Australian company set to spearhead drug discovery

An Australian company is set to challenge the boundaries of drug discovery in Australia with the unveiling of the nation's top drug discovery facility by Western Australian Minister for State Development, Clive Brown.

Minister Brown officially launched Epichem Pty Ltd and its state-of-the art laboratory, designed to fast-track the creation of a range of potential new drugs to treat important diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

Located at Murdoch University and staffed by the largest assembly of specialised chemists in the country, Epichem's specialised facilities will allow for the rapid purification of multiple drug compounds, meaning drugs can be created and tested at a record pace.

Epichem Managing Director, Dr Wayne Best, said: 'Epichem's new facility, which features world class equipment and instrumentation, will enable us to produce the same number of new drug compounds in a month that other laboratories take a year to produce.

'This speed and accuracy will make Epichem extremely attractive to large international pharmaceutical companies wishing to fast-track their own drug discovery programs, meaning huge export opportunities for WA.'

Epichem, which is owned by Perth ASX-listed company, Echo Technologies Ltd, is already in advanced negotiations with several prominent multi-national drug discovery and pharmaceutical companies to provide drug discovery services.

Epichem has also reached an agreement to collaborate with Murdoch University's worldleading Parasitology Research Group to investigate and develop compounds aimed at treating incurable parasitic diseases.

'This venture will lead to some exciting breakthroughs in the treatment of dangerous diseases such as African Sleeping Sickness, which affects 10 million people worldwide and for which there is no current cure,' Dr Best said.

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