How does the grant application process work?
Both the Preclinical Stream and Clinical Stream applications entail a multi-stage process, modelled on the existing Brandon BioCatalyst process. All applications commence with an EOI application which must be submitted online at: https://cureator.awardsplatform.com/
You will need to select which funding stream (Preclinical or Clinical) you are applying for as part of the application process. All EOI submissions must be submitted by 5:00pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on Monday 29 August 2022. Late applications will not be considered.
Successful EOI applications will then be invited to submit a full application for further review and due diligence. Full applications that successfully complete due diligence will then proceed to grant offer and acceptance in Q1 2023.
Applications for CUREator funding follow a three-stage process:
What is the timeline for applying?
Expressions of interest open: 19 July 2022 at 9.00 am AEST
Final date for EOI submission: 29 August 2022 at 5.00pm AEST
Notification for shortlisting of EOI applications: from Mid-October 2022
Full applications from shortlisted applicants due: Mid-November 2022
Who is eligible?
Any Australian small to medium size enterprise (SME), or life science researcher at an Australian university or research institute is eligible to submit an application. The proposed research must be performed in Australia (where possible).
Incorporated, Australian start-ups and SMEs are eligible to receive the grant for preclinical, clinical and health security funding streams.
If your project has not yet incorporated, you can still apply but, if applying for the preclinical or clinical stream, you will need to be incorporated prior to award (Q1 2023) to receive the funding. CUREator may be able to assist successful applicants in establishing an eligible, incorporated company, where required.
What are we looking for?
For the Health Security Stream only: Applications in this stream are requested to address specific questions related to national health security to improve Australia’s preparedness and responsiveness to human health threats including medical countermeasures.
What does the Preclinical Stream fund?
Funding for the Preclinical Stream is open to preclinical medical research or medical innovation projects with commercial potential. Preclinical medical research and medical innovation includes any intervention that prevents, diagnoses or treats a disease state, its symptoms or risk factors. It is required that the funding provided is to support activities that increase the commercial traction and investability of projects. This may include completing key proof-of-concept experiments, mechanism of action, lead optimisation and lead selection, formal development, indication selection, commercial positioning and validation activities. Each project supported by CUREator will need to be carefully designed, with clearly defined project deliverables and fast-fail milestones to ensure they reach completion on time, delivering key value-adding and de-risking milestones during the grant period.
What does the Clinical Stream fund?
Funding for the Clinical Stream is open to companies to progress the early clinical development of novel drugs, or novel uses for existing drugs with commercial potential. Funding for projects will focus on supporting to design, commence or complete phase 1 and phase 2 clinical studies, including investigator led and multi-centre studies. Patient studies (phase 1b and 2a and beyond), will be designed to validate safety but also to generate evidence of efficacy, by using both traditional measures of disease and novel, cutting edge biomarkers and analysis.
What does the Health Security Stream fund?
Applicants to the Health Security Stream will be requested to address specific questions related to national health security to improve Australia’s preparedness and responsiveness to human health threats including medical countermeasures. Applicants chosing the Health Security Stream only will not be required to form a for-profit entity (company) prior to receiving grant award. At the EOI stage, all applications must provide a budget for their ‘proof of concept’ research plan (i.e., submit a budget up to $500,000).
How much funding is offered?
The Preclinical Stream offers (non-dilutive) grant funding up to $500,000 for preclinical medical research or medical innovation projects. For the EOI stage, all applications must provide a budget for their ‘proof of concept’ research plan (i.e., submit a budget up to $500,000).
The Clinical Stream will provide (non-dilutive) grant funding of up to $1,500,000 to support the clinical development of novel, clinical stage drug therapies to treat disease. Opportunities that successfully receive funding through this stream, will also have the opportunity to apply for matching (dilutive) investment from Brandon BioCatalyst/Brandon Capital or third-party funding.
The Health Security Stream offers (non-dilutive) grant funding of up to:
Do I need to be working for a Brandon BioCatalyst member institution to apply?
No, you don’t! CUREator is a national biotechnology incubator run by Brandon BioCatalyst. Applications are open to any Australian SME, or life science researcher at an Australian university or research institute. Applicants do not need to be from a Brandon BioCatalyst member institution to be eligible for funding. We have included a list of Brandon BioCatalyst member institutes and non-members in the application process to assist us with reporting and tracking for the MRFF.
What kinds of organisations are able to receive CUREator funding and how is this defined for eligibility?
The EOI and Full application process is open to any Australian SME, or life science researcher at an Australian university or research institute. However, successful applicants will need to be incorporated (if not already) prior to award (Q1 2023) to receive the funding from the Preclinical or Clinical streams.
