Medicinal Agriculture

The ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Medicinal Agriculture (ARC MedAg Hub) is the first of several of our Institute's initiatives. The 5 year $24+ million Hub will:

  • combine extensive research and industry expertise
  • create new jobs
  • drive better health outcomes.

This Hub's headquarters is located in La Trobe University's AgriBio Building. The Hub comprises a multidisciplinary team of university and institute researchers from the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and the University of Melbourne. It also works with existing and new industry partners including:

  • Cann Group Ltd
  • Hexima
  • PSI
  • SensaData
  • UTT BioPharma
  • PARC
  • Bioplatforms Australia.

In collaboration with industry, the Hub addresses cultivation, germplasm generation, phenotyping, multi-omics, novel extraction technologies and chemistries, through to the discovery and functional characterisation of novel lead compounds, metabolites (cannabinoids and terpenes) and peptides.

The resulting knowledge will be relevant for related industries. It will help to build the specialised workforce needed to underpin Australia’s developing medicinal agriculture industry.

The challenge

More research on plant varieties, commercial cultivation practices and extraction techniques used to identify active compounds for the formulation of therapeutics is required.

Our mission

To transform the production of high-quality plant-derived therapeutics into an integrated, national industry that spans primary producers and manufacturers.

Our research initiatives

Improving the profitability and sustainability of medicinal agriculture

Increasing the yield and profile of desired active compounds and their responses to abiotic and biotic stresses by improving agronomy and applying phenomics (e.g. hyperspectral imaging) and genetics to germplasm improvement.

Adding value for pharmaceutical manufacturers and end-users

Developing and applying novel extraction technologies and enrichment of active pharmaceutical ingredients from plants to add value to plant-derived therapeutics. The application of high-throughput bioprospecting screening platforms will be utilised to identify novel plant-derived compounds as a prospective source of new therapeutics.

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