A unique collaboration between government, industry and researchers aims to accelerate drug discovery using a new technology platform. Already, the team has identified a potential anti-cancer drug lead targeting the regulator gene cMyc.

The challenge

Developing therapies for treating cancer

Despite extensive work by industry and researchers, a significant number of highly important cancer targets remain untreatable by drugs.

A key hurdle in the development of new therapies is the identification of promising new molecular starting points.

Melbourne biotech MecRx had an idea for a technological solution to identify novel drug starting points.

Yet, as a start-up company, they lacked the resources and funding to get their idea off the ground.

Our response

Bringing together minds from across sectors

A team of people standing outdoors

From left to right: CSIRO's Paul Savage, MecRx's Jo Alcindor and Chris Smith, and CSIRO's Jack Ryan.

With the support of a Victorian Government Technology Voucher, MecRx partnered with us to develop a new technology platform for identifying promising starting points for new anti-cancer drugs.

We shared the research and development costs in return for a mixture of milestone payments and shares in MecRx, based on their success.

The risk-sharing agreement has enabled MecRx to secure a $4 million investment from the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund to advance its breakthrough technology for accelerating drug discovery.

The results

Putting a new lead to the test

Using the technology platform, the team has identified a potential anti-cancer drug lead for inhibiting the biological target cMyc – a key driver of destructive cell proliferation in many cancers.

MecRx and CSIRO have now joined forces with the world-leading Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to develop and test the drug lead. If successful, the drug could be tested in cancer patients within a few years.

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