The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) is Australia’s longest serving
medical research institute. WEHI’s High Throughput Screening (HTS) Facility was established in 2003
with $5 million of infrastructure funds invested by WEHI, and the Victorian State Government’s Strategic
Technology Initiative through Bio21 Australia Ltd. The Facility was Australia’s first truly academic HTS
facility and was one of only a handful operating in publicly funded institutions worldwide at that time. The
objectives were to provide access to enabling HTS technologies, such as assay design, liquid handling
automation, compound libraries and expertise to promote translation of basic research in a national setting
that has a relatively young biotech sector and does not have a big Pharma research presence. Ten years on
and the WEHI HTS Facility has participated in over 92 collaborative projects, generated over 18 million
data points, and most importantly, projects that began in the Facility have been commercialized successfully (due to strong ties with
Business Development and emphasis on intellectual property management) and now have molecules progressing in clinical trials.
Keywords: Academic, cancer, chemical libraries, HTS, malaria, therapeutics, trypanosomiasis.
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