Promising drug targets to be identified by game-changing technology at MIPS Australia

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Drug Discovery
© Drug Discovery

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An exciting new instrument that will help identify promising drug targets for academia and the pharma industry has been unveiled in Australia by The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS).

The Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Astral Mass Spectrometer (MS) will be located at MIPS in Parkville and is the second to be installed in Australia and the first to be stationed within an academic institution. 

The new instrument provides faster throughput, higher sensitivity, and deeper coverage when studying the proteome to identify proteins previously undetectable, therefore accelerating scientific discoveries with greater efficiency. 

It will form the basis for the recently established Drug Target Identification Platform (DTIP) led by associate professor Darren Creek from MIPS and funded through a $3 million grant from the Commonwealth Government’s Medical Research Future Fund.  

Urgent unmet need

MIPS has identified an urgent unmet need for target identification capabilities to support Australia’s drug discovery pipeline. It says many promising biomedical discoveries fail to progress to clinical therapeutics due to poor efficacy – often underpinned by a lack of understanding about their mechanism of action.

Creek said: “Our primary objective is to establish a dedicated platform based on state-of-the-art omics technologies to support the Australian drug discovery community and provide an efficient and unbiased avenue to identify drug targets and biomarkers. 

“The Orbitrap Astral MS will allow us to detect more proteins at a much faster rate and with more accuracy than what was previously possible. In a nutshell, it will enable us to dramatically expand the scale and scope of our experiments and, ultimately, help to provide an efficient avenue to identify drug targets for a broad range of diseases.” 

Truly game-changing technology

Thermo Fisher Scientific’s vice president and general manager for Australia and New Zealand,

Domenic Stranieri said: “This truly game-changing technology represents a significant step forward in scalability, speed, sensitivity, and accuracy, and the team at MIPS is now at the cutting edge of target discovery.” 

“It’s a truly exciting time for discovery and translational research and we are thrilled to support the team as it embarks on this new frontier.”

The DTIP project is being led by MIPS in collaboration with Monash’s Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Griffith University, Australian National University, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Centre for Cancer Biology (University of South Australia), BioCurate, Canthera, BioIVT and the Children’s Cancer Institute (University of New South Wales). 

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