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Posted: May 15, 2012
Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and Biosceptre collaborate on cancer antibody research
(Nanowerk News) UniQuest, The University of Queensland's (UQ) main commercialisation company, has facilitated a strategic research collaboration and antibody production agreement between Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) researchers and Biosceptre International Limited to develop a bioprocess for producing certain monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer.
Under the UniQuest agreement, the AIBN's National Biologics Facility (NBF) will characterise candidate therapeutic monoclonal antibodies that bind Biosceptre's novel proprietary cancer target, known as nf-P2X7. The research and development will include antibody development, cell line development, bioprocess development and recombinant protein production in pre-commercial quantities ahead of preclinical trials.
UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson, said the partnership with Biosceptre reflected the commitment by UQ and the AIBN to work closely with private industry to discover new potential cancer therapies.
"Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and the disease with the highest unmet medical need. Biosceptre's recognition of the AIBN's capabilities demonstrates the value industry places on working with Australian university researchers to optimise the outcomes from both publicly and privately funded research for the benefit of the wider community," Mr Henderson said.
The collaboration was made possible with support from Medigen, a privately held investment company which is linked to the Creata group of companies and utilises the services of Creata Ventures.
No commercial terms of the agreement have been disclosed.
Biosceptre's CEO, Dr Cliff Holloway, said the research collaboration was a critical step towards preclinical and human clinical trials involving its monoclonal antibody targeting the non-functional form of P2x7, a major cellular receptor responsible for apoptosis (the process of normal cell death).
"Our long-term goal is to develop a therapeutic monoclonal antibody capable of specifically detecting non-functional P2X7 and inducing cancer cell death without affecting normal healthy cells," Dr Holloway said.
"Having evaluated a number of national and international providers of such antibody services, we have been impressed with the advanced equipment and quality of the infrastructure at the AIBN National Biologics Facility. The technical expertise of Dr David Chin, NBF Operations Manager, and his team in our pre-deal evaluation has already delivered value for Biosceptre."
Biosceptre recently appointed eminent monoclonal antibody pioneer Sir Greg Winter as Chairman of its Scientific Advisory Board. The British biochemist, who developed the world's first fully human therapeutic antibody, included a tour of AIBN's National Biologics Facility and a discussion on the AIBN–Biosceptre collaboration during his visit to Australia earlier this year.
About UniQuest Pty Limited
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 1,500+ patents it has created over 70 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $450 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at $3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. 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. www.uniquest.com.au
The University of Queensland's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) is an integrated multi-disciplinary research institute bringing together the skills of world-class researchers in the areas of bioengineering and nanotechnology. It is home to 19 research groups working at the interface of the biological, chemical and physical science to alleviate current problems in human health and environmental issues. AIBN research focuses on developing new products, processes and devices for improving human health and quality of life. In this way the institute goes beyond basic research to promote and develop the growth of innovative industries, which will benefit the Queensland and Australian economies. The AIBN proudly acknowledges the financial support of Atlantic Philanthropies, the Queensland State Government and the University of Queensland toward the construction of the AUD$75 million AIBN research facility.