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News & Trends - Biotechnology

$12 million funding fuels biotech breakthroughs, expands scope to medtech and digital health innovations

Health Industry Hub | May 31, 2023 |

Biotech News: Australia’s leading biotech incubator has just made an exciting announcement that is set to make waves in the health industry. In its second round of funding, the incubator is awarding an impressive $12 million to 19 innovative projects. These projects are specifically targeted at addressing some of the most pressing health challenges, including revolutionary advances in the treatment of lupus, motor neurone disease, brain and ovarian cancer, as well as inflammatory bowel disease.

CUREator’s support is made possible through an initial $40 million funding injection from the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and an additional $3 million from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. Established by Brandon Capital in 2021, CUREator aims to bridge the critical gap between research grant funding and commercial investment, propelling projects toward real-world impact.

Among the fortunate recipients of CUREator’s latest funding round is GILZRx, an early-stage biotechnology company based at Monash University. GILZRx is dedicated to developing a groundbreaking approach to treating inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as lupus. The company has received a significant portion of the funding, $6 million, in the pre-clinical stage to advance their research and establish proof of concept.

Dr Sarah Jones, part of the GILZRx team, expressed her excitement, stating, “Receiving this funding is a crucial milestone for us. It enables us to take our research to the next level and validates the potential of our work. Ultimately, our goal is to take our research out of the lab and make a tangible impact in people’s lives, and this funding is the first step towards achieving that.”

Dr Chris Nave, CEO of Brandon BioCatalyst, highlighted the transformative nature of the CUREator program, revolutionising grant funding in Australia by prioritising outcomes with a commercial lens. The program functions like an investor, delivering focused funding and providing hands-on support, access to expertise, and valuable networks to accelerate key development milestones.

Dr Amanda Vrselja, Program Head of CUREator, highlighted the overwhelming response from researchers across the country, further underscoring the vital role that this funding gap fills. However, Dr Vrselja stressed the need for continued support from the government to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of the program, as well as the ability to sustain the progress made in developing these exciting therapies.

In addition to supporting pre-clinical projects, CUREator’s second funding round also allocates $3 million to advance the clinical development of novel drug therapies that have reached the clinical stage. One notable recipient is Cyteph from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, which is conducting a phase one clinical study on a promising T-cell therapy for the treatment of brain cancer.

Professor Rajiv Khanna, from Cyteph, expressed his enthusiasm for being selected by CUREator, highlighting the crucial support and expertise the program provides. Prof. Khanna stressed how this backing would assist them in their phase one study, testing the safety and efficacy of their novel therapy for recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme, a severe form of brain cancer. He believes that their research discovery, coupled with CUREator’s support, will increase the likelihood of securing additional funding in the future.

Moreover, CSIRO’s initial contribution of $3 million to CUREator’s second round has facilitated the development of health security technologies, safeguarding against pandemics and emerging infectious diseases. In the upcoming third round, CSIRO will continue its support by providing an additional $3 million of funding through CUREator, specifically for commercially-oriented projects aiming to minimise antimicrobial resistance.

Building on their success, Brandon BioCatalyst in partnership with ANDHealth, has recently received a remarkable $50 million grant from the MRFF to administer the BioMedTech Incubator (BMTI) program through CUREator. This significant funding boost will expand CUREator’s scope of support to include medtech and digital health, in addition to therapeutics development. With this development, CUREator’s total funds under management skyrocket to an impressive $96 million. The official launch of the BMTI program is scheduled for later this year, marking a new chapter in Australia’s biomedical and healthcare innovation.

With its second round of funding, CUREator is not only providing much-needed financial support to these cutting-edge projects, but it is also validating their potential to revolutionise healthcare and improve patient outcomes on a global scale. As the incubator continues to bridge the funding gap between research and commercialisation, it is poised to shape the future of biotechnology in Australia and make a significant impact in global health.

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