In 2017, the new Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF) contributed $23.3 million towards the commercialisation of four new products from Australian biotechnology firms.
The BTF is an equity co-investment venture capital program supporting the commercialisation of medical breakthroughs in Australia. It was established as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, with $250 million from provided by the Australian Government, and a further $251 million from the private sector.
Its focus is on early stage companies that have an annual revenue of below $25 million, and are at a stage of development in which they may struggle to attract substantial investment in Australia.
The first project selected for funding was a new treatment for peanut allergy in children, which received $10 million. Prota Therapeutics is developing and commercialising an oral immunotherapy developed by Professor Mimi Tang from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne.
The project could result in a lasting cure for peanut allergy, the commones cause of anphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.
The oral immunotherapy treats children with a combination of the probiotic combination of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus, together with peanut protein. According to the MCRI, a clinical trial in 2013 found that 82% of children who received the combination therapy developed a long-lasting tolerance to peanuts in their diet.
The other three projects supported through BTF investments are: