New gene therapy company targets MND, epilepsy and dementia


A new company has been launched to commercialise the gene therapy work of two world-leading research teams from Macquarie Medical School.

Celosia Therapeutics is dedicated to delivering gene therapies for devastating neurodegenerative conditions such as motor neurone disease (MND) to patients within the next decade.

The company, launched with more than $2 million in seed funding from Macquarie University, has exclusive access to a portfolio of patents for advanced gene therapies developed by Professor Lars Ittner, Professor Roger Chung and their research teams.

Celosia Therapeutics Chief Executive Officer, Dr Brenton Hamdorf, said the company will begin by developing a gene therapy to treat MND that has shown great promise in laboratory testing.

“We aim to start clinical trials of this treatment within five years, but this is only the first of the exciting discoveries we have at our disposal, just waiting to be developed for use by patients,” Dr Hamdorf said.

“We will seek further funding in 2023 to develop gene therapy treatments with enormous potential to provide life-changing benefits for motor neurone and other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease and Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of drug-resistant childhood epilepsy that can cause hundreds of seizures a day.

“Our partnership with Macquarie University is key to bringing these treatments from the lab to the bedside. It extends beyond that of an investor by providing us with vital access to critical research capabilities, infrastructure, clinical expertise and patients who are waiting for these new treatment options.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor S Bruce Dowton said this new endeavour showcases the unique role universities can play in facilitating the translation of groundbreaking academic research for the benefit of patients around the world.

“Macquarie is leading by example in its support of university commercialisation by proactively backing innovative opportunities such as this,” Professor Dowton said.

“We are proud to support Celosia Therapeutics, and we look forward to seeing what it will achieve in the future.”

Celosia Therapeutics is a member of the Macquarie University Incubator community, which supports more than 40 companies ranging from idea stage to scaleup.

The Macquarie Incubator is designed to drive the development of sustainable, scalable and investable companies from within our community of researchers, students and alumni—as well as from the wider community.

Last year, Macquarie Incubator companies attracted more than $44 million in external funding and created nearly 200 jobs.

Director of Incubation and Entrepreneurship, Melissa Ryan, said there is an emerging movement in Australia towards an innovation economy.

“The innovation economy values ideas as the new resource boom,” Ms Ryan said.

“We believe the key to unlocking innovation is via entrepreneurial pathways, so we’re thrilled to support Celosia Therapeutics’ transformation into a thriving commercial success.”





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