, March 1, 2024 –

Australia’s leading national biotech incubator, CUREator by Brandon BioCatalyst, today announced the allocation of $3 million to propel five promising Life Sciences projects in its third round.

These projects are part of the Minimising Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) stream and target the growing threat of AMR. AMR occurs when disease-causing microbes can resist the effects of medicines, such as antibiotics, designed to kill them. This growing global problem is accelerated by the overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in humans and animals.

Professor Branwen Morgan, Lead of the Minimising Antimicrobial Resistance Mission at CSIRO, emphasises the preventative nature of these projects. “As the challenge of antimicrobial resistance continues to grow, it’s crucial that we invest in developing new technologies that can reduce the risk and likelihood of AMR emerging while also being commercially viable. That’s why CSIRO is proud to support this round of the CUREator program, which is focused on fostering innovative and sustainable solutions.”

Biomedtech recipients in this stream include research institutes and companies that are developing a nasal spray to prevent ear infections, building web-based platforms to support clinical decision pathways, and new therapeutic approaches to prolong the efficacy of antibiotics.

CUREator was established in 2021 with $40 million in funding from the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund and has received $6 million over two separate funding rounds from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.

Since its inception, CUREator has been bridging the gap between research and investment with mutually agreed, milestone-based funding to ensure potential therapies advance towards commercialisation.

Spritz-OM, a project from Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia, is developing a nasal spray that could potentially prevent childhood ear infections and reduce antibiotic use.  They will receive $500,000 from the CSIRO-supported minimising AMR stream to manufacture their candidate for Phase 1 clinical trials upon the achievement of their milestones.

Scientific Lead and Inventor of Spritz-OM, Associate Professor Lea-Ann Kirkham: “Over 700 million children will suffer an ear infection this year, with one in four experiencing recurrent infections and requiring antibiotics. For First Nations children, this figure rises to one in two children. This funding support from CUREator and the CSIRO will springboard Spritz-OM toward clinical trials to assess our candidate’s safety and efficacy for preventing childhood ear infections.”

If successful, Spritz-OM’s candidate could become a therapy that reduces antibiotic dependence, preventing the severe ear infections that can lead to hearing loss.

Dr. Chris Nave, CEO of Brandon BioCatalyst, is proud of the impact that CUREator has had so far. “CUREator is pivotal in advancing the development and translational of research discoveries, providing both funding and essential commercialisation skills to emerging Australian innovations. We allocate the grant funding in milestone-based tranches, mirroring the discipline and accountability utilised by venture capital investors.”


Note to Editors:

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Brandon BioCatalyst – Kirrily Davis, Head of Brand, Communications and Engagement kdavis@brandoncapital.com.au, +61 401 220 228.

CSIRO – CSIRO Media, media@csiro.au,  1300 555 005


CUREator Minimising Antimicrobial Resistance stream recipients:

Project Title  Company/Research Institute State  Funding
A nasal therapy to prevent childhood ear infections and reduce antibiotic use: manufacture for Phase 1 trials Telethon Kids Institute & The University of Western Australia WA $500,000
Clinical Branches Kraken Coding Pty Ltd NT $430,000
Rescuing frontline antibiotics by developing resistance-breaking therapeutics The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity & The University of Melbourne VIC $500,000
Leveraging diagnostic test data in SMART digital health standards-based apps for enhanced antimicrobial stewardship decision support CSIRO QLD $500,000
Liquid crystal nanoparticles that enhance antimicrobial efficacy The University of South Australia SA $500,000


*Note: $570,000 will be available as top-up funding on a competitive basis for successful projects.


CSIRO is Australia’s national science agency and innovation catalyst. We solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. Our collaborative research turns science into solutions for food security and quality; clean energy and resources; health and wellbeing; resilient and valuable environments; innovative industries; and a secure Australia and region.

About the Minimising Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Mission

Developed by the CSIRO the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Minimising AMR Mission is working to halt Australia’s rising death rate and economic burden of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by 2030.  This will be achieved by delivering a sustainable One Health ecosystem that enables and accelerates the development, uptake, and adoption of solutions to prevent, manage and respond to AMR in humans, animals and the environment. The Minimising AMR Mission marks the anniversary of its launch on February 28, 2024.


Spritz-OM is a low-cost nasal spray therapy that uses friendly bacteria to guard the ear from infection. Almost every child experiences a middle ear infection by their 2nd birthday. One in 4 suffer repeat infections, often resulting in hearing loss and requiring antibiotics and surgery. Spritz-OM targets the major pathogen that is responsible for over 50% of the 700 million annual ear infections worldwide. That pathogen is nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), which is also a major pathogen in sinusitis, pneumonia and chronic lung diseases. There are no approved preventative therapies that successfully target this pathogen.

Preventing over half of the world’s ear infections with a therapy such as Spritz-OM will significantly improve health and educational outcomes on a global scale. Less ear infections means fewer GP visits and antibiotic scripts, less time off work/school for families, shortened hospital waiting lists, reduced demand for audiology and speech therapy, and improved educational outcomes; all permitting redirection of healthcare and education resources, in addition to providing a solution to reduce antibiotic consumption to curb the alarming rise in antimicrobial resistance.