$50m federal funding for BioMedTech Incubator program
The investment, from the $20bn Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), substantially increases the grant funding available through existing Brandon BioCatalyst and ANDHealth programs to more than $115m.
The BMTI program will leverage the highly specialised selection, assessment and growth capabilities which have been built through CUREator — the Brandon BioCatalyst-managed national biotech incubator — and the ANDHealth-managed national digital health accelerator, ANDHealth+.
The new BMTI program, which commences later this year, aims to accelerate the commercialisation of promising Australian biomedical and digital health discoveries, potentially resulting in new jobs, attraction of private capital and ultimately positive impact for patients.
The partnership between Brandon BioCatalyst and ANDHealth provides a combination of expertise, spanning from early-stage drug development through to cutting-edge medical devices and evidence-based digital health technologies.
“I applaud the federal government for trailblazing a new model for how innovation and translation are supported in this country,” said Dr Chris Nave, CEO of Brandon BioCatalyst.
“In under two years they have provided funding to establish a national incubator of global scale, accessible to any researcher or innovator in the health and medical arena wanting to develop products that have the potential to transform patient outcomes.
“Australia sits in the top handful of countries for our biomedical capabilities and discoveries, but we have traditionally performed poorly at translating this research into new medicines to improve patient health.
“Under this new government-supported model, this collaborative program will provide grant funding like an investor, providing expertise and hands-on support, setting clear development milestones that must be met to receive subsequent funding tranches.
“This is a powerful new way to fund research translation and, if successful, may become an important component of how we fund research in Australia.”
ANDHealth Managing Director and CEO Bronwyn Le Grice said, “Having worked with over 650 digital health companies across Australia, access to finance and digital health domain expertise remain some of the most pressing challenges for our innovators and entrepreneurs.
“Non-dilutive funding, such as that available under the CUREator and ANDHealth+ programs, and now available on a larger scale through the BMTI, can be critical in supporting companies to navigate the viability gap and succeed in getting their product into the hands of patients and healthcare providers.”
Under BMTI, companies will be able to access up to $5m in non-dilutive funding over a five-year period to support the translation and commercial development of their biomedical and digital health technologies. In addition to funding, the BMTI grant aims to provide hands-on support to progress Australian innovations to the point where they are commercially attractive to investors or partners.
“We are excited to work alongside ANDHealth to fund and nurture the next generation of emerging Australian startups to maximise their chances of success,” said Dr Amanda Vrselja, Program Head, CUREator.
To date, 23 companies have been supported through CUREator and received $17.4m in funding.
“At CUREator, our purpose is to ensure our most promising research discoveries don’t get lost in academic journals but are instead developed using commercially focused grant funding to become investment ready. This is the missing link in how translation is supported in Australia,” Vrselja said.
Grace Lethlean, General Manager of ANDHealth+ and Chief Product Officer at ANDHealth, said, “I’m excited to work with the team at Brandon BioCatalyst on this groundbreaking new Australian Government-backed fund, which represents another great investment opportunity for Australian innovators to develop and commercialise onshore and then take Australian-made solutions to the rest of the world.”
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