BioCurate Secures Renewed Funding Commitments, Announces Leadership Changes

Posted: 9 March 2023

BioCurate, an independently operated joint venture between The University of Melbourne and Monash University, with support from the Victorian State Government, announced today it has secured renewed funding commitments from its shareholders, totalling $20m ($10m each).

Combined with funds in reserve, the renewed commitments enable the continued delivery for several years against BioCurate’s mission to grow the Victorian and Australian biotech sector by translating promising early-stage research into high-quality, preclinical pharmaceutical candidates.

Funding will support the advancement of projects already in BioCurate’s portfolio, in therapeutic areas from oncology to anti-infectives, along with new projects identified for support under BioCurate’s Proof of Concept Fund.

The BioCurate board also announced several leadership changes, including the resignations of CEO, Dr. Damien Bates, and COO and Company Secretary, Linda Peterson, and the promotion of Dr. Chris Chan, to Executive Director, Research and Development.

Dr. Bates, who joined BioCurate four years ago and has served as CEO since 2021, is stepping down in April to take on a new role as Vice President, Head of Cell Therapy Development at Novo Nordisk, based in the United States.

Ms. Peterson, who has served as COO and Company Secretary since the company’s inception in 2016, will step down in March and is planning a short career break before taking on new opportunities in the sector.

Dr. Bates and Ms. Peterson have contributed enormously to BioCurate’s progress during their tenures, helping to build an exceptional team, strengthening the profile and reputation of the organisation across academia and industry, and attracting a stable of renowned industry partners.

The board has commenced its search for Dr. Bates and Ms. Peterson’s replacements.

Dr. Chris Chan, who is being promoted to Executive Director, Research and Development, joined BioCurate four years ago as Director of Protein Therapeutics. His promotion recognises his significant expertise & track record in commercialising research, and driving projects through key milestones. As Executive Director, Dr. Chan will lead BioCurate’s scientific teams and provide expert oversight across its portfolio of projects.

BioCurate has built a portfolio of promising research projects, which are receiving expert translational support from BioCurate and its industry partners. In addition, BioCurate’s Proof of Concept Fund is providing focused mentorship and support to research teams whose projects require additional experimental validation, with a view to bringing them into the BioCurate portfolio.

The Hon. John Brumby AO, Chair of the BioCurate Board, said:

“BioCurate is an important force in Australia’s biomedical research sector. The renewed funding is a vote of confidence and gives BioCurate the runway to continue its important work in translating discoveries from Victoria’s world-class bioscience laboratories into high quality therapies that can save and improve people’s lives.”

“The board and I are deeply grateful for the contributions Damien and Linda have made. Their passion and dedication have been instrumental in shaping BioCurate into what it is today. We wish them the very best in their future endeavours.”

“We congratulate Dr. Chan on his well-deserved promotion. BioCurate’s scientific teams and portfolio of projects will benefit from his significant experience and leadership and we look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Ken Jefferd, Managing Director, Research, Innovation and Commercialisation at The University of Melbourne, said:

“BioCurate is building important capabilities and expertise in translating local discoveries from our laboratories into commercially viable therapies. We remain committed to the collaborative BioCurate model, and are excited about its potential to make a real difference in tackling disease and solving some of the world’s most pressing health challenges.”

Leigh Petschel, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice-President, at Monash University, said:

“BioCurate provides a critical bridge between our world-class local medical researchers and industry, so our most promising discoveries have the best chance of becoming viable medicines that deliver real world impacts. We are pleased to extend our funding commitment and continue our work with BioCurate to drive positive health outcomes and economic returns.”

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