$22m injection for medtech innovations   

A $22.3 million Biomedical Translation Bridge program will help fund the growing medical technologies and pharmaceuticals (MTP) sector, including via the Flinders University-led Medical Device Partnering Program.

The national MTPConnect program – via partnerships with the MDPP at Flinders University’s Medical Device Research Institute and two other national translation and commercialisation groups BioCurate (University of Melbourne and Monash University) and UniQuest (University of Queensland via its drug discovery arm) – will offer funding up to $1 million over three years to develop promising new therapies, health technologies and medical devices.

“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.

MTPConnect chief executive Dr Dan Grant says the Biomedical Translation Bridge program will support translation of Australian medical research projects 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,” Mr Grant says.

The program, part of the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund, is MTPConnect’s third scheme which will add to the 48 projects already supported across the country.

MDPP Director Professor Karen Reynolds, director of the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders at Tonsley, says: “MDPP has a 10-year track record of successfully facilitating early-stage ideation and research for new medical devices.

“Through the new BTB program, we will leverage our diverse connections and expertise to optimise the success of Australia’s medtech ventures,” Professor Reynolds says.

Professor Karen Reynolds, left, MTPConnect CEO Dr Dan Grant and Health Minister Greg Hunt announcing the latest national medtech grant partnership program in Canberra.

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 health-tech research,” he says.

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.

The latest $22.3 million program, announced by the Minister for Health Greg Hunt and the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews 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.

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College of Medicine and Public Health