CUREator, Australia’s national biotech incubator, today announces its second round of funding, awarding $12 million to 19 projects targeting global health challenges including advances in treatment for lupus, motor neurone disease, brain and ovarian cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease.
CUREator is delivered through an initial $40m in funding from the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and $3m CSIRO, from Australia’s national science agency. CUREator was established by Brandon Capital in 2021 as a new approach for bridging the gap between where research grant funding ends and commercial investment begins.
GILZRx, an early-stage biotechnology company, based at Monash University, is one of 12 companies that have received funding as part of CUREator’s latest $6m pre-clinical funding stream round. GILZRx is developing a novel approach for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases including lupus.
Projects in the pre-clinical stream are highly novel and are in the early stages of establishing proof of concept. CUREator funding paves the way for further investment which will advance the research into therapies with the potential to have global health impacts.
“Receiving this funding is a crucial milestone for us. It enables us to take our research to the next level and validates the groundbreaking 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,” says Dr Sarah Jones of GILZRx.
CEO of Brandon BioCatalyst, Dr Chris Nave says the CUREator program has revealed the strength of translational research being conducted in Australia.
“CUREator with support from the Federal Government is revolutionising how grant funding is given in Australia by prioritising outcomes with a commercial lens. The incubator delivers focused funding like an investor and is designed to achieve key development milestones with hands on support and access to expertise and networks.”
The number of high calibre projects submitted from across the nation to our incubator demonstrates the need for this missing link in funding says Dr Amanda Vrselja, Program Head of CUREator.
“To continue to support the research translational infrastructure, CUREator must be a long-term strategy with further support from the Federal Government. The program has supported more than 40 Australian projects so far and is building momentum within the ecosystem, but ensuring a funding pathway to support these exciting therapies beyond this translationally focussed funding is crucial.” Dr Vrselja continues.
Round two of CUREator also provides $3m to progress the clinical development of novel, clinical-stage drug therapies to improve patient outcomes. Cyteph from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute is one of two companies to receive this stream of funding for their phase one clinical study validating a novel T-cell therapy for the treatment of brain cancer.
“We are thrilled to be selected for CUREator, not only for the funding but for the support and expertise the program also provides. This support will assist us as we progress in our phase 1 study testing the safety and efficacy of our novel therapy for the treatment of recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme, a severe form of brain cancer. Our novel research discovery, combined with the support of CUREator, increases the likelihood of Cyteph securing additional funding in the future,” says Prof. Rajiv Khanna.
CSIRO’s initial funding contribution of $3m to CUREator’s second round has supported five companies to develop technologies focussed on bolstering Australia’s health security and safeguarding against pandemics and emerging infectious diseases. Round 3 will see continued support from CSIRO with an additional $3m of funding delivered through CUREator to fund commercially orientated projects seeking to minimise antimicrobial resistance.
Brandon BioCatalyst, in collaboration with ANDHealth, were recently awarded a further $50m from the MRFF to administer the BioMedTech Incubator (BMTI) program through CUREator. This funding boost will widen CUREator’s scope of support to include MedTech and Digital Health alongside the development of therapeutics and brings CUREator’s total funds under management to $96m. This program will officially launch later this year.
The incubator offers multiple streams of funding alongside program support to accelerate promising Australian projects with commercial potential focused on preclinical biomedical research and medical innovations, clinical-stage therapeutics, health security innovations and solutions for minimising antimicrobial resistance.
Applications for the next round of funding are now open and interested researchers and biotech companies are invited to apply via the CUREator webpage here.
Note to Editors:
The full list of successful round two applicants can be found below:
|Drug discovery platform targeting polynucleotides||VIC|
|Flavivirus vaccine platform||QLD|
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CUREator is a national biotechnology incubator run by Brandon BioCatalyst aimed at supporting the development of Australian biomedical innovations.
CUREator provides grant funding programs targeting biomedical opportunities spanning from discovery to clinical development. Providing more than just funding, CUREator works closely with project teams to guide them through the early development phase, offering both scientific and commercial expertise and networks to support projects in meeting key commercial milestones. Funding is provided with clear milestone-driven tranches and help is provided to guide development of these assets and maximise their chance of success.
For more information about CUREator visit: https://brandonbiocatalyst.com/cureator/
About Brandon BioCatalyst and Brandon Capital
Brandon Capital is Australasia’s leading life science venture capital firm, with a strong global presence supported by key partnerships and team members across the US and UK. From early-stage seed investment through to expansion capital, Brandon Capital supports life science companies from proof-of-concept through to commercialisation.
Managed by Brandon Capital, Brandon BioCatalyst is a unique collaboration of over 50 leading medical research institutes, investors, and government united by a single purpose: progressing the next generation of medical therapies and technology which improve health and save lives.