Thursday, November 1st, 2012

UniQuest congratulates UQ pain researcher on receiving an industry excellence award

Professor Maree Smith, the pain research innovator behind successful UniQuest start-ups QRxPharma Limited and Spinifex Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd, has been awarded a 2012 Life Sciences Queensland (LSQ) Industry Award for Excellence.

The Award, selected by peer vote for the past four years, is presented to individuals who have made “significant contributions to the performance and success of the Queensland life sciences industry” and “demonstrated a breadth of impact across the sector in Queensland”.

Congratulating Professor Smith on this latest honour, UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson, acknowledged the profound impact her ground-breaking research will have on pain therapies in the future.

“New drugs based on Professor Smith’s discoveries are close to market-ready, and that’s not only because of the quality and volume of her scientific endeavour; it’s also because she has played an active and integral role in the global biotech industry to accelerate access to a whole new approach to pain management,” Mr Henderson said.

“We are very proud to be working alongside Professor Smith to deliver commercial outcomes from her research, and we congratulate her and her team on drawing attention to the contribution Queensland university research is making towards common health issues affecting people all round the world.”

Professor Maree Smith has pursued life sciences translational research at UQ for over 20 years. Two key discoveries led to the formation of UniQuest start-up companies QRx Pharma Limited and Spinifex Pharmaceuticals.

QRxPharma was floated in 2007, listing on the Australian Securities Exchange with 25 million shares. It raised A$50 million, with an initial market capitalisation of A$150 million, setting an Australian record as the largest biotech IPO to date, and also the largest biotech capital raising at an IPO. Its lead candidate, MoxDuo is awaiting FDA approval.

In 2003, Professor Smith won a UniQuest Trailblazer for her idea for a novel analgesic, which has been developed by Spinifex Pharmaceuticals and shown to be effective in a recently completed Phase 2a clinical trial.

Professor Smith shared the LSQ Industry Excellence Award honour with Dr Jim Aylward, who patented Australia’s first FDA-approved cancer chemotherapeutic drug. The awards were presented in the presence of Her Excellency, Ms Penelope Wensley AC, The Governor of Queensland and the Patron of LSQ at the Life Sciences Queensland Limited Globally Engaging Network Event (GENE) on 26 October 2012.

About Professor Maree Smith

Professor Maree Smith is the co-founder and Executive Director of the UQ Centre for Integrated Preclinical Drug Development (CIPDD)/TetraQ, and a Professor of Pharmacy at UQ. In 2008, she received the Women in Technology Biotech Outstanding Achievement Award and in 2009 she was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Faculty of Pain Medicine (ANZCA). In 2011, she was elected a New Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). Professor Smith is Head of the Pain Research Group in the School of Pharmacy at UQ and directs its preclinical pharmacology research program, which focuses on improving our understanding of the mechanistic basis of a range of pain states and their pharmacological management, with a view to improving our ability to alleviate chronic pain in patients.


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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 1500+ patents it has created over 70 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than A$450 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at A$3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland including the Institute for Molecular Bioscience 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. A recent addition to the company is the Queensland Government-supported ilab technology business incubator and accelerator. 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 60+ countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.
Leanne Wyvill
P: +61 7 3365 4037
M: +61 409 767 199


UniQuest congratulates UQ pain researcher on receiving an industry excellence award



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