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Posted: August 18, 2008
Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology spins out two start-ups
(Nanowerk News) Two start-up companies spun out of UniQuest, The University of Queensland's main commercialisation company, have received a financial boost to advance their research priorities.
Uniseed Management Pty Ltd, which supports the commercialisation of university research through pre-seed and seed stage venture capital investment, has committed $630,000 and $530,000 to DendriMed Pty Ltd and TenasiTech Pty Ltd respectively. Both companies were established to develop discoveries from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at UQ.
DendriMed Pty Ltd is developing a novel drug-delivery platform which combines polymer and dendrimer nanotechnologies. The technology seeks to reduce side effects, increase efficacy, and improve the stability of drug molecules so their chemical structure supports rather than inhibits targeted delivery to where the drug is meant act in the body. The company's research team, led by Professor Michael Monteiro, will use the capital to fund a proof of concept program to identify the technology's effectiveness in the delivery of cancer therapies.
TenasiTech Pty Ltd's technology is a materials science break-through that increases the strength of thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers whilst maintaining their flexibility. Dr Darren Martin and his team have identified a number of commercial markets for the rubbery polymer-based materials, including footwear, mining, wire and cable, textiles, pool equipment, sporting, automotive, toughened glass lamination, medical elastomers and biomedical device industries. The investment will fund the development of material samples and supporting comparative performance data to take to the market and secure a commercial partner.
UniQuest's Managing Director, David Henderson, said the investments reflected confidence in the outcomes of UQ research and UniQuest's ability to identify technologies which have significant commercial potential and world-wide community benefit.
“Uniseed's investment will now accelerate the development of these companies and enable them to prove up the potential of their technologies,” Mr Henderson said.
Dr Peter Devine, CEO of Uniseed Management Pty Ltd, said both investments were attractive, especially with the commercial prospects in train.
“DendriMed is developing the kind of technology that is drawing a lot of attention from the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. TenasiTech has also attracted commercial interest which can be leveraged to boost its resources even further. We are pleased to be a link between academia and business to extend the reach of such innovations for global consumption,” Dr Devine said.
UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia's largest and most successful university commercialisation groups. Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest fosters links between the University – with its valuable emerging technologies, expertise and facilities – and the financial and entrepreneurial resources of industry, business and government. Its extensive intellectual property and asset portfolio includes more than 12,500 patens and 50 companies resulting from university-based discoveries and expertise.
Uniseed began as a $20 million fund, founded by the Universities of Queensland and Melbourne. Since then, through investment commitment from Westscheme, Western Australia's largest non-government superannuation fund, the University of New South Wales and further investment from the founding Universities, the fund has grown to over $60 million. Its unique commercial partnerships with Melbourne Ventures, UniQuest, and New South Innovations enable Uniseed to invest with confidence in a number of investee ventures and to develop them into investible ventures.