Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

Agrimin’s $1 million tax rebate

Minerals business Agrimin has announced receipt of a tax refund worth $1.0 million under the Research and Development Tax Incentive program, related to R&D expenditure incurred for the Mackay Potash Project during the year ended June 30, 2023. The refund includes eligible overseas R&D expenditure. Debbie Morrow, Managing Director and CEO of Agrimin. said: “This R&D tax refund is the result of substantial work completed as we continue to progress our engineering for the Mackay Potash Project, particularly in relation to the on-lake civil trial completed in 2H 2022 and our ongoing process test work with specialist vendors. This refund is appreciated support from the Australian Government.”

Victoria tops nation in food and fibre export report

Victoria is the nation’s leading state for food and fibre exports, according to the state’s Food and Fibre Export Performance Report 2022-23. Exports reached a record $19.6 billion in 2022-23, or 24 per cent of the national total. “Thanks to the hard work of Victorian farmers and food and beverage manufacturers,” Victoria’s exports rose by 7 per cent in value over the year, the government said. Grain was the largest export, up 26 per cent to reach $5.6 billion, meat was second largest at $4.5 billion. Other highlights include a 13 per cent increase in horticulture exports and a 12 per cent increase in beverage exports (excluding wine). Exports were up “in the majority of Victoria’s key markets including China and the United States, while also seeing significant market diversification in regions such as Southeast Asia.”

Amplia cleared by FDA for trials

Amplia Therapeutics announced on Thursday that the US FDA has cleared the company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for a trial of the focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitor, narmafotinib, in pancreatic cancer. The proposed trial will explore the safety, tolerability and efficacy of a combination of narmafotinib with the chemotherapy regime FOLFIRINOX, Amplia said. Amplia is currently undertaking a Phase 2a clinical trial of narmafotinib, in combination with the  two chemotherapy drugs gemcitabine and Abraxane® in advanced pancreatic patients in Australia and South Korea. The IND application supports the use of narmafotinib in combination with a different chemotherapy called FOLFIRINOX (a four-drug regimen), which is widely employed in the US for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Amplia CEO and MD Dr Chris Burns said, “We will now start planning the combination trial of narmafotinib with  FOLFIRINOX in the US, which expands the clinical opportunities for our best-in-class FAK inhibitor. FOLFIRINOX is the preferred treatment for pancreatic patients in the USA and most of Europe, and  therefore this combination trial is highly relevant as we position narmafotinib as the preferred drug to enhance the effectiveness of existing chemotherapy combinations in pancreatic cancer.”

House of reps begins EV transition inquiry

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water has commenced an inquiry into the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). Committee chair Tony Zappia said motorists are increasingly choosing EVs when purchasing a new car. “The percentage of EVs sold is growing every year, moving to 7.2 per cent of all new cars sold in 2023 up from less than 3 per cent in 2022,” said Zappia. “The inquiry will consider the necessary resources, systems and infrastructure for this transition and the impacts of moving away from traditional vehicles. The Committee will also explore opportunities such as fuel savings and affordability for residents in outer regions to make this shift beneficial for everyone.” Written submissions are currently being sought for the inquiry, providing recommendations relating to the inquiry’s terms of reference by Friday March 22.

Unemployment unchanged at 3.9 per cent

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 3.9 per cent in December, according to data released on Thursday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). David Taylor, ABS head of labour statistics, said: “With employment dropping by 65,000 people, along with a small fall in the number of unemployed people (1,000), the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.9 per cent in December. The fall in employment in December followed larger than usual employment growth in October and November, a combined increase of 117,000 people, with the employment-to-population ratio and participation rate both at record highs in November.” The seasonally adjusted participation rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 66.8 per cent, back to around the September level. The employment-to-population ratio also fell, down 0.4 percentage points to 64.2 per cent, the lowest employment-to-population ratio since May 2022 though 1.9 percentage points higher than March 2020.

AICRAFT and ResearchSat partner on edge computing for space 

South Australian artificial intelligence company AICRAFT and space biology research company ResearchSat have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the use of edge computing technology to assist with biological and scientific experiments in orbit. The pair said they will cooperate on edge computing modules designed and manufactured by AICRAFT to facilitate onboard data analysis and data reduction of biological experiments conducted by ResearchSat. ResearchSat offers microgravity satellite services for medical and material sciences research to improve development by examining material, chemical and clinical properties with the benefits of being in space. This partnership is important for us to  demonstrate the efficiency of our edge computing module applied to various optical data gathered from biological experiments,” said AICRAFT’s CEO Dr Tony Scoleri. “In-orbit data analysis is crucial to automate task management and reduce the amount of data without compression prior to transmitting down to Earth.Rhythm Biosciences seeks new CEO

ASX-listed medical diagnostics company Rhythm Biosciences is seeking a Chief Executive Officer. The company, which has a primary focus on colorectal cancer detection, has enlisted recruiter Proclinical Executive to help find the new leader of its team. “The ideal candidate will bring a wealth of experience, exemplary leadership skills, and a proven track record of successfully commercialising and launching In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) products” the job ad reads. More on the role can be found here.

Charger company EVOS seeking new staff

Brisbane-based electric vehicle charger business EVOS has announced that it is hiring for six key roles. In a post on Linkedin on Thursday, co-founder and CEO Marcelo Salgado said: “If you’re ready to make a real impact and help accelerate the adoption of EVs, this is a fantastic chance to join our talented team. The roles were listed as Marketing Coordinator, Lead DevOpps Engineer, Lead technical Support Engineer,  Project Coordinator, Firmware Engineer and Office Admin. You can connect with the company on Linkedin here. EVOS was founded by ex-Tritium and Boeing Defence Australia staff, completed a seed funding round in 2021, and announced a $5 million capital raising in mid-2023.

Picture: ResearchSat’s payload for processing biological and material samples and AICRAFT’s edge computing module that will be integrated into the payload. (supplied)



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