Clinical trials for global coeliac research will be the first project for a new research institute launched in Mackay.

The Coral Sea Clinical Research Institute will conduct clinical trials for US-based pharmaceutical company ImmusanT, which is leading global trials on new coeliac vaccine Nexvax2.

The institute was officially opened on 1 February by ImmusanT CEO Ms Leslie Williams and Innovation Minister Kate Jones.

Minister Jones said that the Queensland trials could benefit millions of coeliacs, and would position the institute to conduct clinical trials for other international research projects.

‘Until now, the only effective treatment for coeliac disease was eliminating gluten from the diet – and that was never foolproof,’ she said.

‘The trials conducted at this institution will advance medical research and help many people worldwide.

‘The Queensland Government contributed $300,000 in seed funding to help establish this facility, and through this support, Queensland is playing a pivotal role in work that will take us a step closer to an effective treatment for coeliac disease.

‘Mackay will be well placed to join other multi-million-dollar global clinical trial programs.’

Dr James Daveson, a specialist in coeliac disease with clinical practices in Brisbane and Mackay, has been appointed Director of the institute and Principal Investigator for the coeliac trials.

Dr Bob Anderson, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer of ImmusanT, who led the development of the vaccine, was also present at the opening of the institute.

Biomedicine is identified as one of Queensland’s emerging export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

With TIQ’s support, Queensland biomedical companies pitched to international investors at the BIO International Convention in Boston last year.

Clinical trial services were also a focus of Trade 2018 business showcases coordinated by TIQ and Queensland Health in conjunction with the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018.