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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Brisbane to manufacture trial drug for Motor Neurone Disease

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Monday, June 06, 2016

    Brisbane to manufacture trial drug for Motor Neurone Disease

    SAN FRANCISCO: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced a major deal that will see the manufacture of a potential new treatment for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in Brisbane.

    Ms Palaszczuk, who is leading a delegation of Queensland business and research leaders to the BIO International Convention in the United States (BIO 2016), said Patheon at Woolloongabba had signed a deal with Queensland company NuNerve Pty Ltd to manufacture a treatment for MND that will eventually be used in human trials.

    “This deal is based on research from the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland and from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute,” the Premier said.

    The Queensland research team, led by Professor Perry Bartlett and Professor Andrew Boyd, have identified the role that a protein called EphA4 plays in repairing damaged motor neurons. The research holds up real hope of an effective way of treating this devastating disease.

    NuNerve Pty Ltd has entered into an agreement with Patheon to process, develop and manufacture this protein at its state-of-the-art biomanufacturing facility in Brisbane. The QBI will test the treatment in a series of lab tests with a view to doing human trials in the near future.

    “This is Queensland’s world-class science in action,” the Premier said.

    Ms Palaszczuk said Patheon’s scale-up manufacturing facility at Woolloongabba was the only facility of its kind in Australia, addressing a real need in drug development in Australia, providing contract manufacturing for biologic drugs and therapeutics.

    Biologics are medicines based on natural proteins made using DNA technology and are used for a range of medical conditions for which there are no other treatments, including cancer and auto-immune diseases.

    “Up until the establishment of this facility in 2013, our researchers and biotech companies had been forced to go overseas to source the quantities of the trial drugs they needed,” the Premier said.

    “Having a facility based in Brisbane that can do the job means our drug researchers can produce what they need much more cheaply and they have greater control over the products that are produced.”

    NuNerve Pty Ltd funds a number of MND research programs at the QBI.

    The company was established through a multi-million dollar bequest from Queensland entrepreneur Peter Goodenough who lost his life to MND in 2004.

    The Premier also said Patheon Biologics had signed a deal with US-based ZZ Biotech to manufacture its lead product 3K3A-APC, based on a naturally-occurring protein in the human body.

    Headquartered in Houston, Texas, ZZ Biotech is currently running a Phase 2 clinical trial in ischemic stroke patients in the United States.

    “The drug is also showing promise in wound-healing, based on research at the Kolling Institute at the University of Sydney. The company plans to run preclinical toxicology studies and human trials in Australia and the United States to assess the biologic as a new treatment for foot ulcers.

    “The Patheon facility is an integral part of my Government’s commitment to take research out of the lab and get it into the marketplace,” the Premier said.