06:08am Saturday 14 December 2019

Quest for cancer solutions heads to biotech market

On the quest for better outcomes for cancer patients, UQ researchers at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) have developed TheraPhil: an “off the shelf” product which has the potential to prevent neutropenia.

Neutropenia is a high-risk blood disorder that occurs when chemotherapy destroys the white blood cells needed to defend the body from bacterial and fungal infections.

Following high-dose chemotherapy, neutropenia renders cancer patients susceptible to infections, which can result in increased hospitalisations and sometimes death.

With TheraPhil ready for Phase 1 clinical trials, finding a commercial partner has become a priority for UniQuest, UQ’s main commercialisation company.

“We have been working closely with the TheraPhil research team to create a commercially viable prospect for potential investors with the financial resources to take this product further,” UniQuest Managing Director David Henderson said.

“TheraPhil is based on valuable intellectual property which could offer a range of financial, clinical and economic returns to the University, Australia’s biotech industry and the health services sector.

“We are confident there’s an investment or licensing partner on the horizon who wants to help get this product into hospitals for the benefit of patients in critical need, and we’ll be letting the industry know more about it at Ausbiotech.”

Other UniQuest projects in focus at Ausbiotech this year include technologies that can make vaccines more effective, discoveries that could lead to the prevention and treatment of Type 1 Diabetes, and a potential candidate for a prostate cancer vaccine.

Visitors to UniQuest’s trade display (booth 177) will learn about a range of market-ready projects, from a clinically validated telehealth system for Allied Health Professionals to a program empowering health professionals with proven strategies to support patients’ compliance with their medication.

The diversity of biotech breakthroughs also includes an innovation that limits heat stress and promotes rapid recovery for people working in dangerously hot conditions, and several technologies related to medical testing devices.

These opportunities to collaborate on ground-breaking biotech developments are based on research from The University of Queensland’s science faculties and institutes, as well as UniQuest’s research commercialisation partners: University of Wollongong, Mater Medical Research Institute, James Cook University, University of Technology Sydney, University of Tasmania, and two ARC Centres of Excellence (for integrative legume research and functional nanomaterials).

At the Ausbiotech Conference, which attracts some 1500 delegates from 20 countries each year, UniQuest representatives will network with potential investors, licensees and research partners to advance its portfolio of technologies and promote the capabilities of UniQuest-associated research teams.

UniQuest has helped to launch several Australian life sciences innovations onto the global market since 1984:

• UniQuest was involved with the early commercialisation of the HPV technology discovered by Dr Ian Frazer and his late research partner Dr Jian Zhou, which has contributed to the development of a vaccine for cervical cancer. More than 55 million doses of Gardasil have been distributed worldwide since its 2006 launch.

• UniQuest bio-pharmaceutical start-up QRxPharma Limited listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in May 2007 and made history as Australia’s biggest biotechnology float. This month QRxPharma announced a Placement which raised A$14 million and which was significantly oversubscribed.

• Another UniQuest start-up, ImpediMed Ltd, closed oversubscribed when it listed on the ASX and as a publicly-listed company in September 2007. It recently became the first company to offer FDA, CE and TGA cleared L-Dex devices for simple point of care, standardised and objective metrics to aid in the clinical assessment of lymphoedema.

• Spinifex Pharmaceuticals Pty Limited attracted $10.5M this year in an expanded “Tranche 2” Series B capital raising for developing its neuropathic pain therapies. UniQuest established Spinifex in 2005 with a pre-seed investment from Uniseed.

Ausbiotech 2010 will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 19-22 October.

Media enquiries: Leanne Wyvill +61 7 3365 4037, 0409 767 199 or l.wyvill@uniquest.com.au

About UniQuest
Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups. With more than 80 staff and group revenues exceeding A$320 million in the past five years, the company is also benchmarked in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. It has created more than 60 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $340 million to take university technologies to market. UniQuest commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, the Mater Medical Research Institute and two ARC Centres of Excellence. UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year. UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 46 countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa. For more information about UniQuest, please visit www.uniquest.com.au.

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