Digital dementia incubator wins $50m from MRFF

3 minute read

The five-year program will nurture start-ups with solutions for people living with dementia and cognitive decline.

Biotech incubator CUREator and digital health commercialisation specialists ANDHealth have been given $50 million from the Medical Research Future Fund to deliver a five-year dementia and cognitive decline incubator program. 

The BMTI (bio/med/tech incubator) Dementia and Cognitive Decline program will support innovative companies with non-dilutive funding to commercialise their therapies, devices and products to improve the lives of people living with and impacted by the disease. 

In collaboration with Dementia Australia, the program is designed to set participants up to be “investor-ready” upon program completion, with participating companies receiving access to research, translation and commercialisation expertise across early-stage therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics and digital health. 

Funding will be released in tranches upon the attainment of milestones and timelines designed to progress the participants’ journey to commercialisation. 

CEO of CUREator’s parent company Brandon BioCatalyst, Dr Chris Nave said he applauded the federal government’s commitment. 

“Nurturing the development of translational and commercialisation skills in life sciences drives growth in a sector that employs individuals in high-skilled roles and facilitates the creation of therapies that save lives and enhance well-being locally and globally,” he said. 

ANDHealth CEO and managing director Bronwyn Le Grice said incubator programs such as this were “proven accelerators”. 

“Programs such as the BMTI for Dementia and Cognitive Decline have proven that they can accelerate cutting-edge technologies from proof-of-concept to market and into the hands of patients,” she said.  

“These types of investments are critical as Australia looks to home-grown innovation to support its ageing population and drive healthier, longer lives for all Australians.” 

Dementia Australia has predicted that there will be 812,500 people living with dementia by 2054.  It’s estimated that there are currently 421,000 Australians living with dementia, supported by a caregiver network of 1.6 million.  

DA’s role in the BMTI program will be to lead a community advisory board comprising people impacted by dementia, to ensure the views of the community, health providers, patients and carers inform projects and guide the development of new technologies and treatments. 

“Dementia Australia is pleased to be actively involved with the delivery of this program with Brandon BioCatalyst and ANDHealth,” said DA’s executive director of services, advocacy and research, Dr Kaele Stokes. 

“We are committed to supporting the delivery of this important program by ensuring the voice of the consumers – both those living with dementia and their families and carers – are prioritised throughout this program and providing dementia-specific expertise for the incubator.” 

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