IMB partners with industry to develop new pharmaceuticals and solar fuels

8 Jul 2015

Two IMB researchers are teaming with industry partners to develop new pharmaceuticals and solar fuels with support from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Professor Kirill Alexandrov and drug discovery company Phylogica Ltd received a $670,242 ARC Linkage grant to develop technology for producing peptide-based pharmaceuticals.

Peptides are short chains of amino acids found in nature that can have a therapeutic effect on humans but are often unsuitable for use in drugs due to their instability.

“We will use this funding to develop new technology to produce pharmacologically active cyclic peptides that are more stable and active than those found in nature,” Professor Alexandrov said.

“These peptides would have a variety of uses, for example, as the basis for new pharmaceuticals to treat unmet medical needs, for example, new antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs.”


Professor Ben Hankamer was awarded a $340,000 ARC Linkage grant to work with engineering and construction firm Kellogg Brown & Root Pty Ltd and renewable energy company Muradel Pty Ltd to develop products from algae.

"We have designed systems that use solar energy to produce renewable fuels and other high-value products from algae," Professor Hankamer said.

"But for these products to be cost-effective, we need to better capture and distribute sunlight through these systems.

"This funding will allow us to optimise the delivery of light into these systems, enabling the affordable production of fuels, clean water and animal feeds."

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the grants supported UQ’s goals of connecting research even better with industry and reflected The University’s strong growth in industry-sponsored income for research in 2013 and 2014.

“UQ’s strategic goal to double its $100 million per annum income from ‘industry’ over seven years appears feasible,” he said.

“Our world-class researchers have come up with innovative answers to a range of issues affecting the global population.


“The key is translating these findings into achievable, practical solutions that benefit industry, society and the environment, taking excellence to excellence-plus.”

Media: IMB Communications, 07 3346 2134 or 0418 575 247,

Read Phylogica's announcement here.