A suite of anti-cancer reformulations developed by researchers at the University of Wollongong (UOW), is to be commercialised by new Australian start-up company, WarraPharm Pty Ltd.
WarraPharm develops proprietary reformulations of widely prescribed anti-neoplastic agents targeting common cancers.
Emeritus Professor John Bremner at UOW’s School of Chemistry and Professor Phillip Clingan, in collaboration with Associate Professor Marie Ranson, developed the technology to address many of the adverse events associated with metastatic colorectal cancer treatments over the past 50 years.
As well as combining two of the most commonly prescribed anti-cancer agents (5-fluorouracil and leucovorin), the lead reformulation Fluorodex highlights the benefits of cross-discipline research, in this case medicinal chemistry, biological science and clinical practice. Professors Clingan and Ranson are both directors of the recently established Cancer Continuum Research Program at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI*), where such research is gaining momentum.
WarraPharm researcher Dr Tamantha Stutchbury, reporting on the preclinical testing of Fluorodex, said the reformulation indicated comparable outcomes to current standard-of-care chemotherapies.
“Adverse events associated with colorectal cancer treatment, such as peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), phlebitis (vein inflammation), hand-foot syndrome (tender skin and redness) and sepsis (infection) are particularly unpleasant for patients. The latest toxicity and safety data has shown Fluorodex to have a significantly reduced adverse event profile,” said Dr Stutchbury.
“This suggests treatment outcomes could be improved, because patients would be less likely to have to interrupt or discontinue their chemotherapy. The Fluorodex formulation could alleviate some of those reactions and make it possible for the full benefits of the chemotherapy to be gained.”
“We see one of the main benefits of Fluorodex is the ability to deliver a highly cost-effective chemotherapeutic regimen that patients can tolerate over repeated treatment cycles,” said WarraPharm CEO, Dr Jeremy Chrisp.
“With our commercialisation strategy in place, WarraPharm is on track for the Fluorodex formulation to enter clinical trials in late 2010,” he said.
Working with the UOW’s commercialisation partner, UniQuest, WarraPharm has secured an exclusive licence for the intellectual property surrounding Fluorodex and other novel reformulations. WarraPharm was recently awarded a COMET grant from AusIndustry to help advance the technology towards its commercial milestones, and was a finalist in the 2009 UQ Business School's Enterprize business plan competition.
WarraPharm also gratefully acknowledges the support it has received from the local Wollongong based Cancer Carers organisation, which has contributed substantially to the development of Fluorodex.
* Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute was established in 2008 as a joint initiative between the University of Wollongong and the South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service.
UniQuest Pty Limited
Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups, benchmarking in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1,500+ patents it has created over 60 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $400 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at $3 billion. UniQuest now 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, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. 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.
P: +61 7 3365 4037
M: +61 0 409767199
Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups, benchmarking 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 a quarter of a billion dollars to take UQ technologies to market. Sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are now running at $5.2 billion per year. UniQuest also commercialises innovations developed at 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. As well, UniQuest can access thousands of researchers and experts and tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the needs of industry and government. UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance projects. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented projects in 45 countries throughout Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa. For more information about UniQuest, please visit www.uniquest.com.au.
Dr Jeremy Chrisp
P: +61 421 012 268