Fibrotech Therapeutics Pty Ltd was awarded the Australian Venture Capital Association (AVCAL) Best Early Stage Deal at last night’s awards in Melbourne.

In May, Fibrotech reached an agreement with Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPG), the global specialty biopharmaceutical company, under which Shire purchased Fibrotech for an upfront payment of US$75 million and certain contingent payments based on the achievement of development and regulatory milestones.

Fibrotech is a spin-out of the University of Melbourne based on the work of Professor Darren Kelly. Investors in the company were Uniseed, MRCF and Brandon Capital Partners, all originally investing in the company in 2008.

Dr Peter Devine, CEO of Uniseed commented:

“Having supported Fibrotech since its inception, Uniseed is proud to receive this recognition and be associated with such a significant partnership. Uniseed has an exciting portfolio of companies and expects this to be the first of a number of significant exits over the next few years.”

Dr Devine went on to say:

“This is the second ‘Best Early Stage Deal’ award for Uniseed – the first being Vintela Inc. in 2005 – a

spin-out of the Distributed Systems Technology Centre CRC in Brisbane that developed a sign-on security software for enterprise systems. Vintela was acquired by NASDAQ-listed Quest Software Inc. for $100 million”.

About Fibrotech Therapeutics Pty Ltd

Before the acquisition by Shire plc, Fibrotech was an Australian biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of drugs to prevent a massive health burden associated with fibrosis (tissue scarring). The Company developed novel anti-fibrotic drug candidates for the treatment of the fibrosis prevalent in such chronic conditions as chronic kidney disease, chronic heart failure, pulmonary fibrosis and arthritis. Fibrotech’s lead product FT011 was an anti-fibrotic to prevent the tissue fibrosis associated with diabetic nephropathy. FT011 successfully completed a Phase 1a trial in healthy volunteers demonstrating safety and tolerability up to doses of 1000mg and a Phase 1b trial is currently underway involving patients with diabetic nephropathy associated with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease, a severe medical condition that can only be managed with dialysis or kidney transplantation. There are several products in preclinical development selected from over 150 analogues, many of which are novel chemical entities and are markedly improved anti-fibrotic agents. Fibrotech was spun out of the University of Melbourne in 2006, and was subsequently supported by investment from Uniseed, MRCF and Brandon Capital.

About Uniseed

Uniseed is a commercialisation fund operating at the Universities of Melbourne, Queensland and New South Wales, with investment capital provided by the three universities and AustralianSuper – a leading industry superannuation fund. Uniseed’s mandate is  to facilitate the commercialisation of  university- generated intellectual property by targeted investment in highly promising technologies.
Through Uniseed’s investment, a number of technologies arising from its partner universities are creating a major impact on society, ultimately enhancing the reputation of the universities from where these discoveries originated. Technologies funded by Uniseed address a number of global challenges in areas such as healthcare, disease prevention, functional foods, clean energy and education.
The impact of Uniseed funding reaches far beyond just the investee company. Through Uniseed investment, new technologies are nurtured, taking Australian university innovation to the world, and positioning Australia for the future.
Uniseed works in very close partnership with the universities’ commercialisation companies, UoM Commercial Ltd, UniQuest and NewSouth Innovations, providing a valuable adjunct to the capabilities these companies provide. They in turn provide a best-practice commercialisation service tailored to their respective universities, and are able to leverage to great effect the scale of operation and expertise of the Uniseed network.

About Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPG)

Shire enables people with life-altering conditions to lead better lives. Our strategy is to focus on developing and marketing innovative specialty medicines to meet significant unmet patient needs. We provide treatments in Neuroscience, Rare Diseases, Gastrointestinal and Internal Medicine and we are developing treatments for symptomatic conditions treated by specialist physicians in other targeted therapeutic areas.