Clarity Pharmaceuticals, an emerging Australian biotech company specialising in the treatment of serious disease, has raised $2 million to develop its clinical pipeline using its proprietary drug targeting technology.
The investment round includes strong support from the company’s newly appointed Non-Executive Director, Dr Chris Roberts, and fellow Directors Dr Alan Taylor and Dr Matt Harris, as well as funding from current shareholders and collaborators, including The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANTSO), the University of Melbourne, and ATP Innovations incubator – a commercialising hub that supports emerging technology businesses.
Clarity Pharmaceuticals is also one of a small number of clinical-stage biotech start-ups to receive a $1 million grant under the Federal Government’s Accelerating Commercialisation scheme earlier this year.
The company said the raised capital will fund a Phase IIa trial of the company’s new cancer therapy, SARTATE – a radiobiological product that identifies and kills cancerous cells in a localised manner – in neuroendocrine tumours. The capital raising will also fast-track clinical trials of SARTATE in neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer, as well as other difficult-to-treat cancers.
Clarity Pharmaceuticals is using SARTATE to pioneer the world’s first use of copper radioisotopes for the diagnosis, dosimetry and treatment of cancer, following the completion of their first-in-human trial last year.
The results of this first trial will be presented by Clarity Pharmaceuticals and its clinical collaborators at the annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging in San Diego in June.
According to Dr Alan Taylor, Clarity Pharmaceuticals Executive Chairman, “We initially sought to raise AU$1 million but have received significant support and interest by investors. The capital raising puts us in a strong position to progress SARTATE in Phase II trials, as well as grow our existing portfolio of projects, with a focus on personalised medicine.”
The global market of pharmaceutical technology and nuclear medicine is forecast to exceed $9 billion by 2020, according to PRWeb 2014.
“New, non-invasive technologies and targeted therapies such as SARTATE are disrupting the way patients are treated for serious illness, paving the way for safer and more effective patient outcomes,” said Dr Taylor.
Dr Matt Harris, Clarity Pharmaceuticals CEO, added: “In Australia, academic medical innovation is strong but we are yet to build an ecosystem that supports the commercialisation of research-based innovation. This type of incentivised innovation is only now emerging as a priority on the Federal Government’s National Science and Innovation agenda – which identifies Australia as falling behind OECD countries when it comes to commercialisation and business-research collaboration.”
Dr Taylor said that Clarity Pharmaceuticals is quickly developing as a pioneering biotech amongst a small breed of home-grown radiation technology companies. This is supported by Australia’s strong understanding of radiation sciences driven by ANSTO, as well as local companies, such as SirTex, who have successfully commercialised radiation technologies.
“We are fortunate to have strong collaborations with outstanding academic and clinical partners in Australia, enabling us to progress from benchtop through to clinical development. Our collaborative approach to science is demonstrating benefits to commercial, academic, clinical and government organisations. We are committed to promoting this collaborative approach to science in Australia,” said Dr Taylor.
Clarity Pharmaceuticals has raised more than $7 million in total since inception, including approximately $3 million in grants from the Federal Government. Its last capital raise was $1.1 million in 2014, which included strong support from Dr Taylor and other Sydney-based strategic and financial investors, including angel investment group Sydney Angels – a group of angel investors whose members invest in innovative early-stage companies with high-growth potential.
Founded in 2010 by Dr Matt Harris with $650,000 in seed capital, Clarity Pharmaceuticals commercialises cutting-edge therapy and diagnostic imaging technology initially developed by ANSTO and the University of Melbourne.
Dr Taylor added, “Our core focus right now is developing our clinical pipeline by performing proof-of-concept studies in pre-clinical and clinical trials. Using latest technologies to produce personalised medicines such as SARTATE™, we aim to transition drug candidates to humans and determine their efficacy as a therapy in poorly treated diseases, such as some solid cancers in adults and children, as well as cardiovascular disease and fibrosis.”