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Biotech incubator CUREator donates $12 million to 19 startups committed to global health

Biotech incubator CUREator has committed $12 million in venture funding to 19 projects targeting a range of global health issues, ranging from treatments for lupus, motor neuron disease, brain and ovarian cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease, as part of its second cohort.

Backed by the federal government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), which invested $40 million in accelerator program facilitator Brandon BioCatalyst, in addition to $3 million from CSIRO, CUREator is a national incubator designed to bridge the gap between bridging research grants and commercial investment, to help Australian biotech startups grow to the next stage of investment readiness.

The program has supported over 40 Australian projects to date.

Dr. Chris Nave, CEO of Brandon BioCatalyst, said the first phase of the CUREator program has already revealed the power of translational research underway in Australia.

“CUREator, with support from the federal government, is revolutionizing the way grants are delivered in Australia by prioritizing outcomes through a commercial lens,” he said.

“The incubator delivers targeted funding like an investor and is designed to help reach key development milestones with hands-on support and access to expertise and networks.”

The incubator provides multiple funding streams in addition to program support to accelerate promising Australian projects with commercial potential focused on preclinical biomedical research and medical innovations, clinical stage therapies, health security innovations and solutions to minimize antimicrobial resistance.

Brandon BioCatalyst, partnering with ANDHealth, recently awarded another $50 million from the MRFF for a new BioMedTech Incubator (BMTI) program through CUREator. It will broaden the scope of the incubator to MedTech and Digital Health and will launch later this year.

One of 12 startups sharing $6 million in preclinical funding in addition to acceptance into the accelerator program is GILZRx, an early-stage biotechnology company based at Monash University. The biotech company is developing a new approach to treating inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including lupus.

Dr Sarah Jones

GILZRx co-founder Dr. Sarah Jones

GILZRx co-founder Dr. Sarah Jones said the funding is a critical milestone.

“It allows us to take our research to the next level and confirms the groundbreaking potential of our work,” she said.

“Ultimately, our goal is to take our research out of the lab and have a tangible impact on people’s lives, and this funding is the first step toward achieving that.”

An additional $3 million in the latest round is earmarked for the clinical development of new drug therapies in the clinical stage to improve patient outcomes.

Cyteph of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute is one of two companies to receive this funding for their phase one clinical trial validating a new T-cell therapy for the treatment of brain cancer.

Co-founder Prof. Rajiv Khanna said the support and expertise the program provides is as important as the funding.

“This support will help us as we move forward in our Phase 1 trial testing the safety and efficacy of our new therapy for the treatment of recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme, a serious brain cancer,” he said.

Co-founder Prof. Rajiv Khanna

Cyteph co-founder Prof. Rajiv Khanna

“Our new research discovery, combined with the support of CUREator, increases the likelihood that Cyteph will secure additional funding in the future.

CSIRO’s $3 million has supported five startups working on technologies focused on health security and protection against pandemics and emerging infectious diseases.

In Round 3, CSIRO will contribute an additional $3 million to projects seeking to minimize antimicrobial resistance.

Dr. Amanda Vrselja, program head of CUREator, said the number of high caliber projects submitted to our incubator from across the country demonstrates the need for this missing link in funding, says

“To continue to support the translational research infrastructure, CUREator must be a long-term strategy with further support from the federal government. The second round of CUREator also provides $3 million to advance clinical stage development of novel drug therapies to improve patient outcomes,” she said.

“Cyteph from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute is one of two companies to receive this funding stream for their phase one clinical trial validating a new T-cell therapy for the treatment of brain cancer.”

Applications for the next funding round are currently open. You will find the details here.

The second round startups supported by CUREator are:

Company Stands
Cincera Therapeutica VIC/SA
CoraMetix WA
DesmoX SA
Fovero Therapeutics QLD
Kimaritec QLD
Micromune Therapeutics QLD
Proxima Bio VIC
Sycura Therapeutica QLD
x Cystence Bio VIC
Cyteph QLD
Exosome Biosciences VIC
BioBandage QLD
Cytophenix WA
Drug discovery platform targeting polynucleotides VIC
Flavivirus vaccine platform QLD
Myrio Therapeutics VIC

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