After receiving a $1 million grant through the Federal Government’s Accelerating Commercialisation program earlier this year, biotech company Clarity Pharmaceuticals has announced it has raised a further $2 million in funding to help further develop its technology.
Founded in 2010, the company has collaborated with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the University of Melbourne to create a platform that allows biopharmaceuticals to be radiolabeled and visualised using PET imaging.
The company explains that the data generated provides information on targeting, clearance and biodistribution of a product, helping with early drug development and de-risking the process, also allowing for better decision making around biopharmaceutical drug candidates.
Clarity Pharmaceuticals has raised more than $7 million to date, with around $3 million in government grants and its last capital raise of $1.1 million 2014 bringing investment from Sydney Angels. The fresh funding has come from current shareholders and collaborators including ANTSO, the University of Melbourne, and ATP Innovations, as well as non-executive director Dr Chris Roberts, executive chairman Dr Alan Taylor, and founder and managing director Dr Matt Harris.
Following the first in-human trial last year, the funding will go towards a Phase IIa trial of SARTATE, the company’s new cancer therapy for neuroendocrine tumours, and fast-tracking clinical trials of SARTATE in aggressive childhood cancer neuroblastoma and other hard to treat cancers.
SARTATE is a radiobiological product that identifies and kills cancerous cells in a localised manner, and through its use Clarity Pharmaceuticals is pioneering the world’s first use of copper radioisotopes for the diagnosis, dosimetry – the calculation and assessment of a dose of radiation – and treatment of cancer.
Taylor said the company initially sought to raise $1 million in this fresh round but received “significant support and interest.”
“New, non-invasive technologies and targeted therapies such as SARTATE are disrupting the way patients are treated for serious illness, paving the way for safer and more effective patient outcomes,” he said.
He also highlighted the role the company’s collaborators have had in furthering its development, saying, “Our collaborative approach to science is demonstrating benefits to commercial, academic, clinical and government organisations. We are committed to promoting this collaborative approach to science in Australia.”
However, Harris said that while academic medical innovation is strong in Australia, the country is yet to build an ecosystem that supports the commercialisation of such research-based innovation.
“This type of incentivised innovation is only now emerging as a priority on the Federal Government’s National Science and Innovation agenda, which identifies Australia as falling behind OECD countries when it comes to commercialisation and business-research collaboration,” he said.
The company stated the results of last year’s trials will be presented at a meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging in San Diego in June.
“New, non-invasive technologies and targeted therapies such as SARTATE are disrupting the way patients are treated for serious illness, paving the way for safer and more effective patient outcomes,” Taylor said.
Clarity Pharmaceutical’s Dr