13 December 2002

A company formed to commercialise technology developed in Queensland to treat pain and control bleeding has secured a $10 million investment deal.

The QRxPharma Pty Ltd (QRx) financing agreement is one of the largest ever involving an Australian University technology transfer company.

Company president and CEO Dr Gary Pace said QRx was formed to commercialise outstanding technology developed at The University of Queensland (UQ).

“The Company’s lead product is targeted at the largely unmet, multi-billion dollar market for the treatment of moderate to severe pain,” he said.

“Preliminary clinical studies demonstrating benefits of the product have been successfully completed. Further studies to allow for product registration will start in 2003.

“Additional products under development include treatments for the prevention of excess bleeding in open-heart surgery and the cessation of active bleeding in emergency situations and general surgery.”

The $10 million Series A preferred stock financing arrangement is led by Innovation Capital (based in Sydney and Ann Arbor in the United States). Other investors include Nanyang Ventures (Sydney), SpringRidge Ventures (US) and Uniseed Pty Ltd (Melbourne and Brisbane).

"This is the fourth St George Innovation Fund investment for Nanyang Ventures in 2002 thus furthering the goals of the federal Department of Industry IIF program to commercialise Australian research and development" Nanyang Venture’s Mike Hirshorn said.

Innovation Capital CEO Michael Quinn said QRx had staff and offices in Boston and Brisbane to ensure it was well positioned in the US, the largest biotechnology market in the world.

The investment deal was negotiated through UniQuest Pty Limited, the University of Queensland’s commercialisation company.

UQ Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and UniQuest Director Professor Paul Greenfield said the University was delighted that its technology would be developed through QRx’s highly experienced pharmaceutical management team.

“The QRx products to control bleeding are based on UQ research on the properties of the venom of Australian snakes,” Professor Greenfield said.

“Through this commercialisation arrangement, this technology has the potential to enhance and save the lives of thousands of people.”

QRx has also announced the company’s Board of Directors. They are: Mr Quinn, Dr Pace, Mike Hirshorn, George Savage and UniQuest’s Managing Director, David Henderson.

The executive team is led by Dr Pace who has 20 years experience in the US biotech market, and company co-founder Felix de la Iglesia who was previously Vice President of pre clinical research at Parke Davis (now Pfizer).

For more information contact David Henderson at UniQuest on (07) 3365 4037.