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New deal for EQiTX offshoot

BIOTECHNOLOGY company ZingoTX Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Perth-based biotech EQiTX, has signed licence and ancillary agreements with the University of Sydney to develop pain and anti-inflammation drugs.

Under the deal ZingoTX will develop and commercialise new drugs to treat pain and inflammation based on new technology developed by the University of Sydney’s School of Pharmacy’s Gingerol Project.

The move formalises the acquisition of the technology after a heads of agreement was entered into in December 2002.

According to EQiTX CEO Noel Chambers, ZingoTX was established to develop a suite of new drugs across a range of therapeutic areas targeting what he describes as “substantial” markets for pain and inflammation.

EQiTX will invest a total of $2.36 million in ZingoTX over a two-year period, subject to the completion of certain milestones, to ultimately own 58 per cent of ZingoTX, with the balance being held by The University of Sydney and TP Health Limited.

As part of stage one, which is expected to be completed by November, an initial payment of $315,000 has been made by EQiTX to ZingoTX and will be used to further refine and select the lead compounds. Stage two involves payment of a further $680,000 and preclinical testing and refinement.

“At milestone two, we expect that we will be in a position to put a package to pharmaceutical companies,” Dr Chambers said.

Stage three involves payment of $620,000 and the final stages of preclinical testing. Stage four is the final payment of $745,000 and initial human trials.

Dr Chambers said preliminary animal tests had indicated that the new compounds might not be addictive and, at the current stage of product development, initial toxicity studies have revealed no observed side effects on acute administration.

Dr Chambers said this gave the product a clear advantage over existing products such as morphine, which could be addictive and required increasing doses over time to be effective.

He said other drugs currently available for the treatment of pain and inflammation did not adequately treat pain and inflammation in all people and had been associated with side effects including addiction, constipation, nausea, renal and cardiovascular problems, as well as bleeding and ulceration in the intestinal tract.

Dr Chambers said EQiTX’s point of difference was the appointment of a highly qualified management team and an eminent body of experts who assisted the company.

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