Starpharma Holdings Limited today announced the establishment of a start-up biotechnology company (as a foundation shareholder).
The company – Dimerix Bioscience Pty Ltd (“Dimerix”) – is a specialist drug development company established to commercialise unique technology developed at the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research in the exciting new field of receptor coupling, specifically G-Protein coupled receptors (“GPCRs”).
Receptor coupling is one of the basic signalling mechanisms of biological systems, and because of their size Starpharma’s nano-structures have natural advantages in designing drugs to control receptor coupling and cell signalling.
Starpharma assisted with the establishment of Dimerix and is providing in-kind contributions including commercial management expertise, and AUD$200,000 cash. In exchange Starpharma has received a 30% equity holding, making it the largest shareholder of Dimerix. Listed technology commercialisation company QPSX Limited (ASX:QPX) is also a minor foundation shareholder in Dimerix.
In addition to its equity position Starpharma has entered into a drug development project with Dimerix based on the combination of Starpharma’s dendrimer nano-structures with the Dimerix Collision technology. Receptor coupling is a basic mechanism of action for polyvalent drugs, and therefore the combination of polyvalent dendrimers with knowledge of receptor coupling opens up a whole new area of drug development.
Starpharma CEO Dr John Raff said: “this collaboration is another example of Starpharma’s strategy of partnering with developers of world-leading technologies to complement our own development programs and at the same time, leveraging Starpharma’s unique nano-drugs and strong IP position.”
Dr Raff also said that Starpharma had successfully applied this model to establish Dendritic NanoTechnologies Inc (“DNT”), its Michigan based investee company. The Starpharma/DNT partnership was now recognised as one of the most significant players in the field of nanotechnology, and this had been achieved within three years and with a total investment by Starpharma of less than AUD$4 million. The international credibility of DNT has been validated by a recent deal in which The Dow Chemical Company transferred ownership of its portfolio of 196 dendrimer patents with associated royalty streams to DNT in exchange for a 30% equity position. Starpharma currently holds 33% of DNT and commercialisation rights to DNT technology in pharmaceutical applications.
“Starpharma’s VivaGel™ is the most advanced defined nano-drug under the US regulatory system and dendrimers are becoming recognised as the gold standard for the precise manufacture of nano-structures to meet pharmaceutical purity standards” Dr Raff said.
Dimerix CEO Matt Callahan stated: “the relationship with Starpharma provides a solid foundation to the Company, and an opportunity to accelerate the Company’s wider drug development program which aims to significantly abridge the standard development timeline.”
Dimerix’s core business is the design of a novel class of drugs based on existing and validated drug candidates for well understood drug targets. This strategy reduces the development time and increases the likelihood of success. The Dimerix team has world recognised experience with GPCRs which are the single most successful class of drug targets, with more than one quarter of the top 200 best selling drugs targeting GPCRs. Dimerix’s Collision technology allows Dimerix to look inside complexes of these GPCRs and to characterise them, in ways not possible with other existing technologies. A patent application has been lodged for the technology.