Uniseed portfolio company Fibrotech Therapeutics Pty Ltd, developing a new class of drugs to prevent a massive health burden associated with fibrosis, today announced that it has reached an agreement with Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPG), the global specialty biopharmaceutical company, under which Shire has agreed to purchase Fibrotech for an upfront payment of US$75M and certain contingent payments based on the achievement of development and regulatory milestones.
Shire will undertake the further development of Fibrotech’s lead product FT011, which has completed a Phase 1A study in healthy volunteers and is currently in a Phase 1B study in patients with diabetic nephropathy. Subject to successful completion of this trial, the first Phase 2 study is expected to be initiated to enroll Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) patients next year. FSGS is a rare disease that affects the kidney’s filtering system causing serious fibrosis (scarring). The majority (85%) of cases are idiopathic and most of the patients progress to End Stage Renal Disease. In addition to the lead compound FT011, Shire acquires Fibrotech’s library of novel molecules including another molecule, FT061, in pre-clinical development that has a similar mode of action to FT011. It is an oral small molecule with the potential to address both the inflammatory and pro-fibrotic components of fibrosis.
The closing of the acquisition is subject to customary conditions, including approval of Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board.
Dr Peter Devine, CEO of Uniseed commented:
“This deal is an endorsement of the Uniseed concept and the vision of the three partner universities in the fund (Universities of Melbourne, Queensland and NSW). Uniseed was established to facilitate commercialisation of university intellectual property, and this outcome highlights the quality of the science performed by the team led by Professor Darren Kelly at the University of Melbourne, St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research and Bio21 Institute.”
Dr Devine went on to say:
“Having supported Fibrotech since its inception, Uniseed is proud to 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.”
Prof. Darren Kelly, CEO of Fibrotech concluded:
“The team at Fibrotech are very excited about this acquisition as Shire are strategically aligned with our commitment to renal and fibrotic conditions, including rare diseases – areas of high unmet medical need. This acquisition will have significant benefit to the Australian biotechnology sector and highlights the importance of commercialisation and collaboration between academia and industry.”
About Fibrotech Therapeutics Pty Ltd
Fibrotech is an Australian biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of drugs to prevent a massive health burden associated with fibrosis (tissue scarring). The Company develops 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 is an antifibrotic to prevent the tissue fibrosis associated with diabetic nephropathy. FT011 has successfully completed a Phase Ia trial in healthy volunteers demonstrating safety and tolerability up to doses of 1000mg and a Phase Ib 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 antifibrotic agents. Fibrotech was spun out of the University of Melbourne in 2006, and was subsequently supported by investment from Uniseed, MRCF and Brandon Capital.
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.
Dr Peter Devine
T: +61 (0)409 631 581 p.devine[at]uniseed.com
Prof. Darren Kelly
T: +61 (0)3 9657 0705 firstname.lastname@example.org.