BioCurate and Monash University launch oncology startup company

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BioCurate and Monash University have announced the launch of Pio Therapeutics (Pio Tx) - a new company that will focus on developing novel, innovative and targeted medicines to improve outcomes for cancer patients.

Jointly formed between Monash University and the University of Melbourne with support from the Victorian government, BioCurate aligns financial resources with scientific and commercial experience to accelerate the commercialisation of promising biomedical research.

Pio Tx’s mission will be to develop novel, innovative and targeted medicines that increase endogenous anti-tumour immunity. It will focus on expediting further development of its first-in-class agonist antibody, PIO-001, that addresses current clinical challenges associated with immunotherapy, such as improving the rate and quality of responses in a variety of solid tumours.

The research that led to the discovery and initial characterisation of PIO-001 was conducted at Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute in the laboratories of Professor Charles Mackay, Professor Di Yu, and Dr Remy Robert.

According to Dr Damien Bates, the acting CEO of BioCurate and CEO and managing director of Pio Tx, “Pio Tx is the culmination of many months of hard work by a highly dedicated and collaborative team. It’s an incredibly exciting development that shows what can happen when outstanding research in Australia’s universities receives commercially focused research translation and financial support, helping to turn biotech discoveries into viable therapies.”

Dr George Morstyn has been appointed Chair of Pio Tx. “Having worked in global and local drug development companies for over 25 years and experienced first-hand what it takes to drive a promising discovery through to clinical impact, I am confident that BioCurate has a team of very accomplished drug developers – I am genuinely thrilled, and honoured, to be part of this exciting initiative,” said Dr Morstyn.

Dr Alastair Hick, senior director of Monash Innovation and member of the Pio Tx Board, added, "I am looking forward to being part of this new company and continuing to develop strong links with industry, government and partners to leverage our research. This collaboration is a great example of bringing some of the best people together to bring fundamental discoveries to market."