Australasian Biotechnology, Vol. 11, No. 5, 2001, pp. 29-32
Code Number: au01058
The Association now has 84 Corporate and Institute Members, as well as 593 Individual and 57 Student members. In this issue, and subsequent issues, we will be introducing our Corporate and Institute Members to readers.
Arnold Bloch Leibler
Arnold Bloch Leibler is a Melbourne-based specialist commercial law firm. With clients spread throughout Australia and the world, the firm has developed a reputation for results-oriented, commercially focused services.
Just as biotechnology is a set of powerful technologies, rather than an industry in the classical sense, the firm's approach to client issues is to use a set of proven and powerful business and legal tools, rather than simply focussing on the law.
Since the firm's inception, it has worked with entrepreneurs to help them commercialise their innovations. At Arnold Bloch Leibler, many of our lawyers have Science qualifications. This helps them when taking the time to learn about clients" businesses and in devising individualised business strategy.
Australia has a poor track record in commercialising public research and development. As a result, many innovations have ultimately been commercialised offshore. Key impediments have included a lack of business and management skill and experience, and a poor understanding of the investment environment. With our help, these impediments are removed.
The firm has been actively involved in the biotechnology sector for the past five years with clients involved at all levels, including venture capital funds, research institutions and biotech companies. The firm helps its clients:
Australian Cancer Technology
Creating a new Biotechnology Research Company
Australian Cancer Technology Limited (Aust Cancer) is a new biotechnology company which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Formerly Exodus Minerals, the Company's change in strategic direction occurred in early 2001 following the acquisition of a leading medical research project in Australia.
As its name implies, the Company's primary focus is to build a leading biotechnology company focused on the development of innovative cancer treatments. The need for next generation drugs and treatments with an improved therapeutic index is well established. Value will be realised through the creation of Intellectual Property (IP) suitable for licence or partnering deals with major international pharmaceutical companies.
The Company continues to actively pursue new opportunities.
In the first instance, Aust Cancer will operate in a virtual capacity, funding and managing research and development at commercial and academic collaborative centres. Later stages of drug development such as registration, marketing and distribution of new products will be achieved in alliances with major pharmaceutical companies.
Aust Cancer's management has significant experience in public company management, the pharmaceutical industry and in start-up biotechnology ventures, including the field of oncology. The team has successfully negotiated major strategic alliances within the pharmaceutical industry, overseen product development programmes for biopharmaceuticals, including registrations with the FDA, and managed publicly-listed biopharmaceutical companies.
The therapy of cancer remains one of the greatest challenges in medicine. The Company's p53 cancer vaccine is set to enter human trials in August this year. The technology is based on synthetic human antibodies to the p53 tumour suppressor gene from lymph nodes of individuals with colon cancer who showed natural immunity to mutated p53. These antibodies are the only entirely human p53 antibodies currently available in the world.
Targeting p53 is attractive as approximately 50% of all cancers have mutations in p53. This includes common cancers such as breast, bowel, prostate and lung. The mutations occur relatively early in the progression of cancer, and if successful, the drug could be used to treat cancer before it has spread to other organs.
Autogen Limited ("Autogen") is an Australian biotechnology company whose primary research is directed toward the discovery of genes linked to common diseases. The Chief Operations Officer at Autogen is Professor Greg Collier.
Autogen has developed a successful approach, based on differential gene expression, to finding new genes related to common diseases. It involves application of advanced robotic micro-array technology and, importantly, access to an excellent animal model for these human disease states.
To date, the company has concentrated on its Obesity and Diabetes Gene Discovery Program, which has led to preliminary patent applications on several novel genes. The Program's objective is to discover genes associated with Type 2 diabetes and the related condition of obesity, and to characterise their protein products as potential targets for treatment with pharmaceutical agents.
Two genes that have proceeded to the advanced stages of Autogen's gene discovery strategy are Beacon and Tanis. Beacon has been shown to regulate food intake and body weight in an animal model of obesity. The Tanis gene product has a role in Type 2 diabetes.
The company is poised to include the prevalent mental conditions, depression and anxiety, in its gene discovery program.
Autogen's Research and Development team includes a number of internationally- recognised senior scientists. The Company's Scientific Advisory Board includes a number of eminent Australian scientists.
