15 December 2005

Some of Australia`s leading scientists believe that milk may produce valuable new products with nutriceutical, pharmaceutical and agrochemical potential.

The University of Queensland`s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) and the Sydney-based Australian R&D company, Microbial Screening Technologies (MST) have teamed up with MG Nutritionals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Australia’s largest dairy co-operative, Murray Goulburn Cooperative Co Ltd for the search for unique biologically active compounds (bioactives) in milk.

Murray Goulburn Co-operative was formed in 1950 and has grown to become the largest processor of milk in Australia and the nation’s largest exporter of processed food.

IMBcom Pty Ltd, the University’s commercialisation company for the IMB, has signed this new collaborative research agreement with MG Nutritionals to harness the bioactives of milk in what should be a major step forward in Australian biodiscovery.

CEO of IMBcom Dr Peter Isdale said the agreement set the foundation for the discovery of new bioactives.

He said the Institute had Australia`s largest and best-equipped laboratory to discover and develop drugs from any source - including milk.

By combining forces, the IMB and MST have established a body of expertise and infrastructure in microbiology, chemistry, molecular biology with the largest processor of milk in Australia, Murray Goulburn. This collaboration is geared towards discovering the next generation pharmaceuticals, nutriceuticals and agrochemicals.

The General Manager of MG Nutritionals, Peter Hobman, said that this alliance provided MG Nutritionals access to world class expertise in the biodiscovery field.

“Milk is a rich source of unique and complex biological molecules and we believe it has the potential to stimulate microbial metabolism, thereby allowing access to unexplored bioactive molecular structures," he said.

MG Nutritionals was formed in 2002 to provide strategic direction and accelerate developments in the rapidly expanding business of specialised proteins and nutritional supplements.

Professor John Mattick, the Director of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience said that this collaboration was another example of the strong links IMB had with industry.

“This strategic national alliance builds on the potential, capacity and strengths of the IMB as an internationally competitive research organization meeting the industry demand for commercially driven relevant outcomes,” he said.

Peter Hobman, GM, MG Nutritionals Ph: 03 9389 6413

Peter Isdale, CEO, IMBcom Ph: 07 3346 2180