MRCF Invests AU$1m in Antibiotics Start-Up Auspherix

Posted: 2013-12-03 in Press Releases

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MRCF Invests AU$1m in Antibiotics Start-Up Auspherix

Sydney, Australia, 3 December 2013 - Auspherix Pty Ltd, an early stage anti-infectives company developing novel antibiotics to treat resistant bacterial disease was launched today with AU$1 million in start-up financing from Australia’s Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF).

Auspherix will in-license intellectual property from the ithree institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), emerging from research led by Professor Ian Charles, Director of the ithree institute together with Dr Dagmar Alber, ithree Senior Research Fellow. Professor Charles and Dr Alber previously worked together at the successful UK anti-infectives company Arrow Therapeutics, of which Professor Charles was a co-founder.

The ithree team has been exploring new ways to treat bacterial infections that have become resistance to currently available antibiotics. It has used a library screening approach to identify drugs with novel mechanisms of action as antibiotics.

The initial investment by the MRCF will be used for a lead optimization programme to improve the antibiotic activity and bioavailability of drugs that have been identified through the screening programme undertaken at ithree, and to establish initial safety and efficacy data in in vivo models. The Company will adopt a virtual business model with research being undertaken by the ithree founding scientists, as well as through partners in the UK.

Commenting on the investment in the new company, Stephen Thompson, Director of Auspherix and Partner at Brandon Capital, the venture capital firm that manages the MRCF said “Auspherix is an early but exciting opportunity. The approach that the ithree scientists have taken could help to bring a new class of anti-infectives to market.”

"With the rise of resistant superbugs, we desperately need to find new ways to combat infectious diseases and I am hopeful, based on our early findings, that research from the ithree institute will make a contribution to that urgent quest” added Professor Charles.

Subject to meeting milestones, Auspherix will seek further investment or industry partnerships to move the novel antibiotics into pre-clinical and clinical development, potentially for broad spectrum use.

This is the second investment by MRCF in technology emerging from the ithree institute. It invested AU$1.25 million in Helmedix in February 2013.

The ithree institute was launched in 2010 and joined the MRCF in 2011.


Notes for editors

About the ithree institute

The ithree institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) brings together an internationally competitive team focused on addressing key challenges in the understanding and control of infectious diseases in humans and animals. The institute’s innovative science uses a systems biology approach to develop a greater insight into basic biology and its application to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases.

For further information please visit

About The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF)
The $51 million Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) Collaboration is an innovative investment collaboration established in 2007 and managed by Brandon Capital Partners ( The MRCF invests in early stage development and commercialisation opportunities emanating from its member Australian medical research institutes and allied research hospitals, which includes the ithree Institute @ UTS in Sydney. The MRCF IIF, LP fund is supported by AustralianSuper, StatewideSuper and the Australian Government through its Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) program. The MRCF Collaboration also acknowledges the support of the State Governments of Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland.

For further information please visit

For more information please contact:

Sue Charles, College Hill
D +44 (0)20 7866 7863
M +44 (0)7968 726 585

Dr Douglas Pretsell, College Hill
D +61 (0)3 9657 0706
M +61 (0)466 925 966