The Company has established strategic collaborations with academic institutions for the gene discovery phase of its programs. The second stage of the programs - drug development - involves the establishment of a suitable assay system for high-throughput screening in the search for agents which may influence the target's activity. When this stage is reached, Autogen's policy is to initiate commercialisation proceedings with pharmaceutical companies.
The National Association for Crop Production and Animal Health
Avcare represents over 50 manufacturers and distributors of products that keep our crops and animals healthy, protect our environment and provide an abundant, affordable, nutrient-rich food supply. Avcare members represent over 90% of the crop production, animal health and agricultural biotechnology market in Australia.
For more than 40 years, Avcare has acted as the predominant voice of the Australian crop production and animal health industry. Our staff of technical, regulatory, veterinary and public affairs specialists have led industry efforts to ensure:
Along with our member companies, we work to achieve a fair, science-based regulatory system and encourage research and development.
We also aim to help the public understand the significant environmental, health and economic benefits industry products provide. Used safely and responsibly, these products will foster a better future for us all.
The focus of Avcare's activities is on regulatory and public affairs, including decision-makers in regards to:
Biomedical Investments Limited
Biomedical Investments Limited
Contact: Justin Birchmore Telephone: 08 9323 7720 Facsimile: 08 9323 7771 Email: email@example.com
Biomedical Investments Limited is an Australian public company, audited and limited by shares.
Established in February 2000 by its majority shareholder, merchant-banking firm, Nelson Capital (http://www.nelsoncapital.com.au), the Company seeks to assist in the corporate skills, global contacts and access to capital. Its key investment is currently a majority equity position in Oral Health Care Limited, which Biomedical Investments incorporated to commercialise a unique, sector specific therapeutic product through wholesale international distribution. Further product development through research and development is envisaged.
Biota Holdings Limited
Established in 1985, Biota Holdings Limited is a biotechnology company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Biota's core research focus is the discovery and treatment of new human pharmaceuticals for the treatment of viral respiratory infections such as influenza, the common cold and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Biota is best known for the development of its anti-influenza drug Relenza® that was approved in 1999 for marketing of therapeutic use by major international regulatory bodies. Relenza is now approved in over 51 countries including Australia, United States and Japan, and for treatment in eight countries. The company has also developed a point-of-care influenza diagnostic test kit, FLU OIA®. Influenza kills up to 20,000 people in the United States every year and up to 2,000 people in Australia.
Relenza is delivered via an inhaler direct to the airways where the virus replicates and is effective against all known strains of influenza. It is the first of a new generation of drugs known as neuraminidase inhibitors that act to prevent infection from one cell to another within the respiratory tract. In 1990 Biota licensed the development and commercialization rights to this product to Glaxo Wellcome. Biota is currently working on a second-generation influenza treatment.
FLU OIA® is licensed to BioStar Inc. of Boulder, Colorado for manufacture and sales in the United States. The diagnostic test kit can provide a result in fifteen minutes, detecting influenza A and B. FLU OIA is available in Australia, the US and Japan.
In November 2000 Biota expanded its operations internationally with the establishment of Biota, Inc. in San Diego, California.
Biota is one of a few small group of companies that have successfully developed and commercialized medical products on the world market.
BioTech Capital Limited
BioTech Capital Limited ("BioTech") is an investment fund with a focus on building a portfolio of 10 to 20 investments in Australian biotechnology companies. It has assets of $40 million making it one of the largest pure biotechnology funds in Australia.
Individual investments will typically be in the order of $2 million to $4 million. No more than 30% of investors" funds will be held in any one company. Ownership of an investee company will not exceed 50%. Both shares and options are listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (Code: BTC).
Who Manages BioTech Capital Limited?
BioTech is managed by Challenger BioTech Management Limited - a wholly owned subsidiary of Challenger International Limited.
Challenger International Ltd is a diversified financial services group with in excess of A$6 billion in assets under management.
Areas of Focus
The investment policy of the fund is to focus on the following areas: Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics, Developers of medical devices, Developers of enabling technologies.
The Company will spread its investments from early stage up to and including pre-IPO and placement opportunities. The aim will be to have a broad spectrum of investment maturities ensuring a steady stream of "liquidity events" as projects reach IPO status.
Current Portfolio (% of total funds)
Proteome Systems (8%), Pacific Knowledge Systems (5%), Alchemia (5%), X-Ray Technologies (10%).
