17 December 2012

The University of Queensland’s (UQ’s) main research commercialisation company, UniQuest, has partnered with US-based Emory University to package biotech assets for a new start-up company from Australian university-linked research centres, including UQ and the Emory Institute for Drug Development.

QUE Oncology will seek venture capital to fund the development of small molecule drug candidates and biological targets for preventing and treating cancer. UniQuest and Emory will facilitate capital raising activities with seed funding support.

Intellectual property originating from UQ’s Faculties of Science and Health Sciences (from the research groups of Professors Maree Smith, Greg Monteith, Sarah Roberts-Thomson, Steve Taylor and Dr Trent Woodruff) will be licensed to QUE Oncology, along with research discoveries from the medicinal chemistry group of Professor Dennis Liotta at Emory Institute for Drug Development.

UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson said QUE Oncology was established in response to market opportunities in the field of cancer therapy.

“The multi-million dollar investment required to develop a new drug from discovery through to commercial launch, and an increasingly conservative global regulatory environment, have prompted Australian research teams to seek collaborators overseas for translating their ideas into clinical outcomes,” Mr Henderson said.

“Bringing together the expertise and discoveries of these leading innovation hubs creates an attractive prospect for global biotech investors and also for pharmaceutical companies, which are looking for potential new drugs more so than ever before.

“Through QUE Oncology, Australian university scientists will have the opportunity to develop meaningful and active collaborations with research teams at a top tier US university while accessing a larger network of international investors and pooling resources to pass common commercialisation hurdles and milestones.”

Professor Dennis Liotta, Executive Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development, said QUE Oncology aligned with Emory University’s strategic focus on positive transformation through shared opportunities with international colleagues.

“The research and development capabilities of all QUE Oncology’s contributors will be significantly enhanced through our collaborative approach to discovery and technology transfer,” Professor Liotta said.

QUE Oncology will address the gaps in Australia’s existing capacity to support commercially focused drug development as a seamless end-to-end approach that can span the necessary multi-year timeframe.

Cancer research projects that have been identified to start the QUE Oncology pipeline relate to hot flushes, pain, prostate cancer, breast cancer, multiple myeloma, and melanoma.

The start-up will operate with a small core team and leverage the resources and infrastructure of the partnering universities and contract research organisations, manufacturers and advisors. An experienced biotech start-up CEO, John Richard, has been recruited to manage the asset development program and business development activities.

Media: Leanne Wyvill +61 7 3365 4037, +61 409 767 199 or l.wyvill@uniquest.com.au

About QUE Oncology
QUE Oncology, Inc. seeks to address life threatening diseases with competitive and efficacious therapies that have reduced adverse side effects in order to deliver more cost effective treatments (by avoiding the cost impact of the disease, treatment of side effects or disease consequences) to patients to provide a greater chance of recovery and an improved quality of life.

About UniQuest Pty Limited www.uniquest.com.au
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 and its commercialisation partner institutions: 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.

About Emory Institute for Drug Development http://eidd.emory.edu
The Emory Institute for Drug Discovery aims to address the significant funding gap that exists in the drug discovery and development continuum. It has assembled the full complement of capabilities and expertise to collaborate with academic researchers at an early stage of the drug discovery process, as well as to progress emerging drug candidates to a stage where they are ready for regulatory approval to enter human clinical evaluation. In this way, the innovation and discoveries by Emory researchers will have a continuous progression path to clinical settings where they can have positive impacts on human health.