Monash research commercialisation projects awarded CUREator incubation funding

Five Monash research commercialisation projects have been awarded round two funding by Australia’s national biotech incubator, CUREator, delivered by Brandon BioCatalyst, as part of a $12 million package.

The following Monash University projects will each receive $500,000 from the CUREator initiative:

  • GILZRx will develop a novel approach for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases including lupus. The funding will support experiments to develop an anti-inflammatory therapeutic small molecule, which will reduce reliance on glucocorticoids for  treatment. Read more on the GILZRx project led by Dr Sarah Jones and Professor Eric Morand from the Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences (MNHS).
  • xCystence Bio will develop a new treatment approach for polycystic kidney diseases. The project is a collaboration between Professor Ian Smythe, Dr Denny Cottle and Professor Paul Stupple and Dr Yichao Zhao, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS).
  • A drug discovery platform targeting polynucleotides led by Professor Bernie Flynn at MIPS.
  • Exosome Biosciences will develop exosomes from human epithelial cells for a range of therapeutic conditions. Read more on the Exosome Biosciences project, a collaboration between Professor Rebecca Lim from Hudson Institute of Medical Research and the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS), Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences .
  • Cincera Therapeutics Pty Ltd focuses on the discovery and development of new drugs that aim to treat inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. Funded by Brandon Capital, the company is led by Professor Bernie Flynn in collaboration with Professor Stuart Pitson from the University of South Australia. Read more about Cincera Therapeutics Pty Ltd.

Professor Doron Ben-Meir, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Engagement) and Senior Vice-President said the funding demonstrates the importance of university research to address the most significant health issues of our time.

“Receiving funding for five projects is a significant outcome and each of these projects will have the potential to attract further investment, reaffirming Monash’s leadership in the commercialisation space,” said Professor Ben-Meir.

"Investing in the research capabilities and capacities of universities has never been more critical, and early-stage research plays a pivotal role in advancing the next wave of medical therapies and innovations that hold the potential to make a genuine difference in enhancing health outcomes and saving lives. Congratulations to the researchers and the Monash Innovation and faculty business development teams for their incredible support of these research commercialisation projects."

Professor Bernie Flynn, who leads two out of the five Monash projects granted funding (namely, the 'Drug discovery platform targeting polynucleotides' and Cincera Therapeutics Pty Ltd), expressed the significance of securing this funding, stating, "This achievement represents a pivotal milestone for us, one that will facilitate the advancement of both technologies, attract further investment, and ultimately unleash their potential to positively enhance health outcomes."

GILZRx lead Dr Sarah Jones said “We are going to use the funding to run experiments to show that our new anti-inflammatory therapeutic small molecule treatment is a safe and effective way to reduce the need for glucocorticoids in treating autoimmune diseases and inflammation. Once we have solid data, this will provide a platform for GILZRx to secure investor funding for a bigger, multi-million-dollar drug discovery and development program. This will be a pivotal milestone for us.”

Nineteen groundbreaking biotech projects have been funded across the country to address global health concerns, advance treatments for lupus, motor neurone disease, brain and ovarian cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease.

About CUREator

CUREator is supported by the Australian Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund and CSIRO – Australia’s national science agency. CUREator was established by Brandon BioCatalyst in 2021 to support early-stage health and medical research and innovation in Australia through to proof-of-concept and beyond, providing opportunities for commercialisation. Find out more about CUREator.