From Australia, new $173M research center strives to be at the forefront of pandemic drug discovery

In the battle against Covid-19, vaccines came much earlier than therapeutics. A new research institution in Melbourne wants to change that.

Geoffrey Cumming, a Canadian-born oil and gas businessman, donated AUD $250 million ($173.63 million) to establish the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics — whose mandate is to fund “an ambitious research program focusing on treatments that can be rapidly adapted after a new virus is identified.”

It is among a growing group of initiatives, including one backed by the Gates Foundation and Novo Nordisk as well as grants from the NIH, to put an emphasis on antivirals as a crucial weapon for future pandemics — and to prepare for them.

Leaders said they hope to attract a host of researchers to the center who can work on molecular platforms and computational techniques to develop new drugs at top speed.

Duncan Maskell

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