2 August 2004

In a bid to offer relief to patients affected by kidney, blood and heart disease, emerging biotechnology company Nephrogenix has signed a collaborative research agreement with Australia's National Stem Cell Centre (NSCC).

Seeking to maximise the existing synergies that exist between the two companies, NSCC and Nephrogenix signed a collaborative agreement to explore the common ancestry of interrelated systems involved in forming kidneys, bone and bone marrow.

The NSCC is focussed on providing treatments for blood, heart and respiratory disease while Nephrogenix is dedicated to developing therapies for renal (kidney) conditions.

Nephrogenix Executive Officer Samantha Cobb said the combined expertise and common goals of NSCC and Nephrogenix in this pioneering area of research made the agreement a natural fit.

"Nephrogenix is aiming to develop the next generation of renal treatments from the research of the Renal Regeneration Consortium, which is comprised of many of Australia's pre-eminent researchers in the fields of cell and tissue based therapies and kidney development," Ms Cobb said.

"Chronic renal failure currently affects 60,000 Australians and one in three Australians is at risk of chronic renal disease, while kidney disease costs the health system around $1 billion per year. In response Nephrogenix is seeking to develop cell based therapies for renal disease."

NSCC Chief Executive Officer, Hugh Niall, welcomed the mutual benefits of the collaboration and said it recognised the scientific synergies between Nephrogenix and the NSCC.

"As Australia's Biotechnology Centre of Excellence, part of our mandate is to stimulate activity throughout the Australian biotechnology industry," Dr Niall said.

"We are pleased the NSCC can enter a relationship with Nephrogenix that allows each of us to capitalise on the synergies between our respective research programs and that simultaneously assists the development of a promising biotechnology company."

The leading scientists involved in the NSCC-Nephrogenix collaboration include Associate Professor Martin Pera of the Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development and Associate Professor Andrew Perkins, Dr Sean Grimmond and Dr Rohan Teasdale from The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

The NSCC is a major collaborative initiative including many of Australia's leading academic researchers to develop innovative therapeutic products to treat a range of serious injuries and debilitating diseases. It was formed out of the Backing Australia's Ability initiative of the Australian Government.

Nephrogenix is a national initiative, commercialising the outcomes from the Renal Regeneration Consortium based at The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience and researchers located at Monash University in Melbourne.

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