- First investment by Uniseed Follow-on-fund ($2 million) alongside Uniseed Commercialisation Fund ($1 million)
- Co-Investment with MRCF to raise a total of AU$25million
- Clinical development candidates acquired from Shire plc
- Technology originated at the University of Melbourne, Bio21 and St. Vincent’s Institute
Brisbane, 5 June 2018 – Uniseed and the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) today announce a significant AU$25 million investment into late-stage biomedical company, Certa Therapeutics. This is the largest investment to date from Uniseed, with $3M committed. This was also the first investment made by the Uniseed Follow-on Fund ($2M) which was established to allow Uniseed to participate more fully in later stage investment rounds and take our investee companies further along their path to commercialisation. The Uniseed Commercialisation Fund made up the remaining $1M commitment. In addition, $22M was committed from the MRCF through the Government’s Biotechnology Translation Fund.
Certa Therapeutics is focused on the emerging field of medical science which uses genetic information to identify which patients will best respond to a specific treatment, commonly referred to as precision medicine. Certa is initially targeting kidney disease, where fibrosis (scarring) of the kidney leads to kidney failure and ultimately dialysis or kidney transplantation. Certa’s novel drugs block a receptor that is a key driver of this fibrosis. Certa is able to use genetic analysis to identify those patients that are most likely to benefit from the therapy, addressing a market worth around US$5 billion per annum.
There are currently no treatments available for kidney fibrosis and given the enormous cost of dialysis and kidney transplants to the healthcare system, finding an effective treatment for these patients remains one of the global healthcare industry’s largest unmet needs. Kidney disease is a major killer and a significant cost to the Australian economy. Treating people with chronic kidney disease costs the Australian government approximately $1 billion per year*, with 53 Australian’s dying each day from kidney-related diseases**.
The CEO and founder of Certa Therapeutics is Professor Darren Kelly from the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, St Vincent’s Hospital, one of Australia’s leading life-science entrepreneurs. With the drug advancing to mid-stage clinical trials, Kelly says the company’s fibrosis treatment could be on the market within five years. “It’s an incredibly exciting time to be working in medical science. The amount of stored genetic material at our fingertips is immense. Access to this genetic data is transforming how we treat diseases. Rather than creating drugs that work for majority of the population, we can now tailor our treatment based on an understanding of genetic make-up. The implications of this for fighting disease are profound.”
In creating the new company, Uniseed and MRCF acquired clinical development candidates from Shire plc, the leading global biotech company focused on rare diseases. In exchange, Shire received an 18 percent equity stake in Certa and is eligible to receive royalties on future global product sales.
“Certa’s technology is at the forefront of efforts to treat kidney disease and provides another great example of the world leading biotechnology research being conducted in Australia,” says Dr John Kurek, Investment Manager at Uniseed. “Participation of our Follow-on Fund provides additional capital to supplement investment from Uniseed’s $50 million Commercialisation Fund and highlights the continued support of Uniseed’s University partners in commercialising Australian research.”
“The scale of this investment has been made possible by the Biotechnology Translation Fund,” says Dr Chris Nave, CEO of the MRCF and Managing Director of Brandon Capital. “In many ways this investment represents the raison d’etre of the BTF, taking great Australian medical science and providing it with access to sufficient capital to enable its continued, late stage, clinical development in Australia. The BTF was designed to be transformative for our local industry, providing the ability for research discoveries to be developed from concept to commercialisation right here in Australia, creating jobs and growing a sustainable industry along the way.”
The Australian technology being developed by Certa originated from the University of Melbourne, Bio21 and St Vincent’s Institute for Medical Research.
< ENDS >
* The Economic Impact of End Stage Kidney Disease in Australia: projects to 2020.
** Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of Death, Australia, 2016. 2017.
For further information please contact Dr John Kurek, Uniseed, 0400 551 431.
About Certa Therapeutics
Certa Therapeutics is a late stage biotechnology company based in Melbourne that is working on a treatment for kidney disease. Certa’s novel drugs block a receptor that is a key driver of fibrosis (scarring) of the kidney which leads to kidney failure and ultimately dialysis or kidney transplantation. Certa is able to use genetic analysis to identify those patients that are most likely to benefit from therapy, addressing a market worth around US$5 billion per annum. There are currently no treatments available for kidney fibrosis.
Established over 17 years ago, Uniseed (www.uniseed.com) 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 targeted investment in highly promising technologies. Uniseed’s investments cover a range of technology sectors. To date, the fund has exited a number of investments; a drug to treat nerve pain (Spinifex Pharmaceuticals acquisition by Novartis); a drug in development to treat fibrosis (Fibrotech Therapeutics sale to Shire plc); an IT security technology (Vintela sale to Quest Software Inc.); a semi‐ conductor technology (Fultec sale to Bourns Semiconductor Inc); and a headlice treatment (Hatchtech) sold to Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. For more information about Uniseed, visit www.uniseed.com
About the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) and Brandon Capital
Brandon Capital Partners is a venture capital firm that manages the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), Australia and New Zealand’s largest life science investment fund, with AU$505 million under management. The MRCF is a unique collaboration between major Australian superannuation funds, the Australian and New Zealand governments, Australian state governments and more than 50 leading medical research institutes and research hospitals. The MRCF supports the development and commercialisation of early-stage biomedical discoveries originating from member research organisations, providing both capital and expertise to guide the successful development of new therapies. The MRCF has supported more than 34 start-up companies to date, 28 of which were founded by the MRCF. Brandon Capital’s funds have invested in some of the most promising life sciences companies, including; Aravax, Global Kinetics Corporation, PolyActiva, Osprey Medical and Vaxxas. For more information about Brandon Capital Partners, visit www.brandoncapital.com.au