Calix partnering in antimicrobial resistance research program

by $34.5m in Australian Government funding

Robert van Merkestein \ May 9, 2022

Calix is pleased to announce it is a Tier 1 partner in a new $34.5m Australian Government-backed research project to address antimicrobial resistance in agribusiness, food and the environment.

Highlights:

  • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is internationally recognised as a global crisis, projected to cost the global economy US$100 trillion and cause 10 million deaths per year by 2050.
  • On 6 May 2022 Melissa Price, The Minister for Science and Technology and Defence Industries announced $34.5m in grant funding to establish the new Solving Antimicrobial Resistance in Agribusiness, Food and Environments (SAAFE) Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).
  • The SAAFE CRC (https://cooperativeresearch.org.au/crc-saafe/) will leverage more than $112 million in cash and in-kind contributions from 53 partners, working across five states and territories, and will operate over a 10-year period. Through focused innovation, CRC SAAFE will assist partners to develop, commercialise and apply radical new solutions, decision support and interventions.
  • Led by the University of South Australia, CRC SAAFE will undertake work with industrial partners, five universities and prestigious research organisations, such as the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the South Australian Research and Development Institute.
  • CRC SAAFE will improve the monitoring of AMR risks, develop new treatment solutions, and provide actionable insights for all industry stakeholders.
  • The CRC provides Calix with world-class resources and industrial connections to materially progress Calix’s Biotech business, through the application of Calix’s core technology to develop, refine and commercialise new antimicrobial materials to improve food safety and agricultural sustainability.

“We are excited to be a Tier 1 partner in the SAAFE CRC and welcome this funding announcement from the Australian Government. It will provide opportunities for Calix to grow our expertise and networks with Australian Universities and research groups, agricultural producers, water authorities and regulatory authorities. We congratulate the CRC bid team and all partners.

The recent Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) registration of our novel BOOSTER-Mag crop protection product confirms that Calix materials can be safely applied to suppress a destructive agricultural crop pest. Critically, our materials have also demonstrated efficacy on the suppression of a variety of fungal and bacterial pathogens, which are developing or have already developed resistance to conventional treatments. The CRC provides the means for Calix to fully exploit our core Biotech capabilities in agriculture, food safety and the environment more broadly. We anticipate the collaboration with agricultural producers and industry partners and research groups will lead to rigorous programmes targeting urgent industry needs.”

Calix Managing Director, Phil Hodgson

Recently completed collaborative studies with the University of Queensland Centre for Superbugs, supported by the Government’s Entrepreneurs program, has confirmed that Calix materials are both antibacterial and bactericidal and the mode of action has a low resistance development potential. This outcome aligns with efficacy data from independent agricultural studies indicating the materials provide quantitative suppression of bacterial crop diseases and, importantly, a broad spectrum of fungal pathogens, with a safe, environmentally friendly magnesium-based material.

It is anticipated that CRC partners will work together to develop and optimise new and novel antimicrobial materials for application in agriculture, water treatment and animal health.

As part of the SAAFE CRC, Calix will continue to develop its Biotech material manufacturing capability to develop and optimise new derivative materials. This exciting program compliments a $1m Australian Government Manufacturing Modernisation Fund (MMF) grant to Calix last year, which is helping to develop and transform our Biotech manufacturing and research capability at Bacchus Marsh in Victoria.

Calix’s involvement in the SAAFE CRC is in addition to our partnership in the CRC-P for Advanced Hybrid Batteries (announced August 2019), the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBI CRC) (announced March 2020), and the Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre (HILT CRC) (announced in June 2021). In all cases, Calix is able to leverage our current investments in our various line-of-business development programs into a wide research, industrial and stakeholder network, while continuing to own and exploit our core IP.

Find out more about Calix crop protection solution

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