Dr Kate Schroder, Deputy Director, IMB Centre for Inflammation Research
Dr Kate Schroder, Deputy Director, IMB Centre for Inflammation Research

Inflazome Ltd, a company founded on molecules and associated intellectual property discovered at The University of Queensland and Trinity College Dublin and licenced from UniQuest has closed a Series A financing round of €15 million (A$22 million).  

The investment, co-led by two leading global life science investment firms, Novartis Venture Fund and Fountain Healthcare Partners, is one of the largest biotech series A investments for intellectual property originating from an Australian university.

Inflazome, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is developing first-in-class treatments for inflammatory diseases, developing inhibitors of the inflammasome, a key biological target that regulates our innate immune response, now associated with a wide variety of diseases driven by chronic inflammation some of which have limited treatment options. 

The intellectual property is based on the research of Professor Matt Cooper, Dr Kate Schroder, Dr Rebecca Coll and Dr Avril Robertson from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience in collaboration with Professor Luke O’Neill from Trinity College Dublin.  Following a highly productive joint collaboration resulting in a Nature Medicine publication, the jointly owned intellectual property is now licensed exclusively to Inflazome.  UniQuest has been responsible for the commercialisation of the research on behalf of both institutions.

The investment will allow Inflazome to further develop inflammasome inhibitors, with the initial tranche of investment helping to advance the compounds towards the clinic for the lead indications.

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the deal signalled global market confidence in UniQuest and the quality of research at UQ.

“This deal is an endorsement of the quality of the research at The University of Queensland and the world leading life science research institute, the Institute for Molecular Bioscience. We are grateful for the confidence shown in our research as demonstrated by the commitment of Novartis Venture Fund and Fountain Healthcare Partners,” Dr Moss said.

Dr Manus Rogan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Fountain Healthcare Partners and chair of the board of Inflazome said “Considering the breadth and depth of possible applications, the commercial potential for a successful small molecule inhibitor of this key target is clearly in the billions of dollars range.”

Florent Gros, Managing Director at Novartis Venture Fund said, “We have searched extensively for inhibitors of the inflammasome. We are very excited by the prospects for Inflazome; the company has outstanding assets, expertise and capabilities.”

Trinity College’s Senior Patents & Licensing Manager Dr Emily Vereker said “the high calibre collaboration from both institutions that led to the commercial deal highlights the importance of cross disciplinary research, marrying medicinal chemistry and biological target identification.”