Grants

The 15 startup ideas set to share $8 million in government grants

Dinushi Dias /

Dr Alan Taylor, executive chairman of Clarity Pharmaceuticals

Fifteen innovative projects tackling issues from mental health and cancer to agriculture and recreation will share in more than $8 million in government grants as part of the federal government’s entrepreneurs’ program.

The Accelerating Commercialisation grant, which has been funding new projects since April last year, has invested $62.1 million to more than 100 businesses with the aim of commercialising their ideas.

Assistant minister for innovation Wyatt Roy says the latest round will see more than $8 million go towards helping Australian products and services break new ground in markets here and overseas.

“More Aussie innovators need to take their rightful place on the world stage, reaping the benefits of international exposure while creating a stronger economy for Australia based on creative thinking and entrepreneurial drive,” Roy says.

“These ideas are providing solutions to real world problems in key industry areas such as medical technologies, advanced manufacturing and food and agribusiness.”

Clarity Pharmaceuticals, which specialises in new therapies for serious disease, was awarded a $1 million grant to fund a clinical trial of SARTATE, a novel radiopharmaceutical to treat cancer.

Created out of licensed technology from the University of Melbourne and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, a “first-in-human” trial of SARTATE was completed on 10 patients with neuroendocrine tumours, at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in late 2015.

Clarity Pharmaceuticals executive chairman Dr Alan Taylor says the pre-trial helped them see if SARTATE actually hits cancerous cells and how long it stays at the tumour site, enabling them to optimise the dose, maximise efficacy and minimise side effects on other parts of the body.

“We infuse the product into the patient to see how much is in the cancer,” Taylor tells StartupSmart.

“It worked very well,” he says.

With the government grant, Taylor says they will now undertake a clinical trial to treat 30 people.

“We have a new drug that not only hits neuroendocrine tumours but also hits neuroblastoma, which is one of the biggest cancer killers of children under five,” he says.

Taylor, who is a scientist by training but also spent 10 years in investment banking, says grants like this are crucial for taking science out of Australian lab rooms and into the community.

“This current funding will help us develop SARTATE through efficacy, that’s truly clinical development, and puts the product in a position to save the lives of adults and children,” he says.

“Grant funding and R&D tax incentives are incredibly important to continue this work in Australia. Otherwise, we would have to move offshore.”

Fellow grant winner MetaCDN received over $350,000 for its live streaming platform StreamShark.

MetaCDN founder Dr James Broberg says it was used to stream the 2016 Australian Open in VR headsets outside the Rod Laver Arena.

The grant will help them complete product development, he says.

“It will help us target exciting opportunities around live and 360 degree video, assisting us to achieve new sales and partnerships in key segments,” Broberg tells StartupSmart.

The 15 funded projects

  1. Burmon, QLD: $150,000 for new roof truss tie down system for global building industry
  2. Opturion, VIC: $200,000 for end-to-end supply chain optimisation and collaboration platform
  3. Mindstar Enterprises, QLD: $320,000 to commercialise Mindstar wellbeing and mental health solutions
  4. Sine Group, SA: $345,923 for mobile visitor access and contractor management software platform
  5. Concourse Golf, NSW: $349,962 for smart wheels on golf buggies
  6. MetaCDN, VIC: $350,986 for next generation video streaming platform StreamShark
  7. Liquid Management, QLD: $450,000 for global development of Liquid State’s “Synapsis” communications technology
  8. RFID Technologies, VIC: $525,000 for chipless RFID to authenticate pharmaceuticals
  9. Agriwebb, VIC: $572,000 for software development transforming livestock industry
  10. Minomic International, NSW: $572,445 for new prostate cancer test
  11. Protego Medical, VIC: $597,555 for sternal protection device for cardiac surgery
  12. Water Find, SA: $790,702 for water agency management platform
  13. Cylite, VIC: $900,000 for 3D ocular imaging and metrology using hyper-parallel coherence tomography
  14. Southern Innovation Trading, VIC: $1 million for GradeScan which instantly analyses ore quality for minerals processing
  15. Clarity Pharmaceuticals, NSW: $1 million for development of cancer therapy SARTATE

This article was first published by StartupSmart. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Soundcloud.

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Dinushi Dias

Dinushi Dias is a freelance journalist and a former StartupSmart reporter and multimedia content producer. She is the co-founder of Melbourne-based production house Dinushi & Power.

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