Professors John Seymour and Andrew Roberts are joint recipients of the 2020 Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence, recognising their Melbourne-led development of a blood cancer drug now used around the world.

Prof Seymour is a clinical haematologist and Director of the integrated Haematology Department spanning Peter Mac and the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Prof Roberts is Metcalf Chair of Leukaemia Research at the University of Melbourne, a clinical haematologist at Peter Mac and Royal Melbourne Hospital and joint leader of blood cancer research at the Walter and Eliza Hall institute for Medical Research.

The $50K prize recognises both for their research, and clinical trials, which demonstrated the efficacy of the drug venetoclax in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

This drug – also based on discoveries in Melbourne - is now the gold-standard in certain blood cancers and more than 200 studies are underway globally to further explore its potential and in combination with existing treatments.

Prof Roberts says: “The most rewarding aspect of our research is seeing the patients who are benefiting from having this drug available. The support of the Ramaciotti Awards to further our research is wonderful”.

Prof Seymour adds: “Venetoclax has a distinctly Melbourne story – from basic research to clinical trials all conducted or led from here – and so this award for excellence also speaks to the world-class people and capability within this city, and the strength of collaboration in the Parkville biomedical precinct”.

“Andrew and I deeply thank the Ramaciotti Foundations for this recognition, and we look forward to what’s possible in the next exciting phase of this research which is having a global impact in blood cancer.”

The Ramaciotti Foundations this year celebrates 50 years of supporting biomedical research in Australia – and has granted over $62.5 million to research projects since 1970. Read more about the 2020 Ramaciotti Awards for Biomedical Research.