Two sets of collaborations have been announced in order to develop a new class of drugs that target arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. The first is between Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) and MuriGen Pty Ltd, the second between MuriGen Pty Ltd and Zenyth Therapeutics.
Piper Alderman partner Nicola Adams and associate Alison Bradshaw acted for WEHI, sole practitioner Michelle Baker for MuriGen Pty Ltd and Deacons partner Bernard O’Shea for Zenyth Therapeutics Ltd.
According to Adams, “Zenyth and MuriGen will jointly fund research and development of the potential drug on a cost sharing basis, through to completion of proof-of-concept in human clinical trials”, following which the best course for commercialisation of the drug will be ascertained.
She said the drug would be especially important given social factors such as “the ageing population and the need for treatments of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases”.
The aim is to develop therapeutic proteins that inhibit the activity of the cytokine granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF), which regulate the production of key inflammatory cells, as well as the activity of its receptor. Scientists at WEHI have demonstrated how inhibiting this activity can have a profound impact on the development of inflammatory disease in animal models.
Finally, Adams suggested that the “skilled in-house business development teams” involved ensured that each party’s interests “were protected and well represented”.