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How Commercialisation Australia helped get us off the ground: Pharmaceutical research company tells

Friday, 2 May 2014 | By Kye White

Sydney biotech startup Clarity Pharmaceuticals, which hopes to dramatically improve treatment outcomes for a range of serious diseases such as cancer, would not exist if not for the support of Commercialisation Australia, according to its executive chairman, Dr Alan Taylor.


The startup is at the cutting edge of medicine and hopes one day its technology can be used to deliver far more personalised medicine to patients.


Taylor says the technology has the potential to take a drug which has been at 20% efficacy in clinical trials, and raise it to closer to “70, 80 or 90%” by determining whether or not a drug is reaching its intended target.


“They have helped us significantly,’’ he says of Commercialisation Australia – the body the Commission of Audit recently recommended should be abolished.


“Our latest commercialisation grant funded is an experienced executive grant, funding our head of contract services, which is the revenue part of our business.’’


This week the company raised more than $1.1 million from investors to expand its international operations in the US, Europe and Asia and to develop new applications for its technology.


The company has now raised $3.5 million from investors and grants from Commercialisation Australia.


Taylor says the company could not have just relied on the private sector to get off the ground.


“The private sector would do their own investment in research and development and the like, but when it comes to a company raising funds as a startup, it’s very rare to a have a strategic private sector company, investing in a startup,’’ he said.


“Typically in the early stages of funding, it’s the three F’s, friends, families and fools, and angel groups and the like.


“When it comes to medical academia, Australia has a strong record, but we have not yet built the ecosystem to commercialise a lot of this research.’’


The company was founded by Dr Matt Harris in 2010 with $650,000 of seed capital and has since taken the technology, developed by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the University of Melbourne, to market where it’s being used by international pharmaceutical companies to improve the development and testing of new medicines.