Publish Date: 
Tuesday, August 2, 2022 - 09:45

TRI-based UQ research groups awarded more than $1.5 million in funding

Two University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (UQDI) research groups based at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) have been  awarded more than $1.5 million in funding to develop new treatments for type 1 diabetes and cancer.

Working in partnership with researchers, UQ’s commercialisation company, UniQuest, has secured $3 million in funding for four startups, including TRI-based Liperate Therapeutics Pty Ltd and Carsinosa Pty Ltd, under the first round of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF)’s national $40 million CUREator Scheme.

Liperate Therapeutics Pty Ltd, established by TRI-based UQDI Professor Ranjeny Thomas, has been awarded $1.5m for a clinical trial of an immune therapy designed to preserve insulin producing beta cells in recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes patients. This may help the patients extend insulin-independence or even achieve remission of the disease.

Building on previous preclinical development conducted at University of Queensland, that was supported by extensive, long-term funding from JDRF and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the CUREator funding will now see this therapy tested in its first-in-human clinical trial.

Carsinosa will 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 UQDI and progressed in collaboration with the Queensland Emory Drug Discovery Initiative (QEDDI).

The other two startups to receive funding are Cassowary Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd and Frontier Inflammasome Therapeutics Pty Ltd.

CUREator helps to rapidly progress preclinical research or early-stage clinical programs to advanced proof of concept stage to make them ‘investment ready’.

The CUREator Scheme is run by Brandon BioCatalyst, which is managed by Brandon Capital, a venture capital firm with an office at TRI. CUREator aims to grow and support up to 40 promising preclincial and early-stage clinical companies across multiple funding rounds.