In 2015/16, CSL invested US$614 million in R&D efforts across our businesses. During the reporting year, we achieved 24 product registrations or new indications for serious diseases.
Major highlights included registration in the US and European markets of IDELVION®, our long-acting fusion protein linking recombinant coagulation factor IX with recombinant albumin, for the treatment of haemophilia B, and registration in the US of AFSTYLA®, our novel factor VIII single chain, indicated for adolescents and adults with haemophilia A. In addition, Seqirus registered five differentiated influenza vaccine products in various markets.
For our early stage activities focused on innovative new therapies for life-threatening diseases, our R&D engine remains strong. Data from the completed CSL112 Phase IIb study for patients who experienced an acute myocardial infarction (or heart attack) was analysed and presented at the American Heart Association conference in November 2016.
Other innovations, from our research portfolio and supported by CSL's biotech capabilities, include the commencement of a first in human study to evaluate the use of CSL324, a human antibody that neutralises G-CSF activity for the treatment of inflammatory diseases associated with neutrophil infiltration, such as rheumatoid arthritis and acute respiratory disease syndrome.
Janssen Biotech, our partner in CSL362, is continuing a Phase II study for patients with acute myeloid leukaemia while commencing an exploratory study to evaluate the use of CSL362 in systemic lupus erythematosus (an autoimmune disease).
CSL and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) Berghofer, in Australia, have established a new five-year strategic R&D partnership to help turn the medical research institute's scientific discoveries into innovative new medical products or technologies.
In honour of CSL's 100th anniversary, we have established a new flagship A$25 million fellowship program for discovery stage and translational research in Australia. Two five-year Fellowships, each valued at A$1.25 million, will be awarded each calendar year, for 10 years.
Collaboration supporting the innovation process
As part of the five-year agreement between the two organisations, CSL will advise and support QIMR Berghofer on the key steps that need to be taken to commercialise its research, and the commercial opportunities that exist in promising research. CSL's input and expert advice will support the translation of QIMR Berghofer's research, and will help to ensure these projects answer the critical commercial questions, accelerating their path towards commercialisation.
CSL is making this contribution as part of our ongoing support of research translation in Australia.
In addition, CSL will be an inaugural partner of the new Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Biopharmaceutical Innovation (CBI) to be established at the University of Queensland.
The CBI is to be an industry–academia partnership specifically designed to train industry-ready research scientists. It is intended that graduates of the program will have practical work experience and an improved understanding of R&D in a commercial environment. The CBI will operate out of the University's Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, and involve the Institute of Molecular Bioscience, the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences and the School of Chemical Engineering. By leveraging off collaborations with universities, competitors and other industries, the benefit of Australian innovations will be maximised.
The CBI is an ideal mechanism in which to progress these collaborative projects which are of direct interest to CSL but nevertheless at an early stage and quite innovative and challenging, and to support the next generation of medical researchers and industryready scientists in Australia.
Research activities will include the development of technologies to expand the range of protein-based therapeutics for human use and improve understanding of protein expression technologies, helping to improve efficiency and yield.
These initiatives, along with CSL's flagship A$25 million fellowship program, will help to fuel innovation in the decades to come.