Investment in Verva Pharmaceuticals by the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF)
Published: Oct 27, 2011
Principal Executive of the MRCF, Dr Chris Nave, commented that the MRCF was very pleased to have the opportunity to invest in the clinical stage program.
“Verva is developing an extremely promising new therapy for the management of type 2 diabetes and provides another great example of the world class medical research being conducted by MRCF Members. It is particularly pleasing that this technology, developed within the laboratories of the Institute of Biotechnology/ BioDeakin at Deakin University in Victoria, has been able to progress through early stage development and testing, to now be in a significant study in patients also in Victoria. This demonstrates the growing maturity of the Australian biotechnology sector”.
The MRCF funds will be invested in two milestone-based tranches and will be used, in part, to advance the discovery and preclinical development of novel diabetes therapies (termed VVP100X) being undertaken by Verva in partnership with the Metabolic Research Unit of Deakin University, an MRCF member institution.
Verva Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing novel therapies to treat diabetes and to prevent and treat obesity. Verva's lead product VVP808 is a non-thiazolidinedione, non-PPAR-modulating insulin sensitiser currently undergoing phase 2a clinical proof-of-concept testing in type 2 diabetes. The active ingredient of VVP808 was originally approved in North America over 50 years ago in an unrelated indication. Its unexpected anti-diabetic activity was identified using Verva's proprietary GES discovery platform. VVP808 clinical data are expected in April, 2012. In preclinical studies, VVP808 also demonstrated additional benefits such as weight and fat loss and potential glucose-lowering synergy in combination with metformin. In addition to VVP808, Verva's pipeline includes: (i) a program to elucidate the molecular target responsible for the VVP808 glucose lowering effect; (ii) a drug discovery program (VVP100X) developing next-generation insulin sensitizers based on VVP808 structure and mode-of-action;(iii) preclinical proof-of-concept with two obesity-focused technologies that block de novo fat formation; and (iv) the GES diabetes discovery and diagnostic platform. Further information can be found on the company’s website www.vervapharma.com.
About the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF)
The $51 million Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) Collaboration is an innovative investment collaboration established in 2007 and managed by Brandon Capital Partners. The MRCF invests in early stage development and commercialisation opportunities emanating from its membership of 30 Australian medical research institutes and allied research hospitals. The MRCF IIF, LP fund is supported by AustralianSuper, StatewideSuper and the Australian Government under its IIF program. The MRCF also acknowledges the support of the State Governments of Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland. Further information can be found on the company’s website www.mrcf.com.au.
* On Friday 29 April, 2011, Verva shareholders approved an AUD 2 million investment by GBS Venture Partners Ltd. (Genesis IIFF Trust), Queensland Biocapital Funds Pty Ltd. and Uniseed (Universities Innovation Investment Trusts) along with a further investment of up to AUD 500,000 by institutional or sophisticated investors [as defined in Section 708 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cwlth)].
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