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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 21:23 EDT

Spinifex Closes AU$18.25M(~US$19M) Expanded Series B Round

August 23, 2011

MELBOURNE, Australia, August 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –

Additional Funds to Broaden Phase 2 Program for New Pain Drug

        - AU$6.25M (~US$6.5M) investment by GBS Venture Partners,
          Brandon Capital, Uniseed and UniQuest completes round
        - Two additional Phase 2 studies will run in parallel with planned
          clinical trial in postherpetic neuralgia patients

Spinifex Pharmaceuticals, an Australian pain drug development company,
today announced it has secured a further AU$6.25 million of venture capital
investment from GBS Venture Partners Limited, Brandon Capital Partners Pty
Limited, Uniseed Management Pty Limited and UniQuest Pty Limited to fund the
development of its pain management drug, EMA401.

This expanded Series B funding builds on a previously announced AU$12
million investment from the same syndicate and will be used in part to
expand the Phase 2 clinical trial program for EMA401 to a further two
indications, specifically;

        - The treatment of pain and hypersensitivity in peripheral
          nerve injury patients.
        - The treatment of pain and hypersensitivity in cancer
          chemotherapy patients.

These new clinical trials are a translation into clinical research of
the results from Spinifex’s ongoing collaboration with Prof. Praveen Anand
(Professor of Clinical Neurology at Imperial College London’s Hammersmith
Hospital) and his research laboratory.

The studies will run alongside a soon to be initiated Phase 2 clinical
trial of EMA401 in postherpetic neuralgia, a painful condition that develops
in some patients following herpes zoster (shingles) and where existing
therapy does not relieve pain in all individuals.

EMA401 is an angiotensin II type 2 (AT2) receptor antagonist. The
discovery that this class of molecules offers an innovative approach to the
treatment of neuropathic and inflammatory pain was originally made by
Professor Maree Smith at the University of Queensland. Having licensed the
technology, Spinifex has conducted a comprehensive pre-clinical and early
clinical development program. EMA401 has shown efficacy in a number of
relevant models and good human safety and pharmacokinetics in Phase 1
studies.

Spinifex Pharmaceuticals CEO Tom McCarthy said: “We appreciate the
ongoing support of our investors. Their further investment allows us to
expand the EMA401 Phase 2 clinical program and also gives us additional
flexibility as we plan the further development of this asset. Building on
Prof. Smith’s original discovery, Prof. Anand’s studies on the AT2 receptor
in tissue samples collected from patients with different neurological
conditions, have demonstrated a clear rationale for the use of AT2 receptor
antagonists in a number of painful conditions and we have used this data to
select these important additional clinical indications.”

Prof. Anand commented: “Based on our human tissue laboratory data, the
AT2 receptor is a very promising novel target in pain research and EMA401
has demonstrated excellent results in our studies. We are excited to expand
our collaboration with Spinifex into clinical research. Our innovative study
designs incorporate new functional pain biomarkers and correlative
histological assessments. In addition, the selection of the clinical
indications was informed by a broad assessment of AT2 receptor localisation
in somatic and visceral pain pathways, and functional studies in isolated
human neurones to better define clinical doses.”

Prof. Chas Bountra, Chair of Spinifex’s Scientific Advisory Board said:
“The discovery and the development of new pain medicines desperately needs
innovative approaches in order to address the significant unmet medical
need. Prof. Anand’s approach of conducting fundamental pharmacology studies
in human tissue samples and then translating the results into clinical proof
of concept studies represents a paradigm shift in how new pain medicines are
discovered. Using this approach, Prof. Anand moved the development of a
number of assets forward during my time as Vice President and Head of
Biology at GSK’s Neurology and Gastrointestinal Diseases CEDD, including
most recently their novel p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)
inhibitor dilmapimod, and we will use the same approach in our studies with
EMA401.”

Spinifex’s clinical program for EMA401 is initially focused on
neuropathic pain, an area of high unmet medical need. The market for
neuropathic pain treatments is expected to continue to increase and is
projected to reach US$6.2 billion by 2017. Despite this growth, current
therapy needs to be improved as a significant proportion of neuropathic pain
patients don’t respond to current therapy and these treatments have
dose-limiting side effects. As a result, EMA401 is being developed as a
potential first-in-class oral treatment for neuropathic pain and related
symptoms without central nervous system side effects.

Spinifex Pharmaceuticals

Spinifex Pharmaceuticals is an Australian biotechnology company
developing new drug candidates for the treatment and management of pain.

Established in 2005 and based in Melbourne, Spinifex has applied its
world-class drug development capabilities to advance product candidates. Its
lead product EMA401 is under development as a potential first-in-class oral
treatment for neuropathic pain and related symptoms without CNS side
effects. Spinifex is conducting Phase 2 clinical trials with EMA401 in a
number of neuropathic pain conditions.

http://www.spinifexpharma.com.au

Brandon Capital Partners

Brandon Capital Partners makes seed and venture capital investments into
emerging businesses in the high-growth life science industry. Brandon
Capital Partners’ team has a track record of successful life science
investment as well as a history of working in research, operations and
business development in the healthcare industry.

http://www.brandoncapital.com.au

GBS Venture Partners

GBS Venture Partners is Australia’s leading life science venture capital
group with in excess of $400 million under management. GBS invests from seed
through early expansion stage and has invested in more than 30 life science
companies.

http://www.gbsventures.com.au

Uniseed

Uniseed is a $60 million commercialisation fund operating at the
Universities of Melbourne, New South Wales and Queensland. Apart from these
three universities, AustralianSuper, one of Australia’s largest and best
performing industry superannuation funds, is also a member. Uniseed has made
over 30 investments in technologies arising from its three partner
universities including Vintela (AVCAL Best Early-Stage Deal 2005) and
QRxPharma Ltd (largest biotech IPO in ASX history).

http://www.uniseed.com

Uniquest

Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely
recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university
commercialisation groups, benchmarking in the top tier of technology
transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1,500+
patents it has created over 60 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its
start-ups have raised more than $400 million to take university technologies
to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by
UniQuest are running at $3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations
developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner
institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney,
James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research
Institute, and Queensland Health. http://www.uniquest.com.au

        For more information please contact:

        Company
        Dr Tom McCarthy
        CEO Spinifex Pharmaceuticals
        Tel: +61(0)3-9938-1205
        Email: tom.mccarthy@spinifexpharma.com.au

        Media
        Chris Gardner/Nina Enegren
        Citigate Dewe Rogerson
        Tel: +44(0)20-7638-9571
        Email: nina.enegren@citigatedr.co.uk

SOURCE Spinifex Pharmaceuticals


Source: PR Newswire