MEDIA RELEASE - 27th July 2023
Pioneering national genomics initiative gives 23,000 Australians
their best fighting chance against the toughest cancers
- Accelerated access to the most advanced cancer fighting tools – genomic profiling and matching to precision clinical trials
- Forms a national collaboration of our best and brightest cancer teams to build new treatment pathways
- Boosts our sovereign genomics capabilities through networks, infrastructure and creating 650 skilled jobs
[Sydney, Australia] – The nation’s largest cancer genomics* initiative, known as PrOSPeCT (Precision Oncology Screening Platform Enabling Clinical Trials), formally launches today, bringing a new era of hope and the ability to save or extend the lives of thousands of Australians battling incurable or advanced cancers including ovarian, pancreatic and sarcomas.
Over the next two years, PrOSPeCT will give 23,000 Australians, facing the fight of their lives, free access to world-class genomic profiling, clinical assessment of their results by an expert team and matching to the best advanced precision (‘personalised’) treatments available locally, including early-stage clinical trials.
Led by not-for-profit cancer genomics pioneer Omico, PrOSPeCT harnesses the combined expertise and resources of cancer research centres and diagnostic and treatment services around the country forming a powerful collaboration and setting up new treatment pathways for the community.
PrOSPeCT is being powered by public and private funds totalling $185M, including grant funding of $61.2M from the Australian Federal Government (as part of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy), $25M from the NSW Government, and a commercial collaboration between Omico, the National Computational Infrastructure at Australian National University, Children’s Cancer Institute and Roche Australia.
It will be officially launched today at UNSW’s Michael Crouch Innovation Centre by the Hon Emma McBride MP, Assistant Federal Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention and, Assistant Federal Minister for Rural and Regional Health and the Hon Ryan Park MP, NSW Minister for Health.
Omico, which is spear heading the PrOSPeCT initiative, will partner with UNSW Sydney’s newly created Centre for Molecular Oncology (CMO), which will be led by Professor David Thomas, oncologist and Founder and CEO of Omico.
“Based on science, ‘precision oncology’ harnesses genomics to apply highly specific and effective precision treatments to take on the most challenging cancers. It’s the front line of advanced treatments and through PrOSPeCT we can offer precision oncology nationally to all who may benefit,” says Professor David Thomas, CEO of Omico, Director, Centre of Molecular Oncology, UNSW Sydney and Head, Genomic Cancer Medicine, Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
“PrOSPeCT is set not only to transform access to advanced treatments, for those who desperately need them, it will also unify an extensive national cancer network while building our capabilities, infrastructure and skills in cancer research and care. It will place Australia firmly on the global stage, in this rapidly evolving area, setting benchmarks to bring genomics to large numbers of patients,” he added.
It is anticipated, the PrOSPeCT initiative will lead to an estimated 650 high-skilled local jobs, $525M investment in local clinical trials and $135M in savings to the health system through access to innovative therapies via clinical trials. In addition, the network will provide a platform for interstate collaboration and accelerate set-up and completion of clinical trials for adults and children with cancer – a major drawcard for new international investment in the Australian medical research sector.
“Around one person every 10 minutes – or 150 every day – are diagnosed with a rare or less common cancer, which is the beginning of an incredibly challenging journey for them and their family,” says Christine Cockburn, General Manager, Rare Cancers Australia.
“PrOSPeCT brings a nationally coordinated approach at scale to the community that will deliver free genomic profiling of an eligible person’s tumour, no matter where they live, and quickly identify potential matches to new treatments and trials. From genomic screening, more than a third (38%) of patients will receive guidance on new targeted treatments relevant to them, giving the potential to significantly extend lives.”
Over 10 years, PrOSPeCT will also build a real-world biodata platform of 70,000 profiles, yielding valuable long-term scientific evidence to shape future cancer treatment and research. This database will be accessible to researchers both locally and overseas, and is anticipated to attract interest and clinical trial investment from the international pharmaceutical and biotech sector.
“Healthcare is complex, and no-one can solve it alone,” adds Stuart Knight, General Manager, Roche Products Australia, a founding diagnostic and pharmaceutical partner that has invested $20M in PrOSPeCT. “To foster improved outcomes for cancer patients, it is vital for all stakeholders to embrace collaboration. Recognising the value of working together, companies like Roche prioritise collaborative efforts to drive advancements in cancer treatment. The coordinated approach of PrOSPeCT will set new benchmarks for a more connected, modernised system, and Roche is committed to doing our part.”
*Genomics is the complex science of mapping all or part of a person’s unique sequence of DNA (the human genome was only fully mapped 20 years ago in 2003). Cancer is caused by alterations in DNA that can be identified and targeted through personalised or ‘precision’ cancer medicine.
Quotes attributable to the Hon Emma McBride MP:
“Making sure all Australians have access to affordable care is a top priority for the Commonwealth Government.”
“We are proud to support PrOSPeCT, which will give 23,000 Australians, with incurable or advanced cancers, access to genomic screening, at no cost to them – and then link them to the latest local trials, including advanced medicines.”
“PrOSPeCT is also a great demonstration of our commitment to building an internationally recognised Australian medical products sector, while providing care to Australians who need it the most.”
Notes for editors:
More about PrOSPeCT
PrOSPeCT is funded by the Australian Government with a $61.2M grant as part of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy, NSW Government with $25M and a commercial collaboration between Omico, the National Computational Infrastructure at Australian National University, Children’s Cancer Institute and Roche Australia.
The initiative builds on the success of Omico’s Molecular Screening and Therapeutics (MoST) study which has recruited over 6,000 advanced cancer patients in the past five years. MoST was supported by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of Sydney NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre.
PrOSPeCT is also supported by Bayer Australia, Bioplatforms Australia, Elevation Oncology, George Clinical, Illumina Australia, Microba, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Praxis Australia, Quantium Health, Sonic Healthcare, Southern Star Research, and Syntro Health. For a full list of cancer treatment and research centres in the Omico network, visit: https://www.omico.com.au/about-us/our-network-partners/
More about Omico
Omico (www.omico.com.au) is a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation leading the use of ‘precision oncology’ to turn the tide on advanced and incurable cancers in Australia. The unique Omico network of researchers, clinicians, hospitals and industry partners is accelerating community access to the latest developments - genomic sequencing and next-generation treatments.
Omico is truly a nation-wide organisation and is proud that every state and territory is represented by its Members and Participants, as follows:
- Linear Clinical Research Limited (WA)
- Central Adelaide Local Health District (SA)
- Northern Territory of Australia (NT)
- Department of Health, The State of Tasmania (Tas)
- Garvan Institute of Medical Research (NSW)
- The University of Sydney represented by NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre (NSW)
- The Australian Capital Territory represented by ACT Health (ACT)
- Metro South Hospital and Health Services, represented by Princess Alexandra Hospital (QLD)
- Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute (VIC)
Omico extends thanks to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of Sydney for their support for Omico to date.
Omico and UNSW
Omico’s home is at UNSW Sydney, Kensington Campus. Omico will partner with UNSW Sydney’s newly created Centre for Molecular Oncology (CMO), which will be led by Professor David Thomas, oncologist and Founder and CEO of Omico. The CMO will work with Omico to deliver the national precision oncology program. Combined with the Zero Childhood Cancer precision medicine program at UNSW, this further establishes UNSW as the hub of the national precision oncology system.
Issued on behalf of Omico by Cube. For more information, contact: Anne-Marie Sparrow, 0417 421 560 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Nicole Birch, 0423 916 330 / email@example.com