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Biotech collaboration established to commercialize research reagents

October 17, 2010

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, has entered a collaboration with New Jersey-based medical technology company BD to evaluate and potentially develop for research and diagnostic use some of the institute's reagents.

The institute has a portfolio of more than 100 monoclonal antibodies produced through its in-house antibody facility for research into cancer, chronic inflammatory diseases and infectious diseases.

The collaboration, with BD's Biosciences segment, will build on programs at the institute that are focused on identifying novel targets for therapeutic monoclonal antibody and drug development.

Under the terms of the agreement, BD will make upfront and annual payments to the institute as well as royalty payments on sales of any licensed antibodies in return for a first option to evaluate and commercialise antibodies from the institute. The financial terms of the collaboration are confidential.

The institute's business development manager Dr James Dromey said antibodies were an important tool in the lab as well as the clinic, where they are used as diagnostic tools and biomarkers.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the institute to share its internal resources and scientific expertise with the wider scientific community and to improve the possibility of the institute's technology being commercialised and having a positive impact on research and diagnostic markets," Dr Dromey said.

"The institute's strategic research interests align well with those of BD, particularly in key areas such as cancer, programmed cell death (apoptosis), stem cells and immunology. This is the first commercial contract that we have established for wider utilisation of institute reagents, and we hope it will be the first step in a broader collaboration with BD."

The institute has a track record for producing commercially available and successful products, including the LIF protein, which is essential for the maintenance of embryonic stem cells, and the pGex fusion protein vector.

Antibody production and related services form one of the most important technology platforms that underpin the institute's successful science and commercialisation activities. The institute's 'discovery pipeline' is fed by more than 250 research projects, many involving development of new antibodies through its in-house antibody facility.
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Established in 1991, the facility provides a range of monoclonal and polyclonal antibody-related services to internal research groups and external research organisations.

BD is a global medical technology company whose mission is to improve drug delivery, enhance the diagnosis of infectious diseases and cancers, and advance drug discovery. Dr Dromey said BD's strong international profile and quality of product was a key factor in the institute's decision to partner with the company.

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

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