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UQ start-up sells off biotech Inflazome in 'biggest ever' deal


A University of Queensland startup Inflazome has struck a €380 million ($A620 million) with pharmaceutical giant Roche.

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Inflazome was spun out of UQ’s commercialisation arm Uniquest and has been developing treatments for inflammatory diseases based on a research partnership between the two universities.

The intellectual property behind Inflazome’s drug candidates was based on a research partnership between UQ’s Professor Matt Cooper, Professor Kate Schroder, Dr Rebecca Coll and Professor Avril Robertson from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and Professor Luke O’Neill from Trinity College Dublin.

Professor Matt Cooper, who is now chief executive of the Dublin based Inflazome, said the deal would mean that Inflamazone’s pioneering molecules were well positioned to be developed quickly and effectively.

The treatment could be beneficial to people suffering from chronic, uncontrolled inflammation such as Parkinson’s Disease, asthma, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease.

The deal includes additional payments based on certain milestones being met.

UQ would not disclose how much it would receive from the deal or what percentage of the company it had before the sale.

The deal gives Roche full rights to Inflazome’s portfolio of inflammasome inhibitors.

UQ vice-chancellor and president professor Deborah Terry said it was an outstanding outcome for the company, both universities, the researchers and the investors.

“Now more than ever, the value of research translation to support the recovery of our economies cannot be understated,’’ she said.

“This deal reinforces the importance of research collaboration and shows what can be achieved through commercialisation.”

Trinity College Dublin Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast said it was wonderful news for the many people across the world with diseases like Parkinson’s who stand to benefit from these discoveries.

“It is also a boost for the Irish scientific community and for Trinity College Dublin, where the ideas originated that led to the collaboration with UQ and the subsequent foundation of Inflazome,” he said.

“Investigator-led research drives the innovation economy and this news offers tangible evidence of its importance and also what can be achieved through partnership.

“We congratulate all of the researchers involved for their tireless commitment to discovery and innovation and for making a real difference in society.”

UniQuest chief executive Dr Dean Moss and Trinity Research and Innovation Director Leonard Hobbs said it was one of the largest Australian and Irish biotech deals and followed the company’s Series B capital raising of $63 million in 2018.

“It’s wonderful to see it eventuate, bringing much-needed treatment options a step closer to reality.”

Two of the company’s drug candidates are in clinical trials for the treatment of debilitating conditions such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and motor neuron disease.



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