Board of Directors
Bill Ireland (Chairman) Hary Karelis (Managing Director) Alastair Davidson Michael Boyd Irene Yun Lien Lee
City of Melbourne
GPO Box 1603M Melbourne Victoria 3001 Telephone: 03 9658 9658
City of Melbourne is committed to ensuring business development, job growth and enhancement of business infrastructure in Melbourne. In partnership with business and all levels of government, the City promotes the development of Melbourne as a smart, creative and progressive global city.
The commercialisation of innovation is critical to the continued economic development of Melbourne and City of Melbourne supports the creation of innovative new business through programs that assist start-up and expansion of innovative businesses and facilitate commercialisation in emerging industries.
In the biomedical and biotechnology sectors, City of Melbourne is committed to facilitating and supporting Melbourne's growing research and business capabilities in the global market.
C-Qentec Diagnostics Pty Ltd
Advanced Risk Management Tools for Agriculture
General Manager: Bruce Howie Level 6, 51 Rawson Street Epping NSW 2121 Telephone: 02 8876 3000 Facsimile 02 8876 3030 Website: http://www.c-qentec.com
C-Qentec is specifically focused on the development and commercialization of advanced diagnostics for agriculture. Through its research collaborations with CSIRO, state Departments of Agriculture, CRCs and Industry Research and Development Corporations C-Qentec has access to world-leading Australian research in DNA and protein diagnostics. C-Qentec, formed as a subsidiary of Aventis CropScience, is staffed by a team experienced in crop management, agricultural research and DNA technologies and therefore provides a capable vehicle for the effective commercialization of R&D outcomes.
C-Qentec Diagnostics has, for the past two seasons, marketed a DNA based predictive root disease test to Australian cereal growers.
Known as PreDictaTMB, this test determines the presence and levels of the key cereal pathogens - namely Take-all and Rhizoctonia, as well as two species of root lesion nematode (Pratylenchus neglectus, P. thornei) plus cereal cyst nematode. Tests for black spot of field peas, crown rot of cereals and black leg in canola will be added over the coming seasons.
C-Qentec's proprietary soil-extraction and multiplexing technology allows it to deliver quantitative analysis of several pathogens from a single soil sample. Using this technology, enterprise packages for the cotton, horticulture and nursery industries are in development.
C-Qentec is also developing, in conjunction with research partners, a range of protein-based diagnostic tests - which aim to help the Australian agricultural industry achieve best quality throughout the supply chain.
The most recent development was the announcement of an international licensing agreement between C-Qentec and the Wheat Quality CRC for WheatRite™. WheatRite is an in-field test to determine the level of weather damage (pre-harvest sprouting) in wheat. WheatRite is a quick and effective tool which is a cheaper and faster alternative to the current industry standard. The unique WheatRite test will add value to Australian wheat by giving growers and customers assurance as to the quality of their wheat.
Florigene - The World's First Molecular Breeder
Florigene is the world's first successful "Molecular Breeder" in the flower industry. Florigene uses genetic modification technology to bridge genetic gaps and rapidly deliver valuable improvements to flower species. We now have two proven core technologies - Blue Gene Technology and Long Vase Life (LVL) Gene Technology. The first commercial products from both these technologies are now on, or close to, the market.
Florigene and the Blue Rose
Florigene was founded in Melbourne, Australia in 1986. Over the last 15 years we have developed, patented and refined our technology and Florigene is now regarded as a world-leader in the genetic modification of flowers. The company's research center and corporate headquarters are located in Melbourne.
Florigene's original mission was to create the world's first "blue rose" through genetic modification. In 1991, Florigene scientists succeeded in isolating the Blue Gene (from the petunia flower) and patents were filed in all major countries in 1992. We then started developing or acquiring all the other technologies and know-how one needed to successfully implant this gene into flowers and generate novel colours in the blue range. While the rose was still a primary target, we were also interested in other important flowers that lacked the Blue Gene, such as carnations, gerberas and chrysanthemums.
In 1994, Florigene scientists succeeded in implanting the Blue Gene into carnations and were able to generate the first carnation to express colour in the blue range. This flower was called FLORIGENE Moondust and was an important breakthrough.
For the last 12 months, Florigene has been building a strong network of marketing partners and distributors in all the key world markets.
Copyright 2001 - AusBiotech