Brandon BioCatalyst secures $50m grant for new med-tech incubator tackling dementia

Brandon BioCatalyst secures $50m grant for new med-tech incubator tackling dementia

ANDHealth CEO Bronwyn Le Grice(left) with Brandon BioCatalyst CEO Dr Chris Nave (right).

A national biotechnology incubator run by the venture capital-backed Brandon BioCatalyst has received a $50 million federal government grant that will be applied to develop commercial innovations to address dementia and cognitive decline.

Brandon BioCatalyst’s CUREator, in partnership with ANDHealth, has joined forces with Dementia Australia to deliver the program over the next five years.

Over this period, the BioMedTech Incubator (BMTI) will focus on developing research discoveries and medical innovations with commercial potential to address dementia and cognitive decline which Dementia Australia says is expected to affect 812,500 people nationally by 2054.

Funding for the BMTI program is being forwarded from the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund. The aim of the new program is to support innovative companies with non-dilutive funding to commercialise their therapies, devices and products to improve the lives of people affected by cognitive decline.

The program’s remit includes preparing participants to be ‘investor-ready’ after completing the program which will provide access to research, translation and commercialisation expertise across early-stage therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics and digital health.

"We applaud the federal government's commitment to funding programs focused on unlocking the full potential of Australia’s globally recognised research,” saysDr Chris Nave, the CEO of Brandon BioCatalyst.

“Nurturing the development of translational and commercialisation skills in life sciences drives growth in a sector that employs individuals in high-skilled roles and facilitates the creation of therapies that save lives and enhance well-being locally and globally.

Brandon BioCatalyst is managed by Melbourne-based life sciences venture capital firm Brandon Capital. The group’s CUREator incubator, which is funded by the Medical Research Future Fund and the CSIRO, provides grant funding programs for opportunities ranging from discovery to clinical development.

“Programs such as the BioMedTech Incubator for dementia and cognitive decline have proven that they can accelerate cutting-edge technologies from proof of concept to market and into the hands of patients,” saysANDHealth CEO Bronwyn Le Grice.

“These types of investments are critical as Australia looks to home-grown innovation to support its ageing population and drive healthier, longer lives for all Australians.”

ANDHealth is a federal government-backed corporate entity that supports Australian digital health companies to navigate the commercialisation pathway. Companies that have participated in ANDHealth since 2017 have so far raised $149 million in capital.

Dementia Australia’s participation in the program will involve the peak body leading a community advisory board comprising people impacted by dementia to guide the development of new technologies and treatments.  

“Dementia Australia is pleased to be actively involved with the delivery of this program with Brandon BioCatalyst and ANDHealth,” says Dr Kaele Stokes, the Dementia Australia executive director of services, advocacy and research.

“We are committed to supporting the delivery of this important program by ensuring the voice of the consumers - both those living with dementia and their families and carers - are prioritised throughout this program and providing dementia-specific expertise for the incubator.”

Aged Care Research & Industry Innovation Australia, Indigenous Australians, consumers, community members and health providers will also be involved, reviewing potential projects at each stage of the selection process and ensuring projects address the breadth of patient, carer and workforce needs. 

The program is scheduled to open applications from potential participants later this year.

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