Whiteley Corporation

A novel approach to biofilm disruption and removal

Research partner
University of Sydney

Total Project Value (AUD)
$4,961,273

IMCRC Funding (AUD)
$977,086

Start date
01/04/2018

Duration
4 years

New South Wales-based Whiteley Corporation (Whiteley) is Australia’s largest manufacturer of sterilants, disinfectants and healthcare cleaning technologies.

In 2018, Whiteley, the University of Sydney and IMCRC announced a $5 million-plus manufacturing research partnership for the development of new therapeutic treatments for biofilm mediated infections.

UNSW joined the project in 2020, bolstering the research capacity and significantly increasing the project’s ability to develop and commercialise a series of combination therapies.

For Whiteley’s Executive Chairman, Dr Greg Whiteley, the IMCRC’s project management framework is an exemplar for industry research partnerships.

“We have 30 years’ experience collaborating through a range of different university co-funded grants, so we were already comfortable collaborating in the tertiary institution space,” he said.

“We found the IMCRC’s framework to be highly effective and conducive to engendering collaboration between the partners.”

“The connectivity between the project funding partners works really well.”

“The IMCRC model removed a lot of the normal complexities around the relationship between the industry partner and research institute, which meant everyone was an equal participant and focussed on commercial outcomes from the very beginning,” said Whiteley.

According to Whiteley, another benefit of the IMCRC’s approach was the continuity of maintaining the researchers for the life of the project.

“While many research grant and co-investment programs are short term, one of the strengths of this project is that it has been structured so that our PhD students see the project right through with us, which we believe will ultimately deliver better outcomes for all parties,” said Whiteley.

With Australia’s economy so heavily weighted toward the SME sector, Whiteley believes the accessibility of the IMCRC collaboration model could help to drive the national manufacturing agenda post COVID-19.

“Traditionally, industry research partnerships have been heavily weighted toward the research institution and bogged down in disagreements around IP,” he said.

“If we are to unlock the innovation potential in our manufacturing sector we need to make it easier for SMEs to engage in commercial outcome-focused research with our world-class universities.

“It is critical we not only encourage but facilitate such collaboration as the transformation of our manufacturing sector with industry.”

A novel approach to biofilm disruption and removal

Combination therapy to tackle bacterial biofilms

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The IMCRC’s approach is an innovation pathway that really facilitates collaboration. All parties to the project know their role and responsibilities and we are all singularly focussed on achieving the desired commercial outcomes together.

Dr Greg Whiteley
Executive Chairman, Whiteley Corporation