Australian biotech wins technology award for global potential


Australian biotechnology company Vectus Biosystems has won the ‘Medtech & Pharma’ category in the Australian Technologies Competition (ATC), which was announced last week at a gala dinner in Sydney.

The Competition looks to recognise Australia's best technology companies with global potential, and provide assessment, mentoring, profile and promotion for the winners via a bespoke accelerator program.

AusBiotech member, Vectus Biosystems, is a research-based drug discovery company, developing and licensing medicines. The company has developed a library of more than 1,000 small molecules with varying degrees of anti-hypertensive and anti-fibrotic properties.

Fibrotic disease contributes to more than 40 per cent of deaths worldwide, a figure that includes deaths caused by atherosclerosis, the biggest killer in the developed world, as well as diseases affecting the lung, liver and kidney, among others. Treatments for fibrotic diseases represent a major unmet clinical need, and where medicines exist, the only slow the progression of disease. In contrast, Vectus Biosystems’ compounds have been shown to reverse fibrosis in preclinical models.

Vectus Biosystems’ technology is based on the discovery by Dr Karen Duggan in 2003 that a naturally occurring molecule in the human body, when salt intake is changed, was capable of reversing fibrosis caused by hypertension and other chronic diseases such as diabetes.

In 2005 Vectus Biosystems was formed to take Dr Duggan’s discovery through to an orally deliverable drug. Today, Vectus Biosystems holds patents around the Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) and its fragments as a therapeutic candidate.

While the ATC has been running for some years, this year saw the introduction of the ‘Medtech & Pharma’ category, and support from the MTP Connect, the medical technologies and pharmaceuticals industry growth centre.

The finalists battled it out at an ‘Investor Speed-Dating’ session with the eminent panel of judges made up of 21 of Australia’s leading technology investors.

The winners in the eight categories of the Australian Technologies Competition have solutions for a safer internet, making red meat traceable from paddock to plate and a technology that may replace all steel pipes globally. The awards showcased technology companies delivering solutions across all of the country’s high growth sectors including energy, resources, mining, agriculture, cities and medical technologies and pharmaceuticals.