in global markets by providing clinical trials that benefit Victorians through early access to treatments that could one day cure blindness,” Breakthrough Victoria CEO Mr Grant Dooley said.

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