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Published on : Jun 29, 2015

The University of Queensland’s discovery for a chronic pain treatment drug may soon be taken over by a global pharmaceutical company and the drug may be soon be available clinically. 

Norvatis International AG has paid in cash for acquiring Spinifex Pharmaceuticals in a deal worth US$200 million that includes regulatory payments and clinical development the details of which has not been revealed. 

UQ commercialization branch Uniquest had founded Spinifex. Peter Høj the UQ Vice Chancellor and President Professor welcomed the merger and remarked that it is a historical deal in biotechnology history in Australia. Spinifex has grown on commercial translations of UQ and among these are the first vaccines for cancer. This deal is a stunning example of UQs drive to develop a product to improve so many people’s lives across the world.

Spinifex is in the process of developing the drug that is an oral treatment for chronic pain especially neuropathic pain, which will not have side effects of the central nervous system. The drug candidate is known as EMA401 and is based on the discovery by Maree Smith from UQ. The deal will mean that the drug was a step closer to patients who required it the most. It would help millions of sufferers around the world. 

Chronic pain is associated with conditions such as cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, post herpetic neuralgia, chemotherapy, and peripheral nerve injury. The collaboration between UQ and Emory University is named QEDDI and it will focus on fighting health issues such as inflammatory disorders, infectious diseases, cancer, and diabetes. 

A syndicate of investors including NovoVentures (Novo A/S), UniSeed (a venture fund operating at the Universities of Melbourne, Queensland and New South Wales), Canaan Partners, and Brandon Capital Partners support Spinifex.