CUREator+ is a partnership between Brandon BioCatalyst and ANDHealth that will deliver the $50 million Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) BioMedTech incubator (BMTI) program to medical research and medical innovation projects with commercial potential. CUREator+ will run two funding rounds during the five-year program. The first funding round is open and the second funding round will launch mid-2024.
Deadlines and Timings
Submissions of expressions of interest (EOIs) is open until 6 October 2023 at 5:00pm AEDT. Notification for shortlisting of EOI applicants will be in November.
Overview and Grant Amount
CUREator+ provides non-dilutive grant funding to projects. The funding supports commercially orientated projects, through tranche funding dispersed upon the successful completion of key pre-agreed project milestones. CUREator+ successful applicants will benefit from support of the CUREator+ team alongside the broader Brandon BioCatalyst and ANDHealth Teams. CUREator+ will provide successful applicants with hands-on support and access to their global network of experts.
CUREator+ will provide up to a maximum of $5 million per project over two funding stages.
- Stage 1: Funding available between $1 million to $2.5 million. Funding will be provided in tranches and aligned to commercially relevant milestones. Successful projects will have up to 2 years to complete project activities and achievement of milestones, agreed as part of the application process.
- Stage 2: Top-up funding will be available on a competitive basis to successful CUREator+ companies (maximum total of $5 million in grant funding per project from Stage 1 and 2) who meet their milestones during the Stage 1 period. Successful projects will have a maximum total of 4 years to complete Stage 1 and 2 project activities and achievement of milestones.
The program will select novel, outstanding, maturing projects that address a significant unmet need and are clearly differentiated from existing standard of care and emerging products. Proposals should demonstrate:
- Innovative science — what does the science/evidence-based data behind the project enable?
- Highly differentiated — how is this approach distinguished from existing solutions?
- Biomedtech and/or digital health applications – how does this address an unmet medical need and evidence of commercial potential?
- Clear achievable plan — a credible plan towards investability and commercial outcomes including partnerships, commercial licensing, revenue, as appropriate.
Eligibility and Criteria
To be eligible, applicants must fulfill the following:
- Any Australian small to medium size enterprise (SME) defined as an Australian based for-profit company with less than 200 employees, or life science researcher(s) at an Australian university or research institute is eligible to apply for CUREator+ funding.
- Applicants must acknowledge that the project will need to be incorporated as a for-profit Australian registered business prior to award (Q2 2024) to receive funding.
- The company or research team owns or has an exclusive right to Intellectual Property Rights relevant to the project proposal (exclusive rights to background intellectual property).
- Applicants must provide a letter of support from the Board (established company) or business development manager/tech transfer office for researcher applicants at Australian-based institutes and universities (New Company) where applicable.
- Be willing to provide a duly executed Commitment Deed Poll with the Commonwealth on execution of the CUREator+ grant.
- Be willing to adhere to the grant requirements regarding the Commonwealth’s Commercialisation terms and conditions.
Applicants must hold the Intellectual Property or the rights to commercialise the device/system/innovation. Joint applications between a business entity and research-based organisations (including universities) are encouraged. However, the business entity must lead the project and submit the grant application. The lead applicant (the business) must outline clearly in their application who the project partners are and how each partner will contribute to achieving the objectives of the project proposal. If a joint application is successful, the Deed of Agreement will be between the lead applicant and the NSW Government.
Target Project Profile
Funding is available to support preclinical, clinical and/or commercial development of therapeutics (novel or repurposed), diagnostics, medical devices, and digital health technologies, which includes any intervention that prevents, monitors, manages, diagnoses or treats a disease state, its symptoms or risk factors.
- Drugs includes all therapeutic modalities (small molecules, monoclonal antibodies, gene and cell therapies, RNA drugs, antibody-drug conjugates, biologics, targeted protein degraders, nanobodies, theranostics and emerging modalities).
- Medical devices include physical forms of instruments, implements, bionics, machines, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent or similar related article or component part.
- Digital health includes technologies that use computing platforms, connectivity, software and sensors, either alone or in combination with physical products.
Applicants eligible for funding from NSW Medical Devices Fund, Physical Sciences Fund (PSF) or any other Government grant program for the same outputs and/or outcomes are not eligible for the BioSF, as the program is focusing on a different segment of the biological sciences market.
The funding can be used for the following conditions:
- Direct labour costs of employees directly employed on the core elements of the project, with a demonstrated and monitored link to project objectives and outcomes.
- Eligible salary expenditure includes an employee’s total remuneration package as stated on their Pay As You Go (PAYG) Annual Payment Summary submitted to the ATO.
- The maximum full-time equivalent salary for an employee, including packaged components, that you can claim through the grant is $175,000 per annum.
- You may include eligible salary costs such as employer paid superannuation, payroll tax, workers compensation insurance, and leave entitlements (including paid maternity leave, sick leave, long service leave and recreation leave). You may claim up to 30% of eligible labour costs and these costs must be separately identified in the project budget as labour “on-costs”.
- Equipment, provided you can demonstrate it is critical to meeting project objectives and outcome. The applicant must be prepared to meet all service and repair costs in relation to equipment funded. Equipment costs must not exceed 5% of the total grant amount.
- Applicants may request funding for a component of the research to be undertaken overseas if it can be demonstrated that the equipment/resources required for that component are not available in Australia and the component is critical to the successful completion of the research project.
- Eligible contract expenditure is the cost of any agreed project activities that you contract others to do. These can include contracting another organisation, or an individual who is not an employee, but engaged under a separate contract. The maximum full-time equivalent salary costs for contractors employed through a contract, claims must not exceed a full-time equivalent salary of $175,000 per annum.
- All contractors must have a written contract prior to starting any project work, for example, a formal agreement, letter or purchase order which specifies the nature of the work they perform and the applicable fees, charges and other costs payable. Invoices from contractors must contain a detailed description of the nature of the work, the hours and hourly rates involved, and any specific expenses paid. Invoices must directly relate to the agreed project, and the work must qualify as an eligible expense. The costs must also be reasonable and appropriate for the activities performed. Additionally, if you cannot provide records of contractor expenditure the relevant contract expense may not qualify as eligible expenditure.
The following are NOT eligible expenditures.
- patent (filing) costs
- institutional overheads and administrative costs
- activities, equipment or supplies that are already being supported through other sources or where other Commonwealth, state or territory governments have primary responsibility
- retrospective project costs or reimbursement of activities that commenced prior to the execution of a grant agreement
- costs incurred prior to us notifying you that the cost is eligible
- any in-kind contributions
- maintenance or upgrades on buildings or structures
- financing costs, including interest or debt financing
- costs related to obtaining resources used on the project, including interest on loans, job advertising and recruiting, and contract negotiations
- non-project related staff training and development costs
- costs related to preparing the grant application, preparing any project reports (except costs of independent audit reports we require) and preparing any project variation requests
- conference attendance, and associated travel
- health insurance, travel insurance, foreign currency, airport and related travel taxes, passports and visas
- entertainment and hospitality costs
- personal subscriptions (e.g. personal journal subscriptions), or personal membership of professional organisations and groups, or airline club memberships
- communications costs (mobiles, telephone calls)
These lists are not exhaustive and apply only to the expenditure of the grant funds. For more information, interested parties are encouraged to thoroughly read the program guidelines and FAQ set by the funding grant. Submissions of EOI must be lodged through the program online portal.
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