20 December 2005

UQ spinout company Adipogen Pty Ltd has appointed Dr Vincent Wacher as its new Chief Executive Officer.

The appointment of Dr Wacher comes following a recent investment of $2.25m from the Queensland Biocapital Funds and Uniseed.

Adipogen Chairman Dr Peter Devine said he was “delighted to have someone of Vince’s calibre join the Adipogen team. The skills, experiences and contacts he brings to the role will be immensely beneficial for Adipogen’s obesity programs”.

Dr Wacher returns to Australia from the United States, where he has undertaken numerous consulting and employment roles over the last ten years for companies such as Eastman Chemical Company drug delivery business, Dihedron Corporation, V-MAb, Ontogen Corporation and AvMax, Inc. During this time he managed and directed applied research, clinical trials, product development, intellectual property and business development programs.

“Adipogen is an exciting new company developing innovative therapies to help combat the global obesity epidemic. Adipogen’s tremendous international potential and the opportunity to work with a world-leading scientific team in an Australian start-up were significant drivers in my decision to return from the United States,” said Dr Wacher. “I look forward to applying my multi-disciplinary training and experience to implementing a successful development and commercialisation strategy for Adipogen.”


Dr Vincent Wacher, CEO Adipogen: Telephone (San Diego): +1 (760) 271.4783 or email: vince@vwacher.com.au

Dr Peter Devine, Uniseed Regional Director and Adipogen Chairman: 0409 631 581

About Adipogen
Adipogen Pty Limited is focused on developing targets and therapeutics for the treatment of obesity. Its current shareholders include the Queensland Biocapital Fund, Uniseed, UniQuest Pty Limited, The Queensland Institute of Medical Research, and TeQstart Pty Ltd.

Adipogen has identified a specific growth factor (FGF-1) which interacts with adipose tissue and stimulates proliferation of early stage fat cells (called pre-adipocytes). Furthermore, FGF-1 "primes" human adipocytes for differentiation into mature lipid containing adipocytes. In studies designed to determine FGF-1 effects on subcutaneous and intra-abdominal fat cells, FGF-1 was shown to "prime" differentiation of both fat tissue types. Interesting, FGF-1 priming is the only culture condition in which intra-abdominal preadipocyte differentiation is observed. Thus, Adipogen’s hypothesis is that the inhibition of FGF-1 action would be an effective mechanism to control intra-abdominal fat accumulation.

In support of this approach, recent results from Adipogen’s research program have shown that inhibiting the FGF-1 signaling pathway results in inhibiting or decreasing fat cell development. Furthermore, addition of antagonistic antibodies and other inhibitors of the FGF-1 system result in the inhibition of the development of human fat cells.

About Obesity

Obesity is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the Western world, with its prevalence increasing in most communities. There are enormous personal and public costs associated with the disease, and current prevention and treatment strategies have limited efficacy. A recent report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that 22% of
Americans are clinically obese, with the disease affecting one third of all adults and one in five children. Similarly, the 2000 AUSDIAB survey in Australia revealed 47% of adults are overweight and 20% obese. Obesity leads to many medical complications including Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and depression. In addition, it can result in unemployment and social stigmatisation. In the US, the disease results in more than 300,000 deaths per annum and is estimated to cost US$140 billion per year. Australian government data shows obesity to be the 5th largest cause of disease burden (AUSDIAB).

About Queensland Biocapital Fund

Queensland BioCapital Funds is a $100 million closed end venture capital fund which invests in the human biosciences sector. QBF has made seven investments to date and is actively assessing several other opportunities. Queensland BioCapital Funds Pty Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of QIC, a $42 billion wholesale funds manager (www.qic.com).

About Uniseed

Uniseed, is $61 million pre-seed venture capital investment fund, operating at the Universities of Melbourne, New South Wales and Queensland. It focuses almost exclusively on high technology companies, and invests at the earliest stages of company formation and development.