Helmedix, an early stage biopharmaceutical company, received $1.29 million in start-up funding on Thursday from Australia’s Medical Research Commercialization Fund to develop therapeutic drugs for treating autoimmune diseases.
The MRCF committed the funding to progress lead optimization and pre-clinical development for the company’s immune modulating peptides. The company derives the peptides from helminth parasites. One of the peptides has been shown to have therapeutic potential in a mouse model for type one diabetes, BioSpectrum Asia reports.
The immune modulating activities of the peptides demonstrate potential broader applications for the treatment of multiple other autoimmune diseases.
“Helmedix is a great example of the type of early stage opportunity that the MRCF is set up to support,” Stephen Thompson, the director of Helmedix, said, according to BioSpectrum Asia. “Its discoveries have broad potential to impact a number of autoimmune diseases and we look forward to working with the team to progress the technology further towards commercial development.”
Upon meeting research milestones, Helmedix will seek further investment or industry partnerships to move the helminth-derived peptides through clinical development to treat inflammatory and autoimmune disease.
The technology is based in intellectual property from the University of Technology – Sydney’s ithree institute. The investment by MRCF marks the first investment in technology emerging from the ithree institute, which joined the MRCF in 2011, BioSpectrum Asia reports.
MRCF contributes seed funding to new companies for the development and commercialization of technology from the fund’s members, which include 32 Australian research hospitals and medical institutes.