Applications for the seventh round of the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund (VMRAF) are now open.
It offers both grants of up to $100,000 to support early-stage research projects with a practical application, as well as later-stage grants of up to $500,000 to help researchers bring their products and practices into clinical or health care settings.
One startup involved in the program was Avipep , which received $100,000 in 2021 to accelerate its work on novel engineered antibodies and attached cytotoxic drugs to treat a fast-growing cancer, multiple myeloma.
The funding helped the company to develop new antibodies, labelled “Avibody drug conjugates” (ADCs) to penetrate tumours to kill the myeloma cells. The medtech has now successfully tested their ADCs in killing human tumour cells at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, as part of a longer pathway to human clinical trials.
Avipep Chief Scientist Dr Peter Hudson said the VMRAF grant “has greatly accelerated both our design and manufacturing methods and also the pre-clinical testing of this new and important antibody-drug therapy “.
Multiple myeloma cause more than 1,000 Australian death annually.
Medical research minister Ben Carroll said that since 2017, the VMRAF has invested more than $20.4 million to advance Victorian medical research, supporting 113 projects including nanotechnology to improve female pelvic reconstructive surgery, the development of new compounds to treat severe lung infections and the incorporation AI in mammogram readings.
Applications for the seventh round of the VMRAF will close on December 1. Details at health.vic.gov.au/