World-leading health researchers launch new Adelaide sites

Two medical facilities fighting cancer and chronic diseases officially opened sites in Adelaide’s CBD last week, with one having left the state government’s Thebarton bioscience hub which was shut down for the South Rd upgrade.

Nov 10, 2023, updated Nov 13, 2023
Federal Health Minister Mark Butler (left) and SA Health Minister Chris Picton mark the opening of BiomeBank's new city laboratory. Photo: supplied

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler (left) and SA Health Minister Chris Picton mark the opening of BiomeBank's new city laboratory. Photo: supplied

The GenesisCare cancer care centre was opened as part of a new $80 million precinct near St Andrew’s Hospital, while BiomeBank’s state-of-the-art “poo bank”, focused on microbiome-based therapy, moved from Thebarton to the North Terrace medical research precinct.

BiomeBank’s former home is now being “repurposed” due to work on the North South Corridor closing laboratories at the $12m bioscience incubator opened by former Labor Premier Mike Rann in 2008 to accelerate the commercialisation of South Australian research and development.

Last week, Health Minister Chris Picton joined federal Health Minister Mark Butler in launching the new BiomeBank Good Manufacturing Practice manufacturing facility in Adelaide’s North Terrace biomedical precinct.

The purpose-built facility is expected to help scale up BiomeBank’s breakthrough cultured microbiome to meet global demand for the company’s approved donor-derived microbiome drug product. 

Its development follows the company’s global regulatory approval and $10 million capital raise in October last year. The business was established in 2018 and has grown its staff to 32.

BiomeBank was founded by gastroenterologists Dr Sam Costello, Associate Prof Rob Bryant, infectious diseases physician Dr Emily Tucker and microbiome scientist Dr Sam Forster in collaboration with The Hospital Research Foundation.

BiomeBank’s co-founder and chief executive officer Costello said the new facility would help the company further develop and scale up its Consortiome TM, an artificial cultured version of healthy human gut microbiota created in a bioreactor.

“This breakthrough technology has the potential to provide broad replacement of human gut microbes at scale to treat a number of common diseases,” Costello said.

“Our first therapy developed from this platform will enter clinical trials for patients with ulcerative colitis in 2024. Having the right tools and environment to continue developing our therapies has been critical for us to fulfil our mission to develop therapies to restore human gut microbial ecology.”

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Dr Sam Costello from BiomeBank in Adelaide. Photo: Belinda Willis/InDaily

On South Terrace, two 1800-tonne steel insulated radiation bunkers offering modern radiation therapy technology are now based at the new GenesisCare cancer care centre.

They are the first radiational therapy bunkers in the state to be established above ground, with such facilities usually located in hospital basements.

The centre is part of a St Andrew’s Hospital cancer care precinct designed to support patients in accessing radiation therapy services and treatment for most cancer types including imaging, surgery, access to clinical trials for appropriate patients and wellness services, under one roof.

“The new cancer care centre offers more South Australians access to personalised treatments in one location,” GenesisCare SA senior radiation oncologist Dr Marcus Dreosti said.

“Once the precinct is fully operational it will also offer holistic support throughout all stage of the cancer journey.”

Picton said the centre will house a variety of providers and will support the public health system and that “it’s great to have a cutting-edge cancer centre like this that will provide a high quality of care for South Australians who are living with cancer”.

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