Posted: 2014-10-23 in Press Releases
Auspherix secures additional AU$1million from MRCF to advance its antibiotic pipeline
Highly experienced team secured
Sydney, Australia, 23 October 2014 - Auspherix Pty Ltd, an early stage anti-infectives company developing novel antibiotics to treat resistant bacterial disease has secured a further AU$1 million in a series A financing from Australia’s Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), to progress its antibacterial compounds through development studies.
In less than 12 months since its foundation 2013, Auspherix has identified a number of antibacterial compounds with broad spectrum activity against a panel of clinical isolates of antibiotic resistant Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Through a hit to lead programme conducted in collaboration with Domainex, Auspherix now has a better understanding of the SAR necessary to target the organisms and has improved the antibiotic activity of the initial compounds. The new investment will be used to further refine the lead compound series, and to screen these in in vivo models in collaboration with Evotec (previously Euprotec).
Auspherix has adopted a virtual business model with research being directed by Professor Ian Charles CSO and founder of Auspherix, who is Director of the ithree institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The founding intellectual property behind Auspherix was in-licensed from the ithree institute based on research led by Professor Charles, together with Dr Dagmar Alber, ithree Senior Research Fellow. Professor Charles and Dr Alber previously worked together successfully at Arrow Therapeutics as CSO and head of virology respectively.
The scientific team has been further strengthened by the appointment of Dr Ian Holmes as head of chemistry alongside Dr Alber as head of biology. Dr Holmes is an experienced medicinal chemist and pre-clinical project leader with a proven track record of program milestone delivery in large pharma and biotech environments. Past positions include Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Cancer Therapeutics CRC, Melbourne, Australia and prior to that at GSK.
Auspherix has appointed two independent consultants to advise the Company: Dr Alan Naylor and Dr Mike Tarbit. Prior to his consulting career Dr Naylor spent 30 years in medicinal chemistry at GSK, latterly as Vice President, Head of Strategy and Operations and Director of Medicinal Chemistry at a UK-based Centre of Excellence in Drug Discovery. Dr Tarbit’s career has spanned biotech and pharma, including at Inpharmatica, ArQule, GSK and Pfizer.
Professor Charles said "It is now widely recognized that we desperately need to find new ways to combat infectious diseases including resistant bacterial infections. At Auspherix we are making rapid advances in optimizing potential antibacterial compounds with completely novel chemical structures which, if successful, will deliver the drugs needed to keep the threat from superbugs in check.”
Commenting on the second tranche of investment into Auspherix, Stephen Thompson, Chairman of Auspherix and Partner at Brandon Capital, the venture capital firm that manages the MRCF said “Auspherix has made astonishing progress in less than a year, successfully achieving all of the key milestones. The potential to bring a new class of anti-infectives to market is an extremely exciting opportunity and we are pleased to have made an additional investment into the Company.”
Subject to meeting near-term milestones, Auspherix will rapidly seek further investment and/or industry partnerships to move its novel antibiotics into pre-clinical and clinical development.
Notes for editors
About Auspherix Pty Ltd
Auspherix Pty Ltd is an early-stage anti-infectives company developing novel antibiotics to treat resistant bacterial diseases. It was spun out from the ithree institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in 2013. It has secured a total of with AU$2 million in start-up funding from Australia’s Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF).
Incorporated in Sydney, Australia, Auspherix has adopted a virtual business model with research being conducted at universities in Australia and the UK, and by UK-based companies Domainex and Evotec.
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. The ithree institute joined the MRCF in 2011 and has secured investment from MRCF for two companies: Helmedix (AU$1.25 million) and Auspherix (AU$2 million).
For further information please visit www.ithreeinstitute.uts.edu.au
About The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF)
The $51 million Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) is an innovative investment collaboration established in 2007 and managed by Brandon Capital Partners (www.brandoncapital.com.au). 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 at 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, Queensland and South Australia.
For further information please visit www.mrcf.com.au
For more information please contact:
Director of Auspherix and Partner at Brandon Capital (manager of the MRCF)
T +61 (0)404 153 957
Media Relations - Instinctif Partners
In Australia: Dr Douglas Pretsell T +61 (0)3 9657 0706 M +61 (0)466 925966
In UK: Rosanna Forrest T +44 (0)20 7457 2020
Global: Sue Charles M +44 (0)7968 726585 (UK) +61 (0)466 924218 (AUS) +1 347 448 3210 (USA)