The project will see the development of exosomes as an off-the-shelf, cell-based pharmaceutical for various diseases without the technical challenges of cell therapies.
Including the establishment of an exosome manufacturing facility in Australia, the three-year project has been supported by the Australian Government as part of its Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) program.
Australian biotech company VivaZome Therapeutics Pty Ltd will lead the project, with collaborators including La Trobe University, University of Queensland, Australian National University, Cytiva and SeerPharma Pty Ltd.
La Trobe Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement), Professor Susan Dodds, said she welcomed the Australian Government’s strong investment in this exciting project.
“Clinical grade exosomes manufactured in Australia have the potential to revolutionise regenerative medicine,” Professor Dodds said.
“There are currently limited options for manufacture of clinical grade exosomes within Australia, so this is a fantastic opportunity for the University, its partners, and Australia’s biotechnology and health industries.
“La Trobe’s world-leading expertise in exosome analytics and bioinformatics will be a valuable part of the project and will continue the 5-year research collaboration between VivaZome, La Trobe and Dr Lesley Cheng’s Neurodegeneration Biology and Biomarker Group,” Professor Dodds said.
With work commencing in 2023, the project will establish an exosome manufacturing facility, develop customised exosome products with enhanced function, and generate proof of concept data in areas of unmet need – including ophthalmic and neurological diseases.
Dr David Haylock, CEO of VivaZome said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this strong support from the Australian Government, and to be working with an incredible group of world-leading project partners. Exosomes have great potential to treat a wide range of diseases, including traumatic brain injury and retinal disease.”
Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic announced $44 million in grants to support 19 collaborative research projects under round 13 of the CRC-P program. The grants support companies working to commercialise cutting-edge ideas in collaboration with researchers and innovators.
VivaZome is based at La Trobe’s Research and Innovation Precinct in Bundoora – a precinct for partners to co-locate and connect with world-leading research, capabilities, expertise and ecosystems. The precinct is part of La Trobe’s University City of the Future plan.
VivaZome Therapeutics Pty Ltd is a privately-held Australian biotech company, with operational headquarters at the La Trobe University Technology Enterprise Centre in Melbourne, Australia. VivaZome aims to develop and commercialise exosome-based therapies for debilitating and/or life-threatening disorders, with an initial focus on neurological disorders, retinal disease and ischaemic conditions.
VivaZome is developing new technologies and generating intellectual property that are applicable generically to exosome therapies. These will underpin the Company’s development of specific exosome products for its target indications. The VivaZome team has extensive expertise in the development and commercialisation of biological therapies, together with a wide network of expert contacts in the Australian and global biotech community. For more information, please visit www.vivazome.com
About La Trobe:
For more than 50 years, La Trobe University has been transforming people and societies. The University works collaboratively across disciplines and with partners to develop fresh ways of thinking and conducting research – constantly seeking new ways to engage with and better serve its partners and communities, to build relationships and develop solutions for the issues facing society.
Ranked in the top one per cent of universities worldwide, La Trobe is firmly positioned in the top 400 of all three major world university rankings. In 2021, the respected Times Higher Education World Ranking placed La Trobe at 218 globally, marking the second year running the University has been named in the world’s top 250.
Image (left to right): Smriti Krishna (VivaZome), Mitch Shambrook (La Trobe), David Haylock (VivaZome) and Lesley Cheng (La Trobe)
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