An idea for an osteoarthritis drug that targets cartilage degradation has won Murdoch Children's Research Institute's (MCRI) Dr Hansen Kosasih a pitch competition. 

Dr Kosasih has been selected as one of four winners of​ the Bridge Program pitch competition announced at the program's 2020 Symposium.

The Bridge Program supports researchers and entrepreneurs to enhance their skills and build networks to help them successfully commercialise new pharmaceuticals.  

Dr Kosasih said the idea for the fictional osteoarthritis drug was based on his PhD research work with the Arthritis Research Group at MCRI.

"My main project was to investigate the mode of action of the main enzyme involved in cartilage degradation, called ADAMTS-5," he said. 

"I was not aware of the commercial potential of my project. But through the Bridge Program, I realised that it might have been possible for the basic research that I did to have a more translational impact." 

For the competition, participants submitted a two minute video pitching a real or fictional technology that had commercial opportunity. The winners receive a $10,000 travel scholarship, which will allow them to tour the US headquarters of pharmaceutical companies and program consortium partners AbbVie, Amgen, Merck and Novartis.

Dr Kosasih said during this era of personalised medicine it was more crucial than ever for researchers to be aware of their translational research potential and how to deliver it from bench to bedside. 

"The travel scholarship will be very valuable to me as it will help me better understand the inner workings of these major pharmaceutical companies," he said.

"This will help me identify projects in our research group and collaboration network that are potentially suitable for research commercialisation. 

"I also hope to establish key connections with these companies that might support my current research in childhood leukaemia, as one of my projects is to investigate new combination therapies for high-risk T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL)."