The Federal Governments announcement today that MTPConnect, in partnership with BioCurate, UniQuest and the Medical Device Partnering Program, will operate the $22.3 million Biomedical Translation Bridge program has been welcomed by the organisations CEO, Dr Dan Grant.
"As the national growth centre for the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals sector, MTPConnect is uniquely positioned to partner with industry and deliver the Biomedical Translation Bridge program," he said.
"MTPConnect is already responsible for two schemes for the Federal Government which provide funding to 48 projects across the country, so to be awarded this new and exciting health program is welcome recognition of our achievements.
"Under the Biomedical Translation Bridge (BTB) program, projects for new therapies, technologies and medical devices will be eligible for up to $1 million over a period of up to three years to support translation of Australian medical research through to the proof of concept stage.
"The BTB program has a strong commercial imperative, driving development of research initiatives to improve the health of Australians that also generate commercial returns to help create the high paying jobs of the future."
The BTB program, part of the Federal Government's Medical Research Future Fund and delivered through MTPConnect, will see the creation of a partnership between BioCurate (University of Melbourne and Monash University), UniQuest (University of Queensland through its drug discovery initiative QEDDI) and the Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP, led by Flinders University), all pre-eminent organisations engaged in the translation and commercialisation of health and medical research.
BioCurate CEO, Dr Glenn Begley, said: "BioCurate's focus is working closely with researchers to address the barriers that limit the translation and commercialisation of their early stage research. The BioCurate team brings extensive 'hands on' international industry experience and we look forward to sharing our scientific and commercial expertise as part of the program."
UniQuest CEO, Dr Dean Moss, said: "At UniQuest, we specialise in the commercialisation of intellectual property coming from the world-leading research of the University of Queensland. Our track record includes the commercialisation of the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil and Spinifex Pharmaceuticals the subject of one of Australia's largest ever biotech acquisitions so we have a lot of translation and commercialisation experience to provide to the BTB program and the participants."
MDPP Director, Professor Karen Reynolds, said: "MDPP has a 10-year track record of successfully facilitating early-stage ideation and research for new medical devices. Through the BTB program we will leverage our diverse connections and expertise to optimise the success of Australia's medtech ventures."
MTPConnect's Dr Dan Grant said the partners bring decades of industry-based experience and an enviable track record in research translation to the program: "By joining forces with BioCurate, UniQuest and MDPP we've created a powerful partnership venture that brings national reach, industry capabilities and expertise and commercial know-how to the task of boosting translation of Australia's healthtech research," he said.
"MTPConnect will also partner with the Bridge and BridgeTech programs from the Queensland University of Technology to provide opportunities for skills development to applicants, further enhancing the commercialisation advice and nurturing we can provide to BTB applicants."
The $22.3 million program announced today by the Minister for Health Hon. Greg Hunt MP and the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Hon. Karen Andrews MP will open calls for applications in 2019. This will be accompanied by workshops in each capital city and in major regional centres such as Townsville, Newcastle, Wollongong and Geelong to build awareness and ensure a high number of quality applications are received.
Funding of between $200,000 and $1 million will be available for a period of up to three years. Applicants will be required to provide one-to-one matching funding to be eligible.
Additional rounds will be called every six months, with frequency in later years dependent on the number of applications re-applying and extent of residual funds.
The BTB program will establish an expert selection panel to assess, triage and select eligible ventures to be recommended to the Minister for Health for program funding.
Mentoring and project management
A key feature of the BTB program is the provision of expert advice, education and mentoring; to those preparing applications and those awarded funding.
Successful applicants will receive hands-on guidance and mentoring and project management advice throughout the life of the program, leveraging the industry and commercialisation experience of our partners, BioCurate, UniQuest and MDPP.
By ensuring every application receives support, the BTB program will help build capabilities across the sector, not just within those organisations selected for funding.