24 July 2003

University of Queensland researchers have developed a new drug to modify blood clotting that does not have the side effects of existing medications. The researchers have received venture capital and government support to help commercialise their research.

The investment consortium was led by a $428,000 investment from UniSeed *, a dedicated pre-seed fund.

The new Brisbane-based company, Thrombostat Pty Limited, also received $250,000 through AusIndustry’s Biotechnology Innovation Fund, and $125,000 under the Queensland Government’s $3 million BioStart program.

UniQuest Pty Limited, UQ’s main research commercialisation company, formed Thrombostat earlier this year. The company aims to develop several new compounds that inhibit blood clotting with potentially far less side effects than drugs such as aspirin, which were identified by researchers led by Professor Michael Roberts and Dr Daniel Hung of UQ’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

“This is life-saving research, as more than 50,000 people die of cardiovascular disease each year in Australia,” said Queensland Government Innovation Minister, the Honourable Paul Lucas.

“Millions of patients worldwide are prescribed some form of anti-clotting medication to help prevent strokes and thrombosis, however up to 60% of patients have adverse reactions such as chronic stomach ulcers to these drugs.”

The global market for anti-clotting agents to treat cardio-vascular disease and thrombosis was worth about $4.3 billion.

The company’s Directors Dr Peter Devine, Dr Lisa Bidwell and Professor Michael Roberts are thrilled to receive this capital injection, which will propel the new drugs further along the commercialisation pathway.

UniQuest’s Managing Director, David Henderson warmly welcomed the package of investment, saying “This funding is critical as a means of supporting Thrombostat’s activities through the critical early stages of the development of these new compounds”.

“Initiatives such as the Biotechnology Innovation Fund and BioStart provide funding to help early stage companies through a stage where few other funding alternatives exist.” Said David Henderson.

“This is a vital adjunct to the lead funding UniSeed provides” added Peter Devine, UniSeed’s Regional Director.

“This is a great result, as it will help Thrombostat prepare for the next important stage in our research – the clinical trial stages,” Professor Roberts said.

“We hope to commercialise this exciting discovery and be able to provide people around the world with a better quality of life that is side-effect free.”

UniQuest media contact: David Henderson or Anne-Marie Birkill 33654037/0438 436 179

* UniSeed is $20 million pre-seed venture capital investment fund established as a joint venture between UQ Holdings Pty Ltd and Melbourne University Private. Uniseed has invested in start-up ventures in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Around 70% of these investments are in the biotech/health sectors, and the company is actively looking for further investment opportunities.

UniSeed media contact: Dr Peter Devine 3365 3754 / 0409 631 581