Australia’s top scientist takes on top job

Australia’s top scientist takes on top job

News and Articles
Feb 23 2011

Today, the man who is known for one of Australia’s greatest medical achievements – the development of a cervical cancer vaccine – has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Translational Research Institute (TRI) in Brisbane, Queensland.

Professor Ian Frazer, Australian of the Year 2006 and co-inventor of the vaccine, was part of the visionary team that established TRI and will now take up the post of CEO in July 2011.

In his role as CEO, Professor Frazer is charged with leading the $354 million TRI to achieve its mission of being Australia’s first institute, and one of only a few in the world, to research, trial and manufacture breakthrough drugs in the one location, once construction is complete in 2012. The appointment of Professor Frazer as CEO is a key milestone for the TRI and is significant in that the research for the cervical cancer vaccine — sold worldwide under the brand names Gardasil and Cervarix — all took place in Queensland.

Professor Frazer said that he was very pleased to accept the appointment and was excited about the discoveries and advances in medical research that TRI would make.

“There are a number of pressing human health issues in the world such as diabetes, cervical and prostate cancer, melanoma and obesity, and I am honoured to be leading TRI in researching and developing treatments for these diseases. Importantly, patients, the Australian economy and our medical industry will all benefit from TRI’s ability to manufacture and commercialise these treatments,” Professor Frazer said.

“Too often, Australia loses promising medical scientists to overseas institutions as we are not able currently to support the development of new medical treatments and their translation from research to clinical practice. The TRI will change all of this, resulting in the retention of our brightest minds and therefore better health care for all Australians.

“If the TRI and its manufacturing capabilities had been established at the time of the development of Gardasil and Cervarix, much more of the economic benefit from its $5 billion plus of worldwide sales would have returned to the State.”

Chairman of the TRI, Dr David Watson said that appointing the right person was crucial for the TRI as the CEO was the key driver of the vision to create an Australian-first home for medical research, clinical trials and treatment commercialisation.

“The Board is delighted that Professor Frazer has accepted the position of CEO, as he played a large role in the development of the TRI vision and he is the best person to take it forward into reality,” Dr Watson said.

The TRI will accommodate up to 650 researchers from the four TRI partners: the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Mater Medical Research Institute and the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

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