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Bernie Goldie

Improved UOW anti-cancer formulation patented in Europe

A novel formulation for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer, developed by University of Wollongong researchers, has been granted patent rights by the European Patent Office.

Emeritus Professor John Bremner at UOW’s School of Chemistry, Professor Philip Clingan and Dr Julie Locke are the co-inventors on the patent, which arose from research conducted in collaboration with Associate Professor Marie Ranson and Dr Tamantha Stutchbury between 2003 and 2010. Professor Clingan and Professor Ranson are both directors of the Cancer Continuum Research Program at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI).

The novel formulation, called Fluorodex, was developed to address key adverse events associated with current treatment regimens that are used to combat metastatic colorectal cancer.

“Many colorectal cancer patients cannot tolerate existing ‘standard of care’ treatments, which leads to interruption or discontinuation of therapy,” Professor Clingan said.

“The main benefit of Fluorodex is the ability to deliver an effective chemotherapeutic regimen that patients can tolerate over repeated treatment cycles.”

The granted EP patent (No. 2131849) will assist UOW and its commercialisation partner UniQuest in ongoing discussions with potential industry partners, who are evaluating the technology for clinical testing. Earlier in 2011, the research group received a favourable review of a proposed clinical treatment protocol from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which further clarified the steps needed to take Fluorodex through the clinical trial phase.

UOW's Commercialisation Manager (Health and Science), Dr Gavin Dixon said the European Patent Office has a particularly gruelling examination process, so the patent milestone gives the Fluorodex technology a significant value boost.

“European patents for Australian innovations not only re-affirm the high quality of local research – they help improve the risk profile of the commercial opportunity for potential investors and licensees as the technology progresses to a clinical trial program and market launch.”

Dr Dixon said UOW gratefully acknowledges the considerable financial support that local organisations have contributed to the Fluorodex project over the years, including the Illawarra Cancer Carers Inc., Kiama, Minnamurra and Gerringong Sunrise Rotary, The Robert East Memorial Fund, Southern Medical Day Care Centre, the Gay Bates Memorial Foundation and contributions from the UOW Alumni. The project has also received Australian Federal Government funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council and AusIndustry’s COMET scheme.

For further information contact Dr Gavin Dixon on (02) 4221 5029 or mobile 0419 609 656.