New Report Reveals Commercialisation Journey of Biomedical Translation Bridge Innovations

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19 August 2022

As the $22.3 million Biomedical Translation Bridge (BTB) program moves to completion, a new report has captured a series of powerful case studies highlighting the journey of the 21 innovations supported by the program, striving to commercialise their medical products.  

Launched in May 2019, the BTB program is an initiative of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) delivered by MTPConnect to nurture the translation of new therapies, technologies and medical devices through to the proof-of-concept stage.

The program provided funding of between $100,000 and $1 million to projects for up to two years to accelerate the development of their innovation.

MTPConnect CEO Stuart Dignam said the new report outlines the many successes the project teams have had.

“The journey from an initial idea to proof-of-concept and commercialisation is extremely challenging – even more so during a global pandemic,” said Mr Dignam.

“The medical products and technologies developed by the BTB project teams address clear unmet needs, priority indications or rare disease, and as they’re translated and commercialised will drive better health outcomes and contribute to economic and jobs growth.

“The last two years navigating COVID-19 lockdowns have been particularly challenging for many of these companies, so our congratulations to the project teams for their innovation, perseverance, entrepreneurial spirit - and resilience.

“The BTB program was the first of its kind in Australia with industry mentors and commercialisation experts to nurture the next generation of health and medical research innovators. Through our program partners Biocurate, UniQuest and Medical Device Partnering Program and education partners, the Bridge and BridgeTech programs, we created a unique Australian-wide initiative.

“With the program’s funds, along with industry contributions and substantial amounts of flow-on external development capital raised, BTB has seen a total of $156.4 million injected into the sector.

“Reading the report and learning about the commercialisation journeys of the project teams highlights the real value of a program like BTB in helping Australian SMEs bring new medical products to market,” Mr Dignam said.

The BTB program has delivered real outcomes with 29 new technologies invented or progressed, seven new products launched, 56 new jobs created and substantial amounts of external invest raised. Notable achievements and outcomes from the program include:

  • AdAlta established a partnership with Telix Pharmaceuticals to commercialise a radiolabelled AD-214 (RL-AD-214) for treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis that can effectively be monitored in pre-clinical and clinical imaging.
  • Cincera Therapeutics developed a drug candidate that shows promising anti-fibrotic efficacy for the liver, lungs and kidneys, as well as high selectivity against a large range of safety pharmacology targets.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation Technologies has developed a “smart” human-grade bionic implant that treats the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and adaptively optimises the therapy dose, based on the patient’s response. The device and other system components are now ready for manufacture and first use in humans in a Melbourne-based clinical trial.
  • Dimerix’s lead drug candidate, DMX-200, selected for inclusion in the global REMAP-CAP trial as a possible treatment for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) associated with COVID-19, has been administered at  sites across the UK and the Netherlands.
  • Envision Sciences developed a tissue biopsy test, using its combinatorial set of biomarkers that achieved above 95 per cent sensitivity and specificity in patient samples outperforming the existing gold standard in accurately confirming prostate cancer diagnosis, as well as patient prognosis. 
  • INOVIQ successfully translated its proprietary SubB2M-based detection technology into an immunoassay format to monitor and detect breast cancer, and this is now being further developed following a successful capital raise of $18.4 million to fund the advancement of its breast, ovarian and prostate cancer diagnostic programs towards key development and commercialisation milestones.
  • LBT Innovations automated the process of determining the antibiotic resistance or susceptibility of infectious bacteria cultured from clinical samples. This new technology can markedly improve efficiencies in pathology labs, enable timely and effective treatment of infectious diseases, and help to control the indiscriminate use of antimicrobials.
  • MycRx developed one of the most advanced small molecule inhibitors targeting Myc oncoprotein directly to treat oncology indications such as lung cancer. This high-quality data package has already attracted commercialisation, partnering and investment interest, culminating in a successful Series A2 venture capital financing.
  • Starpharma registered its anti-viral nasal spray Viraleze™ for sale in more than 30 countries, including Europe and the UK. The product is available online in certain markets, making Starpharma the first ASX-listed biotech to bring a COVID-19 preventative product to the global retail market. Its TGA registration application in Australia is ongoing and the company has signed an exclusive Middle East sales and distribution agreement.
  • UniQuest identified a novel preclinical development candidate for the treatment of prostate cancer with a demonstrated on-target mechanism, and the project is positioned to enter preclinical development to compile a clinic-ready package to support first-in-human studies. Strong interest has prompted initial discussions with prospective partners.
  • University of Melbourne developed and commercialised the Medihood McMonty, a patient isolation hood which is now listed as a medical device on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods and being used in more than 145 hospitals around Australia, including regional centres, and overseas. The team secured a commercialisation and manufacturing partner, Evan Evans, and was the joint winner of the ‘Workplace Health and Safety Solution of the Year’ accolade at the WorkSafe Victoria Awards.
  • Vast Bioscience demonstrated the versatility of its platform to develop three-dimensional (3D) small molecule inhibitors, achieving high specificity and selectivity in its candidate – a critical requirement in the development of safe and effective therapies for severe acute and chronic pain.
  • Vaxine’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate became the first Australian candidate to commence human Phase I safety trials.

Further details about all the 21 BTB program projects and the impact of the program are outlined in the BTB Impact Report, which was released today to coincide with the BTB Finale event being held in Sydney to celebrate the completion of the program.