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U of Queensland start-up lands $63M to advance drug for inflammatory disease


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 12th, 2018

A University of Queensland startup has raised $63 million in funding to advance a treatment that slows the progress of inflammatory diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Inflazome has developed a type of molecule that inhibits the NLRP3 inflammasome, which is linked to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, osteoarthritis and other inflammatory diseases. According to Kate Schroeder, who co-developed the molecule as a University of Queensland researcher, the new technology has the potential to change the way inflammatory diseases are treated.

“All of the drugs patients are [currently] given just block symptoms,” says Schroeder. “They don’t change the course of the disease.”

According to tests so far, if patients are given the Inflazome molecule early enough, the drug “can block all of the next set of symptoms that keep accumulating with age,” she adds.

The $63M funding round was led by life sciences venture capital firm Forbian and included investments from Longitude Capital, Novartis and Fountain Healthcare Partners. Inflazome plans to use the funding to advance the molecule through various clinical trials in 2019.

“It’s so unusual to even get a potential compound to the point of a successful start-up, and even harder to get the funding for large-scale testing,” says Schroeder. “It would mean so much to me to be one of a team to help get a drug to a clinic and actually change the lives of people with a disease.”

Inflazome has received support, including the licensing of the technology, from UniQuest, the commercialization arm of the University of Queensland.

Source: SmartCompany

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