Shark-based biotech Adalta (ASX:1AD) is one of 17 companies that have won federal government funding.

The company’s ‘i-body’ platform is based on the shape of a shark antibody, which is one tenth the size of traditional antibodies. Its lead i-body protein is AD-214, which is being developed for lung disease and is due to enter initial clinical trials next year.

The company has been awarded $1m over two years for AD-214 from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) through the Biomedical Translation Bridge (BTB) program.

The funding is to develop and clinically evaluate a radio-labeled version of AD-214 for imaging of the cell surface receptor CXCR4 in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients.

Adalta is well cashed up, with $7.59m in the bank at the end of September.


Funding up and coming biotech ideas

The MRFF was set up in 2015 to fund medical research, and in July was worth $17.5 billion. Full capitalisation is $20 billion and expected by 2020-21, and it invests about $650m a year.

The $22.3m BTB program is co-invested with industry.

The government is putting in $5.8m to this round of the BTB program, with industry kicking in $10.6m. Eight projects are sharing the money. The others are:

  • DBS Technologies is developing a device providing adaptive deep brain stimulation for people with Parkinson’s disease.
  • MecRx is developing novel, small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of lung cancer.
  • University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Dental School is moving a dental implant towards commercialisation.
  • The Australian National University is developing rapid and objective eye and brain testing for better management of ophthalmic and neurological diseases.
  • SpeeDx is seeking to commercialise its ResistancePlus MABSC/MAC test, a rapid in vitro diagnostic tool to accurately and quickly identify bacterial infections related to cystic fibrosis, while using gene markers to predict antibiotic susceptibility or resistance.
  • Vast Bioscience is developing 3D small molecule sodium channel inhibitors for the treatment of post-surgical pain.
  • Noisy Guts has developed a non-invasive acoustic belt that uses artificial intelligence to decode gut noises to accurately diagnose and monitor common gut disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Another nine projects are sharing $8.9m as part of a separate program called BioMedTech Horizons. If you’re wondering what might be in the pipeline for the ASX one day, these are the other nine:

  • Cyban is developing a novel brain pulse oximeter to monitor brain oxygen levels following traumatic brain injury.
  • Macuject is developing artificial intelligence-based clinical decision support software for intravitreal management of age-related macular degeneration.
  • PolyActiva is developing sustained release eye implants for delivery of steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to the eye for the prevention and treatment of macular oedema.
  • Enlighten Imaging is developing a novel hyperspectral retinal imaging platform for next generation AI diagnostics.
  • Kunovus Technologies is developing an elastomeric motion-preserving implant to treat lumbar spine osteoarthritis as an alternative to fusion.
  • IDE Group, is developing a control sleeve for intravitreal injection systems.
  • IntelliDesign is developing portable bedside low field magnetic resonance imaging.
  • WearOptimo is advancing cardiac microwearables for rapid, minimally-invasive personalised cardiovascular medicine.
  • Advanced Genetic Diagnostics is developing genetic tests to identify people at high risk of heart disease.