OneVentures makes first investment for the Biomedical Translation Fund
OneVentures Healthcare Fund III invests $10m in allergy peanut treatment
OneVentures, a venture capital firm focused on investment in high growth, transformative technology and life sciences companies, is pleased to announce that its OneVentures Healthcare Fund III has made its first commitment– $10m to Prota Therapeutics to advance the development of a promising new treatment for peanut allergy in children.
OneVentures $170m Healthcare Fund III, which is dedicated solely to investing in Life Science companies in Australia, was established as part of the Federal Government’s Biomedical Translation Fund initiative and was awarded $85m from the Federal Government, which was matched by OneVentures’ investors.
“In line with the Fund’s objective to help take Australian biomedical discoveries out of the laboratory and to the patient, we are delighted to commit to a $10m investment in Prota Therapeutics, to commercialise a new technology for treating peanut allergy and to explore indications for treating other food allergies, with work conducted at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI),” said Dr Paul Kelly, Managing Partner of OneVentures, and head of the Life Sciences team.
“OneVentures led the initial $15 million Series A financing for Prota Therapeutics in 2016, and these additional funds will be used to progress the innovative probiotic food oral immunotherapy technology through clinical development and commercialisation.”
The treatment is already attracting the attention of global pharmaceutical companies and unlike other peanut allergy treatments in development, this new therapy is the first to allow children with peanut allergies to incorporate peanut and peanut products as a regular part of their diet.
Dr Suzanna Lipe, CEO of Prota Therapeutics welcomed the injection of funds. “This is an exciting time for us as we can now accelerate our progress to delivering life-saving treatments for food allergies,” Dr Lipe said. “It helps offer a real opportunity to develop Australia’s first oral treatment for peanut allergies, and has the potential to be adapted to treat other common food allergies including allergies to milk, egg, and other nuts.”
The investment funds will be critical to advancing Prota’s clinical trial program, which includes completing recruitment of the current multicentre peanut allergy study, developing scaled up cGMP product manufacturing processes and preparation of documentation for discussions with regulatory agencies.
Enrolment of participants into the clinical study is progressing well across the three centres in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and recruitment is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2018. The study will provide important evidence of a longer lasting tolerance to peanut and to compare the effects of probiotic peanut oral immunotherapy with peanut immunotherapy alone.
MCRI’s Professor Mimi Tang, who developed the peanut allergy treatment, said, “We are excited to be developing a world first approach to treatment of peanut allergy that combines a probiotic together with peanut oral immunotherapy. Working with Prota Therapeutics and further investment by OneVentures is an important step in progressing development of this promising new treatment.”
Bill Ferris AC, Chair of Innovation and Science Australia, welcomed today's announcement as significant for the nation.
"As the first investment from the Biomedical Translation Fund, today's announcement from the team at One Ventures and Prota Theraputics is an important marker for Australian innovation. The BTF was designed to provide the injections of funding needed to turn Australia's world-class medical research into treatments for Australian patients.”
Allergic reactions to peanuts and other foods inflict terrible suffering on children and unthinkable distress for parents. The hope offered by this treatment that we may avoid these situations in future is remarkable and well worth celebrating. In addition to the importance of new treatments and diagnostics themselves, commercialising break-through medical research provides Australia with new highly-skilled jobs, the opening of significant export opportunities, increased capacity and capabilities in the Australian life sciences sector, and a boost to the economy as a whole." Mr Ferris said.
OneVentures is pleased to make this type of investment in Prota Therapeutics, which delivers on the vision the government had for the Biomedical Translation Fund, to support companies in earlier stages of the development cycle where risks are higher, despite having achieved proof of concept.
The OneVentures Healthcare Fund III will seek to continue supporting the companies in which it invests, playing an active role in the development and growth of the Australian life sciences sector, and helping businesses become leaders in their industries.
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Tel: +61 2 8205 7379
Tel: +61 3 8866 1218
OneVentures is an Australian venture capital firm with $320M under management launching its first fund in 2010. OneVentures utilises its strengths in business building to accelerate portfolio company performance. OneVentures has delivered exit value to investors of $1.5B including four Nasdaq companies. A global growth focus drives investment selection with portfolio companies addressing multi-billion dollar problems from breakthroughs in healthcare (e.g. needle free vaccine delivery) through to the transformation of online education (e.g. next generation courseware and personalised learning) and the connected world (IoT, SaaS and virtual reality).
About Prota Therapeutics
Prota Therapeutics is a newly established Australian private company developing immunotherapy based treatments for food allergy. The company’s lead product based on innovative technology licensed from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, is under development as a treatment for the most common cause of life-threatening anaphylaxis, peanut allergy.
For more information, contact:
The Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) is the largest child health research institute in Australia and is one of the top five worldwide. MCRI is renowned as a world leader in paediatric research including allergy, infectious diseases, immune disorders, genetics, cancer, stem cell technology and population health. The Institute is co-located with campus partners The Royal Children’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne. This unique position allows MCRI to translate discoveries in laboratory, clinical and public health research into real benefits to help children around Australia and the world live healthier, happier lives.
Tel: +61 3 9936 6336