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$3 million awarded to five antimicrobial resistance-related projects

Manufacturing News

CUREator by Brandon BioCatalyst, a biotech incubator, has announced the allocation of $3 million to five life sciences projects through its third round.

The projects are part of the Minimising Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) stream of CUREator, which was established in 2021. and sponsors projects ranging from discovery to clinical development stages.

AMR is a growing problem of disease-causing microbes resisting the effects of medicines, such as antibiotics, designed to kill them. 

One of the five projects is Spritz-OM — with members from Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia — which is developing a nasal spray aimed at preventing childhood ear infections and reducing antibiotic use.

It will receive $500,000 from the CSIRO-supported minimising AMR stream to manufacture their candidate for Phase 1 clinical trials upon the achievement of milestones.

According to a statement from UWA on Thursday, the nasal spray protects against ear infection using “friendly bacteria”, and targets the problem of middle ear infection, or otitis media, in young children.

Associate Professor Lea-Ann Kirkham, the inventor of Spritz-OM and the project’s lead, said over 700 million children will suffer an ear infection this year, with one in four experiencing recurrent infections and requiring antibiotics. 

“For First Nations children, this figure rises to one in two children,” said Kirkham.

“This funding support from CUREator and the CSIRO will springboard Spritz-OM toward clinical trials to assess our candidate’s safety and efficacy for preventing childhood ear infections.”

CUREator was established in 2021 with $40 million of funding from the federal government’s Medical Research Future Fund, and has received $6 million over two separate funding rounds from CSIRO.

Other grant recipients in the stream include research institutes and companies building web-based platforms to support clinical decision pathways and new therapeutic approaches to prolong the efficacy of antibiotics.

Picture: Microbiologists Dr Lea-Ann Kirkham and Dr Elke Seppanen (credit Telethon Kids Institute)

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