Australia’s biotechnology sector has seen some recent uplift and some notable transactions – including Merck’s offer to buy Viralytics Limited for around A$500m and Varian Medical’s buying of Sirtex Medical Limited in $1.3 billion cash deal.
Overseas, recent transactions include Celgene’s US$7 billion takeover of Impact Biomedicines, Novo Nordisk’s US$3 billion offer for Ablynx and Takeda Pharmaceutical’s intention to buy TiGenix for US$630 million – deals that give 2018 a flying start.
Noxopharm Limited – is one of the top-performing 2016 IPOs and has lifted from 34 cents in October 2017 to $1.33 at the end of February 2018 – a 290% gain over 4 months. Cynata Limited which has announced a recent agreement with US stem cell company Celularity and positive clinical trial results has lifted from 60 cents in December 2017 to over $1.20 at the end of February 2018 – a 100% gain over 3 months.
Australian biotechnology entrepreneur Dr Ian Dixon is a founder-director of Noxopharm (ASX-NOX) and a founder-director of Cynata Inc – which was acquired by a listed company in 2013 to become Cynata Therapeutics Limited (ASX-CYP).
Aside from his interests in Noxopharm, Cynata and Nyrada (as yet unlisted), Dr Dixon is an active investor in the Australian biotechnology sector and is keen to support promising technologies – particularly in the regenerative medicine field – a field he sees as having particular promise and value. And he isn’t alone.
According to a report from Goldman Sachs money is pouring into medical technologies that could change the way we age and increase our healthspan – venture capital into companies pursuing regenerative medicine has increased roughly 34% year-over-year since 2011.
Billionaire Jim Mellon is well known for identifying and capitalising upon major emerging trends before they become generally accepted. After many years of research and investing in the life science sector, Jim released a book in 2017 entitled “Juvenescence: Investing in the Age of Longevity”. Jim sees the emergence of a huge longevity industry and exciting investment opportunities in the field as the science matures.
Dr Dixon’s latest venture is Exopharm Pty Ltd (see www.exopharm.com) a company with a disruptive technology and a big objective. Exopharm is investing in the development of stem cell derived exosomes to treat various age-related conditions. Having invested in Exopharm as its founder and seed investor, Dr Dixon will bring Exopharm to the public markets in 2018.
“Since 2013 my R&D company Altnia has invested in solving the main problem stopping exosomes from becoming mainstream medicines – the technology to purify these nano-vesicles in a pharma-grade large-scale biomanufacturing step” said Dr Dixon.
“In December 2017 we lodged our PCT patent application for what we call the LEAP Technology. Exopharm Pty Ltd has been licensed the LEAP Technology and it will fund the typical biomanufacturing scale-up, preclinical testing and then clinical trials – in anticipation of partnering interest” said Dr Dixon.
Exopharm is also making initial steps to establish Exopharm China in Shanghai and Exopharm Inc in Boston USA through existing connections Dr Dixon has in the field. Exopharm is also pursuing grants in Australia and USA to bring in non-dilutive funding.
Exopharm is an example of the typical Australian biotechnology life-cycle – a company now shifting from back-room R&D funded by private investors, through program development and listing and then exit by trade-sale or partnering. “Our aim is have Exopharm partnered with a Pharmaceutical company within 4 to 6 years” said Dr Dixon, one of Australia’s serial biotechnology entrepreneurs.
About Exopharm Pty Ltd
Exopharm Pty Ltd is a privately held regenerative medicines company focused on bringing extracellular vesicle/exosome therapy to solve important unmet medical needs. Vesicles derived from adult stem cells and manufactured using Exopharm’s LEAP technology are called Exomeres. Exomere therapy is a completely new class of cell-free (acellular) drug. Exopharm has patented LEAP, a unique proprietary technology to isolate and purify intact Exomeres in large-scale in pharmaceutical-grade. Exopharm’s programs include pharma-grade (GMP) manufacturing and preclinical testing and then clinical trials in selected indications such as tendinopathy, age-related eye disease, fibrosis, joint disease, degeneration and ageing. Exopharm is partnering with thought-leaders in the field and is building strong relationships with researchers and clinicians in selected therapeutic areas.
For more information on Exopharm and Exomeres, please visit www.exopharm.com, follow on twitter (@Exopharm), or subscribe to our Newsletter at http://exo.ph/ExoMails.