Septic shock company established with Noxopharm

A new Australian drug development company to target life-threatening inflammation has been formed as the result of a collaboration between Noxopharm Limited (ASX:NOX), Hudson Institute and Australian National University.

Dr Michael Gantier from the Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity Research Group at Hudson Institute
Dr Michael Gantier

In an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange on Thursday 5 November, Noxopharm reported the company, Pharmorage Pty Ltd, is focused primarily on developing a better treatment for septic shock, a major and highly underserved condition within the community.

The same drug technology platform with its anti-inflammatory actions is seen as having application to a growing number of autoimmune diseases, also in urgent need of better treatments.

Pharmorage brings together

  • the NOX proprietary drug discovery and delivery platforms
  • Hudson Institute’s world-leading expertise in the STING signalling pathway
  • the ANU John Curtin School of Medical Research’s leading position in the mechanisms underlying autoimmunity.

STING (Stimulator of Interferon Genes) signalling has emerged in recent years as playing a key role in the inflammatory process associated with viral and bacterial infections, cancer and cell damage in general. In the process it has become an important new drug target in chronic inflammatory diseases as well as hyper-inflammatory diseases such as septic shock.

Drugs targeting the STING signalling pathway have become the subject of considerable M&A activity in the industry.

The NOX drug technology platform has yielded compounds with novel actions against a range of biological pathways involved in inflammation, including STING. Pharmorage sees these novel kinase-inhibitory actions as the basis for major drug development programs in fields like septic shock and certain autoimmune diseases that have largely defied the development of safe, effective therapies.

The ground-breaking work of Dr Michael Gantier at Hudson Institute puts his laboratory at the forefront of studies in the role of STING pathways in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Equally, the ground-breaking work of Professor Carola Vinuesa’s laboratory on the genetic and molecular mechanisms involved in autoimmunity, make them a highly valued research partner.

Professor Elizabeth Hartland, director, CEO, Hudson Institute of Medical Research
Professor Elizabeth Hartland, Director and CEO, Hudson Institute

Noxopharm believes that the combined know-hows of NOX, Hudson Institute and the ANU gives Pharmorage an important competitive advantage that should see it progress quickly with valuable advances.

Professor Elizabeth Hartland, Director and CEO, Hudson Institute said, “Hudson Institute is excited to enter into this partnership with Noxopharm. Industry collaborations such as these ensure our researchers’ discoveries reach patients as quickly as possible. Pharmorage will enable the development of drugs targeting the STING pathway to tackle chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and life- threatening inflammation.”

Graham Kelly PhD, Noxopharm CEO, said, “Pharmorage is leveraging off the promise of VeyondaÒ in blocking STING signalling, cytokine storm and septic shock in COVID-19 patients. Veyonda is showing what is possible, and Pharmorage seeks to build on that promise by developing drugs with greater focus on septic shock. Given the pre-eminence of septic shock as a cause of human death, this opportunity is too valuable and too important to ignore. The Company shares the growing view of many experts that the SARS-CoV-2 virus will move from pandemic to endemic status, in the way of the influenza virus, resulting in many seasonal deaths due to septic shock. Finding effective treatments to prevent septic shock has always been there, but suddenly has become a major pandemic-led imperative.”

“With the ongoing aim of creating shareholder value, Pharmorage has been formed to act on this opportunity and obligation without diluting the Company’s focus of developing Veyonda as an important second generation immuno-oncology drug.”

Professor Graham Mann, Director of the ANU John Curtin School of Medical Research said, “ANU is delighted to see rapid translation of our discoveries in inflammation and immunity for patient benefit, especially with Australian partners.”

CLICK HERE to read the full ASX announcement

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