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Australia Invests A$500M in Medical Genomics Research to Improve Patient Care

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Australian government has announced that it will invest A$500 million (US$372 million) in genomics as part of its 2018-2019 Health Budget.

Known as the Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission, the program is part of a broader A$1.3 billion national Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan aimed at improving health outcomes of more than 200,000 Australians, according to Australia Minister for Health Greg Hunt.

The mission will include a series of studies to tackle rare diseases and cancers, clinical trials to allow patients early access to test drugs, co-investing with philanthropic and business interests, and a community dialogue to understand the privacy, legal, social, and familial impacts of genomic medicine.

The mission's first genomics project — known as Mackenzie's Mission — will use A$20 million for a preconception screening trial for rare and debilitating birth disorders, including spinal muscular atrophy, fragile X syndrome, and cystic fibrosis.

According to Hunt, the government will also use A$240 million to form the Frontier Science program, which will develop new medical ideas, research, devices, and treatments. In addition, it will establish the A$125 million Targeted Translation Research Accelerator to focus on diabetes and cardiac disease.