A biotech startup using gene therapy to tackle neurodegenerative diseases such as Motor Neurone Disease (MND), epilepsy and dementia, has been spun out of Macquarie University with $2 million in Seed funding to launch.
Celosia Therapeutics is Australia’s first gene therapy company and the result of two decades of research at the university. It is currently part of the Macquarie Incubator program and has exclusive access to a portfolio of patents for advanced gene therapies developed by Macquarie’s medical researchers.
Celosia CEO Dr Brenton Hamdorf said the company will begin by developing a gene therapy to treat MND after it has shown great promise in laboratory testing.
“We aim to start clinical trials of this treatment within five years, but this is only the first of the exciting discoveries that we have at our disposal, just waiting to be developed for use by patients,” he said.
“We will seek further funding in 2023 to develop our gene therapy treatments with enormous potential to provide life-changing benefits for motor neurone and other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease and Dravet Syndrome, a particularly severe form of drug-resistant childhood epilepsy that can cause hundreds of seizures a day.”
Dr Hamdorf paid tribute to 20 years of work Macquarie University medical researchers, Professor Lars Ittner and Professor Roger Chung, adding that preclinical trials (before human testing) have been extremely promising.
“Our partnership with Macquarie University is key to bringing these treatments from the lab to the bedside,” he said.
“It extends beyond that of an investor, providing us with vital access to critical research capabilities, infrastructure, clinical expertise, and patients who are waiting for these new treatment options.”
Macquarie Vice-Chancellor Professor S. Bruce Dowton, said Celosia showcases the unique role universities can play in actively facilitating the translation of ground-breaking academic research into helping people
“Macquarie is leading by example in its support of university commercialisation by proactively backing innovative opportunities such as this,” he said.
“We are proud to support Celosia Therapeutics, and we look forward to seeing what it will achieve in the future.”
Celosia Therapeutics is a member of the Macquarie University Incubator community, which currently support more than 40 companies that last year, attracted more than $44 million in external funding and created nearly 200 jobs.