Groundbreaking UQ research into developing new treatments for conditions such as cancer, inflammatory diseases and type 1 diabetes has received recognition and funding support from a national incubator for biomedical startup companies.
Working in partnership with University of Queensland researchers, UQ commercialisation company UniQuest has secured $3 million in funding for the four startups under the first round of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF)’s national $40 million CUREator Scheme.
CUREator helps to rapidly progress preclinical research or early-stage clinical programmes to advanced proof of concept stage, to make them ‘investment ready’.
UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the funding for the four startups recognised UQ’s leadership role in biomedical research, technology transfer and commercialisation.
“It’s an acknowledgement of how innovative research excellence from UQ’s Institutes and Faculties is translated into real-world impact,” Dr Moss said.
“The success of these four UQ startups is testament to the incredible hard work and remarkable, high-quality knowledge that our researchers continue to produce.
“Each of these startups has the potential to develop new treatments for conditions with a large healthcare cost, which is an exciting prospect and I congratulate all involved.”
The four UQ companies awarded funding are:
- Cassowary Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd – to develop treatment of neuropathic pain that is often poorly alleviated by current medications. This builds on research from UQ’s Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, Faculty of Science and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).
- Frontier Inflammasome Therapeutics Pty Ltd – to develop small molecule inhibitors involved in inflammatory diseases such as those resulting from viral respiratory infections. Developed at UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) in collaboration with UniQuest’s drug discovery incubator, the Queensland Emory Drug Discovery Initiative (QEDDI).
- Carsinosa – to develop a first-of-its-kind oral small molecule drug to be used in the treatment of a range of difficult-to-treat cancers including metastatic prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and colon cancer. This is based on research initiated at UQ’s Diamantina Institute and progressed in collaboration with QEDDI.
- Liperate Therapeutics Pty Ltd – awarded $1.5m for a clinical trial of an immune therapy at UQ’s Diamantina Institute that aims to help preserve insulin production in recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes patients. This is to help them go for as long as possible without needing insulin.
The CUREator Scheme is being run by Brandon BioCatalyst and aims to grow and support up to 40 promising preclinical and early-stage clinical companies across multiple funding rounds.