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UniQuest, The University of Queensland’s (UQ) main commercialisation company, has facilitated a strategic research collaboration and antibody production agreement between Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology(AIBN) researchers and Biosceptre International Limited to develop a bioprocess for producing certain monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer.

Under the UniQuest agreement, the AIBN’s National Biologics Facility (NBF) will characterise candidate therapeutic monoclonal antibodies that bind Biosceptre’s novel proprietary cancer target, known as nf-P2X7.  The research and development will include antibody development, cell line development, bioprocess development and recombinant protein production in pre-commercial quantities ahead of preclinical trials.

UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson, said the partnership with Biosceptre reflected the commitment by UQ and the AIBN to work closely with private industry to discover new potential cancer therapies.

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and the disease with the highest unmet medical need. Biosceptre’s recognition of the AIBN’s capabilities demonstrates the value industry places on working with Australian university researchers to optimise the outcomes from both publicly and privately funded research for the benefit of the wider community,” Mr Henderson said.

The collaboration was made possible with support from Medigen, a privately held investment company which is linked to the Creata group of companies and utilises the services of Creata Ventures.

No commercial terms of the agreement have been disclosed.

Biosceptre’s CEO, Dr Cliff Holloway, said the research collaboration was a critical step towards preclinical and human clinical trials involving its monoclonal antibody targeting the non-functional form of P2x7, a major cellular receptor responsible for apoptosis (the process of normal cell death). 

“Our long-term goal is to develop a therapeutic monoclonal antibody capable of specifically detecting non-functional P2X7 and inducing cancer cell death without affecting normal healthy cells,” Dr Holloway said.

“Having evaluated a number of national and international providers of such antibody services, we have been impressed with the advanced equipment and quality of the infrastructure at the AIBN National Biologics Facility. The technical expertise of Dr David Chin, NBF Operations Manager, and his team in our pre-deal evaluation has already delivered value for Biosceptre.”

Biosceptre recently appointed eminent monoclonal antibody pioneer Sir Greg Winter as Chairman of its Scientific Advisory Board. The British biochemist, who developed the world's first fully human therapeutic antibody, included a tour of AIBN’s National Biologics Facility and a discussion on the AIBN–Biosceptre collaboration during his visit to Australia earlier this year.

Media enquiries:
UniQuest: Leanne Wyvill +61 7 3365 4037, 0409 767 199 or l.wyvill@uniquest.com.au
AIBN’s National Biologics Facility: Dr David Chin +61 7 3346 4269 or d.chin1@uq.edu.au
AIBN: Erik de Wit 0427 281 466, 3346 3962 or e.dewit@uq.edu.au
Biosceptre: Dr Cliff Holloway + 61 2 8115 0900
Medigen: Daniel Barton +61 2 98474459

About AIBN’s National Biologics Facility http://www.aibn.uq.edu.au/nbf
The focus of the National Biologics Facility (NBF) is production of high-quality recombinant proteins in pre-clinical or clinical quantities. The NBF specialises in use of mammalian cell expression technology for proteins with potential therapeutic or commercial uses. The facility was established in 2007 to assist Australian biotechnology companies and academic researchers to bridge the gap between laboratory experiments and the well-characterised cell line and bioprocesses required to produce material at the pilot scale. The NBF has a proven track record in mammalian cell line development and recombinant protein expression and purification. The Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at The University of Queensland houses the facility in a specially designed $13 million facility of labs, clean rooms and state-of-the-art equipment. The NBF has a staff of scientists and bioprocess engineers with world-class expertise in molecular biology, antibody engineering, mammalian cell culture, biopharmaceutical development and associated current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). Past clients include Avipep Pty Ltd and Cellmid Pty Ltd.

About Biosceptre www.biosceptre.com
Biosceptre International Limited is dedicated to the discovery and development of a new and novel cancer target and related therapies for the treatment of a broad range of cancer indications. The company’s core platform and Intellectual Property position is based on the discovery of a novel cancer biomarker known as ‘non-functional’ P2x7 (nf-P2X7) which has been identified in over 20 cancer indications tested to date. The company’s core focus is to validate nf-P2X7 as a therapeutic target and develop antibody products for use in proof of concept clinical studies in humans. Biosceptre was founded in Sydney in2001 and is an unlisted public company.

About Medigen www.creataventures.com
Medigen is a provider of growth equity capital to state-of-the-art medical, biotech, software and food technology companies. Medigen is linked to the Creata group of companies and utilises the services of Creata Ventures. Create Ventures have offices in Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA and investments spread throughout those regions. Medigen is a privately held investment company with significant commitments from its founders who look to partner with outstanding companies to develop services and solutions that address significant unmet needs. Creata Ventures has an experienced investment team with experience from early stage discovery to late stage product development and launch. It also has extensive operational know how and business development along with expansive international contacts.