A $50 million MedTech incubator funded by the federal government’s Medical Research Future Fund is now open for expressions of interest.
The CUREator+ BioMedTech incubator program, run by Brandon BioCatalyst and digital health accelerator ANDHealth, aims to support the commercialisation of Australian biomedical and digital health research.
Through the program, successful applicants will have access to research teams, commercial capability-building coaching, IP development, professional governance, management, and operational finance support.
Each successful firm will receive a total of $5 million in non-dilutive funding after meeting all its commercial milestones across a four-year, two-stage process.
The first stage of funding is worth up to $2.5 million with projects given two years to complete their milestones. The second stage of funding will be awarded to firms that successfully complete stage one milestones on a competitive basis and up to a maximum of $5 million across the two stages.
CUREator+ is targeting SMEs working on “therapeutics (novel or repurposed), diagnostics, medical devices, and digital health technologies” at the preclinical, clinical and commercial stages of development, according to the program guidelines.
Brandon BioCatalyst chief executive Dr Chris Nave said the initiative would help develop Australia’s research translation and commercialisation capability.
“CUREator+ will bridge the funding and capability gaps experienced by promising Australian drug, device, diagnostic, and digital health innovations,” he said.
Dr Nave also said that the “expertise and access to networks” through the program will likely be as valuable as the funding commitment in the long-term.
Similarly, ANDHealth managing director and chief executive Bronwyn Le Grice said that “access to local capital and sector expertise” are among the biggest challenges they face.
“CUREator+ funding will support companies that can ‘grow locally and scale globally’, providing support and specific advice to commercialise technologies that can address major global health challenges and service global patient populations, whilst remaining headquartered here at home,” she said.
Submissions will be open until October 6, with successful applicants to be notified from late-November. Funding is expected to be awarded in the second quarter of 2024.
The design of the CUREator+ program draws from Brandon Biocatalyst’s CUREator BioTech incubator program and from the ANDHealth+ Digital Health incubator, which have also been funded through the federal government’s $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).
The governance and administration of the MRFF and the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Medical Research Endowment Account is currently under review to improve the alignment and coordination of grants.
Three models of reform have been proposed, including a merger between the funds or transferring responsibility for the MRFF to the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Grant funding available across Brandon BioCatalyst and ANDHealth administered programs is worth more than $115 million. Brandon BioCatalyst is a subsidiary of life sciences venture capital firm Brandon Capital.
In May, the second round of the CUREator program committed $12 million across 19 firms. A formal announcement of the successful firms under round three of the program will be made by the end of the first quarter of 2024.
Brandon BioCatalyst is also supporting Cicada Innovations with the delivery of a $7.8 million biomedical incubator at the Westmead Health and Innovation District in New South Wales.
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