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Minimising antimicrobial resistance projects accelerated with $3m allocation

Australia’s leading national biotech incubator, CUREator by Brandon BioCatalyst, announced the allocation of $3 million to propel five promising Life Sciences projects in its third round.

These projects are part of the Minimising Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) stream and target the growing AMR threat, accelerated by the overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in humans and animals.

AMR occurs when disease-causing microbes can resist the effects of medicines, such as antibiotics, designed to kill them. This growing global problem is accelerated by the overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in humans and animals.

Lead of the minimising antimicrobial resistance mission at CSIRO, professor Branwen Morgan, said, “As the challenge of antimicrobial resistance continues to grow, it’s crucial that we invest in developing new technologies that can reduce the risk and likelihood of AMR emerging while also being commercially viable. That’s why CSIRO is proud to support this round of the CUREator program, which is focused on fostering innovative and sustainable solutions.”

Biomedtech recipients in this stream include research institutes and companies that are developing a nasal spray to prevent ear infections, building web-based platforms to support clinical decision pathways, and new therapeutic approaches to prolong the efficacy of antibiotics.

CUREator was established in 2021 with $40 million in funding from the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund and has received $6 million over two separate funding rounds from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.

Since its inception, CUREator has been bridging the gap between research and investment with mutually agreed, milestone-based funding to ensure potential therapies advance towards commercialisation.

Spritz-OM, a project from Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia, is developing a nasal spray that could potentially prevent childhood ear infections and reduce antibiotic use.

They will receive $500,000 from the CSIRO-supported minimising AMR stream to manufacture their candidate for Phase 1 clinical trials upon the achievement of their milestones.

Scientific lead and inventor of Spritz-OM, associate Professor Lea-Ann Kirkham said, “Over 700 million children will suffer an ear infection this year, with one in four experiencing recurrent infections and requiring antibiotics.”

If successful, Spritz-OM’s candidate could become a therapy that reduces antibiotic dependence, preventing the severe ear infections that can lead to hearing loss.

“This funding support from CUREator and the CSIRO will springboard Spritz-OM toward clinical trials to assess our candidate’s safety and efficacy for preventing childhood ear infections,” said Kirkham.

Chief executive officer of Brandon BioCatalyst Dr Chris Nave said,  “CUREator is pivotal in advancing the development and translational of research discoveries, providing both funding and essential commercialisation skills to emerging Australian innovations. We allocate the grant funding in milestone-based tranches, mirroring the discipline and accountability utilised by venture capital investors.”

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