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Exodus moves to diversify

Perth-based minerals explorer Exodus Minerals Limited is targeting a world wide market valued at around $1.8 billion with a move to diversify through a new venture capital division specialising in biotechnology projects.

This follows agreement to acquire an interest in a technology which could lead to the development of the first-ever diagnostic test for multiple sclerosis.

The technology, developed at Perth’s Murdoch University, relates to the identification of a virus suspected to be related to MS which could lead to the development of a test kit for the debilitating disease involving a simple blood test which would not require long-term clinical trials.

In the longer term, further research on the newly discovered virus could lead to a potential vaccine for the disease. At present, there is no effective screening or known cure for MS.

Under the agreement, Exodus will secure the rights to MS Biotechnology held by Perth-based venture capital group CapTel Biotechnology, plus the opportunity to acquire certain other future biotechnology opportunities presented to CapTel.

Exodus managing director Alistair Cowden said the agreement represented a unique and exciting opportunity for the company, through its association with CapTel and Murdoch University’s commercial arm, Unico, to become an incubator for biotechnology ventures.

“Through our access to capital markets, we can provide venture capital to exciting biotechnology and biomedical projects, effectively establishing a new division which will operate alongside our existing mineral exploration activities,” Dr Cowden said.

“The MS Biotechnology project is an outstanding first opportunity for Exodus, offering the potential for significant near-term returns without a substantial up-front funding requirement.

“The development of a proven diagnostic test for MS would be an outstanding medical breakthrough while, in the longer term, the research involved could lead to important developments in treating the disease itself.”

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