New Australian collaboration to discover new drugs targeting epilepsy and anxiety

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Bionomics Limited and Southern Cross University announced today that they had established a collaboration to discover new drugs targeting epilepsy and anxiety.

Under the arrangement, Southern Cross University will provide Bionomics with extracts from its collection of Australian-based natural products, together with expertise in natural products chemistry.

Bionomics will screen these natural products for activity against biological targets associated with epilepsy and anxiety and utilize Southern Cross University's natural products library and chemistry expertise to support its drug discovery program. "Bionomics is pleased to build out its network of drug discovery collaborators with Southern Cross University," stated Dr. Deborah Rathjen, CEO and Managing Director of Bionomics. "Our collaboration with Southern Cross University provides Bionomics with access to a unique collection of Australian-based natural products and broadens the opportunity to discover new drugs for epilepsy and anxiety utilizing our ionX(R) drug discovery platform." Assoc. Prof. David Leach, Director of Science, Centre for Phytochemistry & Pharmacology at SCU said, "There have been a number of successful outcomes from utilizing natural products to discover new drugs for a range of treatments. Our focus is uniquely Australian, with an objective of unlocking the therapeutic potential of medicinal plants from international sources as well as endemic Australian native plants. We are pleased to be applying this approach with a well-established Australian biotech company such as Bionomics, with a common view to discovering powerful new drugs for epilepsy and anxiety." Bionomics announced a similar collaboration with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI). Dr. Rathjen stated that the new collaboration with Southern Cross University complements the collaboration with WEHI and widens the Company's ability to identify potential new drugs for the treatment of epilepsy and anxiety in its drug discovery program.

About Bionomics
Limited Bionomics Limited is an ASX listed biotechnology company based in Adelaide, Australia. The Company has an American Depository Receipts (ADRs) program sponsored by The Bank of New York. Bionomics combines its strong genomics-based research focus on the discovery of genes associated with serious medical conditions with validation and development efforts leading to new drugs, gene therapies and diagnostic applications. Bionomics focuses its research and development activities in central nervous system disorders (CNS) and cancer. These diseases are in need of improved medical treatments and represent large markets for Bionomics-developed products. Bionomics leverages its gene discoveries in epilepsy with the Bionomics- developed ionX(R) discovery platform, a novel platform for the discovery and development of new and more effective treatments for epilepsy and other CNS disorders, including anxiety. Angene(TM), Bionomics' angiogenesis target and drug discovery platform, incorporates a variety of genomics tools to identify and characterise novel angiogenesis targets, utilizing Bionomics' novel models of angiogenesis. Bionomics is continuing to develop the Angene(TM) platform and leveraging its unique attributes for the discovery of novel and more effective drugs for the treatment of cancer.

About Epilepsy
Epilepsy is second only to stroke as the most common neurological condition, affecting up to 3% of the population. A significant genetic contribution to the disease has been recognised. The global market for anti- epileptic drugs was estimated to be worth more than US$6 billion in 2003. Epilepsy affects over 7 million people in the seven major pharmaceutical markets. This market is poorly met by current treatments, with around 30% of epilepsy patients unable to obtain adequate seizure control. Epilepsy represents a disease area of high unmet medical need.

About Anxiety
Anxiety affects 9.7% of Australians (approximately 2 million people) and affects Australian women at a higher rate than Australian men. In the United States, which represents a large market for anxiolytic drugs, anxiety affects 19 million people. In both Australia and the United States, anxiety represents the most common mental illness in the population. The global market for drugs that treat anxiety was estimated at US$14.5 billion in 2003.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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