Exopharm: Delivering Transformative Medicines
Exopharm (ASX:EX1) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company using exosomes to deliver a new class of transformative medicines and generate revenue from multiple partnership deals.
Exosomes are seen by the Biopharma industry as a highly differentiated platform with the potential to enhance tissue delivery for a variety of payloads like mRNA and proteins – part of the global market for drug delivery systems which is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% and valued at around US$170 billion in 2021.
For some medicines, exosomes are an alternative and superior means for delivery inside the body, alongside technologies such as lipid nanoparticles (LNP), cell penetrating peptides, viral vectors and liposomes.
Exopharm’s LEAP technology solves the challenge of purifying clinical-grade exosomes at large scale and low cost.
Exopharm also has two exclusive proprietary technologies that allow advanced customisation of exosomes – the LOAD technology improves loading of nucleic medicines into exosomes and the EVPS technology allows exosomes to be directed towards selected cell types.
Exopharm uses variations and combinations of LOAD and EVPS to enable its Biopharma partners to improve delivery of their drug candidates and help them design and test new exosome medicines aimed at treating a wide scope of medical problems including neurological disease, infectious disease, cancer, and fibrosis.
Exopharm was founded in 2013 by Dr Ian Dixon to bring EVs forward as a new form of medicine to treat medical problems people still face.
With experience in the stem cell and cell therapy fields, Dr Dixon was seeing the emerging research around EVs and the potential to use EVs from stem cells as an alternative to cellular therapies. While stem cells cultured in a bioreactor produce large numbers of EVs, the EV purification techniques being used at the time were accepted as being unsuited to the manufacture of a proprietary pharmaceutical-grade biologic product. Dr Dixon realised that the invention of a proprietary technology that could properly and efficiently purify EVs from the other substances in the secretions of the cells would provide a significant commercial opportunity – despite the obvious challenges.
3 years of research by Dr Dixon and his team led to the discovery of a way to isolate EVs using ligand-based affinity chromatography – he called it the LEAP Technology. A PCT Application for the LEAP Technology was lodged in December 2016 and further patent applications have since been lodged. The main patent is now at National Phase in 13 countries including the USA.
In 2018 Exopharm became a listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). In 2019 Exopharm ran its first clinical trial and its second clinical trial is due to report in early CY 2021.
Since its formation, Exopharm has grown to be a 41-person team based at the Baker Institute in Melbourne as a commercial tenant. Ian remains the Chief Executive Officer of Exopharm and a substantial shareholder.