Successful applicants may be a private or public, listed or unlisted (Pty Ltd. or Ltd.) Australian SME. An Australian SME is defined as a business that employs less than 200 people and is a registered Australian corporate entity (i.e., registered with ASIC). Unfortunately, not-for-profit organisations (NFPs), university TTO’s/IP holding companies, companies registered outside Australia, Australian companies with 200 or more employees and other Australian business entities and structures are not eligible to receive CUREator funding. These criteria reflect the requirements of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant that CUREator operates. Note that CUREator will be able to provide streamlined documentation to assist with company formation via an expedited process, where required.
Can I submit more than one application?
Only one application may be submitted by the same business entity or project per Stream (universities, research institutes or other publicly funded research organisations (PFROs) may submit applications on behalf of multiple projects within their portfolio across either stream as relevant, but these institutions are ineligible to receive the grant funding themselves). Applicants are eligible to submit an application for all Streams (Preclinical, Clinical and Health Security), as long as each application submitted meets the criteria. Where universities, research institutes or other publicly funded research organisations (PFROs) are coordinating proposals on behalf of multiple projects, the project (and ABN/ACN) must be clearly identified and distinguishable for each application to enable the review panel to differentiate between proposals.
Is this research funding, a commercial grant or will CUREator/Brandon BioCatalyst take equity?
CUREator provides commercial grant funding (equity free) to projects. This funding is best considered as non-dilutive capital rather than a research grant. This means successful projects will receive tranched funding matched to achievement of commercially relevant milestones, that will be defined and agreed together with CUREator/Brandon BioCatalyst as part of the full application process.
For the Clinical Stream, successful applicants who receive CUREator funding (up to $1.5 million) will also have the opportunity to apply for matching (dilutive) investment from Brandon BioCatalyst or third-party funding on an investment for equity basis. Projects are not required to accept matching equity-based funding to receive the grant.
For applicants to the Health Security Stream, CSIRO will have the option, but no obligation, to contribute further funding to the recipients of the CSIRO Funding that advance to later stages of development, which may include further research grants and/or to seek commercial investment, including acquiring equity in the recipients of the CSIRO Funding.
What happens if my project has grant funding, equity investment, or matching capital from other sources?
Matching capital (and in-kind support) will be well regarded as part of application review. Applicants should ensure that it is clear what the CUREator funding will be used to achieve and how this is measurably distinct from use of any other funding or support from other sources.
What is the period for use of the funds and what outcomes are expected?
Successful projects will have 1-2 years to complete project activities and achievement of milestones, agreed as part of the full application process. Successful Round 2 applicants will be expected to commence project activities in early 2023.
How many applications will be funded in this round?
There is no quota or minimum number of applications to be funded in Round 2. CUREator aims to support at least 25 pre-clinical projects, at least 11 clinical-trial stage projects and at least 6 Health Security project over a three-year period.
Can I re-apply, or submit an application if I have previously submitted a proposal to Brandon BioCatalyst that was not successful?
CUREator will run future rounds of funding over our initial 3-year funding period. If you are unsuccessful at the full application stage, it is essential that you address the feedback from the review process before applying again. Similarly, unsuccessful EOI applications are encouraged to make progress towards their objectives in any intervening period before applying again. Remember, a key feature of successful start-ups is their tenacity in the face of obstacles and their ability to work around (or through) constraints.
How confidential/independent is the proposal review process?
All applications will be treated under standard Brandon BioCatalyst confidentiality arrangements. If confidential information is provided, please preface this with [Confidential]. It is not expected that you will disclose confidential information in the application to submit a successful EOI application. It is imperative that you can share enough technical information to demonstrate differentiation and novelty in the EOI but it may not be necessary to disclose confidential information in order to do so.
EOI applications will be reviewed by the CUREator Investment Review Committee (IRC), consisting of independent members, Brandon Capital delegates, a nationally representative sub-committee of the Brandon BioCatalyst IRC, and the Brandon Capital Investment Committee.
What is CUREator’s IP policy/what claims does CUREator/Brandon BioCatalyst have on any IP associated with my project?
All funding streams are non-dilutive grants and no claims are made on the background or project IP associated with projects on the basis of these grants. Successful CUREator teams may apply for Brandon BioCatalyst funding and this is on an equity investment basis.
Can I get any feedback on submitting an EOI application or on my submitted EOI application?
The CUREator team run information sessions/webinars as often as we can. The national webinar will be available on the CUREator website. Where appropriate/possible, questions asked at these sessions will be added to the CUREator website FAQ.
Unsuccessful EOI applications will be advised as soon as possible during the review process. However, owing to the volume of applications we receive, applicants are not expected to receive further feedback at the EOI stage.
What will the full application form entail?
The full application will expand on the information provided in the EOI to provide a full outline of the project. Successful applicants will have 5 weeks to prepare a full application (details and template documents will be provided) to the CUREator team.
My application is stuck/lost in the system. What should I do?
Although we strive to offer a fantastic application experience, sometimes these things happen! Please get in touch by emailing the CUREator team at firstname.lastname@example.org with specific details of the issue you are facing.