CSIRO partners with Cicada to translate ‘superbug’ research


Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

The national science agency has partnered with a deep tech incubator to try and build out a local industry for antimicrobial resistance products, warning the pipeline for new “superbug” treatments is running dry.

CSIRO and Sydney deep tech incubator Cicada Innovations will offer local SMEs and researchers free training to commercialise their work into solutions for antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the emerging global public health threat where disease causing germs stop responding to medicine.

AMR occurs when disease-causing bacteria, fungi, and other germs stop responding to medicines such as antibiotics, becoming what is known as “superbugs”. They make infections more difficult to treat and increase the spread of disease and serious illnesses.

Associate Professor Dr Branwen Morgan says drugs alone won’t stop the rise of superbugs. Image: CSIRO

Estimated to already cause around 700,000 deaths a year, AMR is predicted worsen and claim up to 10 million lives by 2050.

CSIRO has warned superbugs are “one of the greatest threats facing humanity” and Australia is at the frontline as one of the largest consumers of antibiotics, with the drug’s overuse being the main driver of AMR. The science agency has made AMR one of its missions, and warns new drugs alone will not be enough.

“The drug pipeline is long and costly – we need innovative science, technology and engineering solutions to mitigate AMR now and into the future,” Dr Branwen Morgan ,who is leading the CSIRO mission, said.

“Potential solutions could range from antimicrobial coatings to integrated sensors and software that identifies the presence of AMR to alternative treatments and diagnostics.”

CSIRO has called in Cicada Innovations, a Sydney deep tech innovator which has been the long-time delivery partner of the major New South medical technology commercialisation training programs, to deliver the new “AMR Commercialisation 101” course.

The course is open to any SME or researcher from any sector where the technology could be adapted to solve AMR challenges. It is slated to cover commercialising medical technologies, lean start-up, idea and customer validation, and market analysis and competitive landscape.

“This course is a gateway for innovators looking to gain a foundational understanding of AMR and how to validate an idea and make an impact,” Cicada Innovations chief executive Sally-Ann Williams said.

“We’re calling on industry, SMEs and innovators to register for the free course and take the first step in translating their ideas into a solution which can save lives.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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