June 16, 2017 Melbourne, Victoria – Australian developed medical technology which uses the blood clotting properties of snakes including the Australian Coastal Taipan, one of the world’s deadliest, is set to revolutionise the world of blood testing and assist the rapid diagnosis and treatment of patients in need of urgent medical attention.
Australian biotechnology company Q-Sera has developed a new blood collection tube which rapidly produces high quality serum for testing. Blood tests are commonly used in medicine to assist the accurate diagnosis of medical problems ranging from heart attacks to diabetes. Serum is the gold standard for biochemical analysis of blood samples and is produced when blood clots. Standard serum tubes clot slowly but can also clot poorly leading to laboratory issues and are unable to clot the blood of some patients – such as anticoagulated cardiac patients or people taking common medicine such as warfarin or other oral anticoagulants. Q-Sera’s technology seeks to provide a cost effective solution to these problems.
Australia is home to most of the world’s deadliest snakes and by isolating proteins in the venom of some of these snakes and others from overseas, Q-Sera has developed a novel class of coagulation agents patented for use in blood collection tubes. These ‘prothrombin activators’ were initially sourced from snake venom but can now be produced from modified cell lines using standard pharmaceutical manufacturing processes (Q-Sera’s lead active produced using these ‘recombinant’ methods is a coagulation agent known as RAPClot).
Blood collection tubes are coated with the coagulation agent, resulting in tubes which rapidly produce high quality serum, even if the blood sample contains anti-coagulants. These benefits may translate into cost efficiencies and reductions for healthcare systems and give improved outcomes for patients.
Michael Grant, CEO of Q-Sera, said, “In hospitals, particularly where urgent test results are required, the delay and poor quality of serum can hold-up lifesaving treatment or cause errors in patient diagnosis. Our solution has identified the benefits for serum production of an important class of proteins present in snake venom, some of which are able to be produced in the lab by ‘recombinant’ techniques. While the majority of these snake species may be native to Australia, the impact of this technology will be felt worldwide”.
The Q-Sera technology is based on the research of a team of scientists from The University of Queensland, Australia (UQ). It was licensed to Q-Sera by UniQuest, UQs main commercialisation company and has received investment from two of Australia’s premier innovation sector investors, the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) and Uniseed who along with other institutional investors have funded Q-Sera’s activities.
Q-Sera is actively commercialising this ‘disruptive technology’ and is currently working with a number of multinational Medical Device companies to bring this technology and its benefits to the market. To communicate the technology, a clinical paper has been submitted to a major international journal with more to follow. Q-Sera is also pleased to announce that in addition to approval in EU, the primary patent has recently been granted in Japan with approvals in other jurisdictions expected shortly.
About Q-Sera Pty Ltd
Q-Sera is a registered company founded to commercialise intellectual property developed at the University of Queensland (UQ) and licensed by UniQuest which details active proteins and formulations for a new type of serum collection tube. The technology behind Q-Sera involves using a certain class of proteins (prothrombin activators) originally identified from the venom of specific snakes to accelerate the clotting of blood in an improved blood collection tube to produce high quality serum for biochemical analysis. The company has developed two actives, one naturally sourced from snake venom and one a recombinantly manufactured protein (RAPClot). Prototype tubes have been manufactured and proof-of-concept studies completed, demonstrating the superiority of the Q-Sera tube compared to the current commercial tubes in clotting blood and producing high quality serum for pathology testing from healthy and anti-coagulated patients. For more information visit: www.q-sera.com
Uniseed is a venture fund operating at the Universities of Melbourne, Queensland, New South Wales and Sydney, as well as the CSIRO. Uniseed’s mandate is to facilitate the commercialisation of research partner-generated intellectual property by targeting investment in highly promising technologies. Uniseed helps researchers from its partner research organisations to turn their ideas into products and services and to support innovations that solve market problems and create a positive impact for the community. Uniseed’s investments cover a range of technology sectors and to date, the fund has exited four investments through trade sales and one investment through asset sale. A number of companies in Uniseed’s investment portfolio also have products on the market, or are collaborating with leading global companies in their respective fields. For more information, go to www.uniseed.com.
About the MRCF
The MRCF collaboration is managed by the venture capital firm Brandon Capital Partners, and provides seed and venture capital investment to support the development and growth of Australian life science companies.
Established in late 2007, the MRCF is a unique collaboration between major Australian superannuation funds, over 50 leading medical research institutes and research hospitals in Australia and New Zealand. The MRCF supports the development and commercialisation of very early-stage biomedical discoveries originating from these member research organisations, providing both capital and expertise to guide the successful development of new therapies. The MRCF acknowledges the support of the Australian and New Zealand governments, as well as the state governments of Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. For more information visit: www.mrcf.com.au