Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics has partnered with Hong Kong listed China Grand Pharma’s newly established Australian company Grand Medical Ltd to develop a new drug for Human Parainfluenza Virus.

Institute of Glycomics hPIV researchers at work

Human parainfluenza virus (hPIV) commonly causes upper and lower respiratory illnesses in infants, young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems, including transplant patients, however anyone can get infected. Symptoms of severe lower respiratory illness can include bronchitis, bronchiolitis, croup and pneumonia.

Respiratory tract infections remain the deadliest communicable diseases worldwide, causing more than 3.2 million deaths in 2015 alone. Yet antiviral drugs that target these viruses are drastically underrepresented in the pharmaceutical market. There is currently no therapeutic available to specifically treat hPIV infection.

Professor Mark von Itzstein AO addresses media about the multi-million dollar agreement

Professor Mark von Itzstein AO, Director of the Institute for Glycomics and leader of the research team that discovered the world’s first drug for Influenza, Relenza, is the lead researcher and co-inventor of this new scientific discovery.

“For over a decade we have built strong scientific expertise and a robust suite of potent lead molecules against hPIV. This significant co-development program with China Grand Pharma, to deliver a new drug to treat hPIV, represents a significant milestone for my team and project leaders Drs Guillon, El-Deeb and Dirr. The hPIV program is supported by the iCAIR (International Consortium for Anti-Infective Research) platform, upon which the Institute for Glycomics is developing new tools to fight infectious diseases like hPIV, with its international partners,” said Professor von Itzstein AO.

Griffith University signed the exclusive licence and co-development agreement with China Grand Pharma to co-develop and commercialise the human parainfluenza drug candidate globally. The deal comprises significant upfront Research & Development and licence fees plus development and sales milestone fees with a tiered royalty on product sales.

The Institute’s General Manager and Chair of Ausbiotech Ltd Queensland branch, Dr Chris Davis, led the Institute’s Business team in commercialisation negotiations with China Grand Pharma.

“We are extremely pleased to finalise this significant commercial agreement with China Grand Pharma that will develop the world’s first small molecule drug to treat the diseases caused by hPIV.

“This multimillion-dollar agreement represents Australia’s largest preclinical stage university engagement with Pharma to discover a novel antiviral drug and reflects our strong scientific team and IP portfolio”.

Dr Michael Wang

China Grand Pharma consider this translational research program a significant step in building their drug discovery pipeline. “We are delighted to partner with the Institute for Glycomics to develop and commercialise this promising new technology,” said Michael Wang, Vice President of China Grand Pharma.

“We believe that combining the Institute’s unique platform with our capabilities in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector will allow for the rapid and effective development of new therapeutics to combat this deadly virus and contribute to better global health,” added Wang.

Griffith University’s Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Carolyn Evans welcomed the co-agreement and congratulated all those involved.

Professor von Itzstein AO commends his team of researchers for their efforts in bringing the drug to this stage

“With neither an hPIV treatment nor vaccine currently on the market, there is a clear unmet clinical need and market opportunity for an hPIV therapy; thus, this licensing agreement and co-development deal is incredibly exciting and raises hope for millions around the globe,” said Professor Evans.

“This is a major licensing deal for Griffith University and a wonderful outcome for the Institute for Glycomics, the researchers involved, and China Grand Pharma. It’s a perfect example of the Institute’s pioneering research and its commitment to translating and commercialising its research into tangible benefits for the global community,” added Professor Evans.

China Grand Pharma has made major investments in several international companies including an Australian company Sirtex Medical Pty Ltd, German company Cardionovum GmbH and Canadian company Conavi Medical Inc.

Institute for Glycomics

The Institute for Glycomics is one of Australia’s flagship biomedical research institutes. Established in 2000, through investment from Griffith University and the Queensland State Government, we strive to be world leaders in the discovery and development of next generation drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for diseases of global impact.
The Institute boasts state-of-the-art facilities combined with some of the world’s outstanding researchers in various areas of chemistry, biology and biophysics, all with a primary focus on translational research that will inevitably have a positive impact on human health.
This rich research environment also provides exceptional postgraduate education programs for the nation’s future scientists.