With Breast Cancer Awareness Month observed internationally throughout October, UniQuest will be promoting three potential new treatments for the disease, along with 100 other biotechnology innovations from Australian universities, at the annual AusBiotech Conference next week.

The novel breast cancer therapies being developed by The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute and Faculty of Health Sciences address tumour growth and the spread of cells to other parts of the body (metastases).

Other cancer-related research UniQuest will be marketing to pharmaceutical and biotech companies include a peptide-based immunotherapy for hormone-dependent cancers, therapies to combat infections and the side of chemotherapy, a device which supports adaptive radiation therapy for men with prostate cancer, less-toxic therapeutics for multiple myeloma, and a range of diagnostic tools.

“The AusBiotech Conference is the premier biotechnology meeting for the Asia Pacific region, attracting about 1500 delegates from 20 countries each year, which presents plenty of opportunities to talk to a wide range of representatives from major international biotech and pharmaceutical companies about licensing university-based technologies and about working with our researchers to find cures and better health management strategies,” said UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson.

“The Conference also attracts venture capital and private equity firms looking to invest in ground-breaking technologies. With University of Queensland innovations are now generating annual sales of more than A$3 billion globally, from vaccines like Gardasil to high-tech MRI machines and telehealth systems, there’s a lot interest in what the research institutions we represent are working on right now to benefit future generations.”

UniQuest will man booth #66 in the trade exhibition, where the innovation portfolio will be showcased on a flat screen and in the latest edition of UniQuest’s technology newsletter,The Deal Sheet. Visitors to the booth 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 WollongongMater Medical Research InstituteJames Cook UniversityUniversity of Technology SydneyUniversity of Tasmania, and Queensland Health.

UniQuest has helped to launch several Australian university 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. Pharmaceutical company Merck has distributed 65 million doses of Gardasil® since the vaccine’s global launch in 2006. It is now approved in 123 countries.
  •  UniQuest bio-pharmaceutical start-up QRxPharma Limited listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in May 2007. QRxPharma recently announced its successful completion of Phase 3 trials of its patented pain management product.
  •  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 recently secured A$6.3 million in the final tranche of an A$18.3 million series B round to fund clinical efficacy trials of its innovative neuropathic (nerve) pain therapy.  The Phase II trial will begin with post herpetic neuralgia patients, while further trials in peripheral nerve injury patients and cancer chemotherapy patients are expected to start by the end of the year. UniQuest established Spinifex in 2005 with a pre-seed investment from Uniseed, and the start-up company has since raised A$22.3 million to develop a market-ready product.

These three companies and other UniQuest start-ups are among the 1000+ Australian biotechnology and medical technology ventures contributing to the industry’s global growth. Of the 151 healthcare and biotech public life science companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, 27 are capitalised at greater than A$100 million.

AusBiotech 2011 will take place at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 16-19 October.

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