Medical research to benefit from Morningside Ventures appointment

Australia’s medical research sector will benefit from the appointment of Hudson Institute inflammation scientist Associate Professor Ashley Mansell to global firm Morningside BioPharma Advisory, a subsidiary of Morningside Ventures.

Associate Professor Ashley Mansell, Hudson Institute, Morningside BioPharma Advisory
Associate Professor Ashley Mansell

A/Prof Mansell has accepted the role of Senior Director of Research and Development with the company, a technology and life science venture investment firm with offices in Boston, London and Shanghai.

A/Prof Mansell will continue his inflammation and COVID-19 research at Hudson Institute while performing the new role as Morningside’s research leader and Australian representative, interacting with the company’s local investments and potentially identifying new research with commercial potential.

Morningside’s research investment combined with their international contacts provides an excellent model of an academic and industry partnership,” A/Prof Mansell said. “The arrangement enables the incubation and translation of research from the laboratory to patients, while also investing in the development of students and staff.”

The appointment builds on a relationship between Morningside and Hudson Institute formed in early 2017, and has been expanding year on year since.

Hudson Institute in partnership with Morningside recently launched another spin-out company, Epsila Bio, to progress ovarian cancer research into clinical trials.

A/Prof Mansell’s research at Hudson Institute has included developing novel anti-inflammatory therapies for lung infections and inflammation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgency around this type of research to find new treatments for patients with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and in preparedness for future, inevitable pandemics.

“Currently, we have no vaccine, and next to no treatments for further pandemics,” A/Prof Mansell said.

“We are endeavouring to develop anti-inflammatories that could be used to treat people with pulmonary (lung) inflammation, and to treat multiple lung infectious diseases such as influenza or SARS CoV2 to improve the lives of patients’ if these outbreaks continue.”

“COVID has highlighted our unpreparedness for pandemics, with the potentially even larger threat looming of a pandemic influenza virus outbreak – which could be much, much worse.”

“While thankfully not able to transmit between humans currently, the H7N9 avian influenza strain has a mortality rate higher than 40 per cent.”

A/Prof Mansell will continue to examine the molecular mechanisms underlying lung inflammation with influenza expert A/Prof Michelle Tate, and explore new areas of research into innate immune immunometabolism with Dr Dan Gough, a Hudson Institute cancer researcher.

Meanwhile, training and internship opportunities are being explored for the Institute’s PhD students in conjunction with Morningside. This would enable students to develop the commercial and translational aspects of academic research, and provide a richer training experience.

Morningside Biopharma Advisory (MBA) is a biopharmaceutical incubator that brings innovative therapies rapidly to market by building a portfolio of companies around prototype assets focused on infection, immunity, and inflammation. MBA is backed by Morningside Ventures, who have an established an enviable reputation over its several decades of existence as an independently-minded, science-focused, life sciences investor. During the past several years, Morningside has advanced some of its portfolio build through the shared services of MBA under the leadership of its internal team of highly experienced biopharma executives and entrepreneurs.

Morningside Ventures is a technology and life science venture investment firm founded in 1986 by the Chan family. With offices in Boston, Shanghai and London, the firm invests globally. Its portfolio emphasises spin-outs from research institutions. In 2014, the founders of Morningside made a gift to Harvard University which renamed its public health school the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. To learn more, visit www.morningside.com.

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