Melbourne, Australia, 20 July 2022: OccuRx has been awarded a $1.5m grant from CUREator, Australia’s biomedical incubator managed by Brandon BioCatalyst.
The funds will allow OccuRx to further investigate a novel therapy (OCX063) for treating inflammation and fibrosis in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Chronic kidney disease (including diabetic kidney disease) is one of the fastest growing causes of death worldwide, expected to become the fifth most common cause of death globally by 2040 and by the end of the century, the second leading cause of death in countries with long life expectancy.1,2
CKD is characterised by a progressive loss of kidney function due to chronic inflammation and fibrosis which then leads to end organ failure. Management of this condition is heavily reliant on controlling high blood pressure with the use of anti-hypertensive drug, as well as treatment with steroids or immunosuppressants to minimise inflammation. However, there is a significant unmet need for targeted anti-fibrotic therapies that can slow or prevent the progression of disease and improve patient outcomes.
OccuRx’s goal is to develop innovative precision therapeutics for chronic kidney diseases and other fibrotic conditions using genetic technologies, specifically DNA testing or biomarkers, to allow the targeted application of treatments for patients, optimising their response to treatment.
OCX063 is OccuRx’s lead small molecule drug candidate in development and has shown to target a novel receptor that mediates signalling pathways associated with inflammation and fibrosis in conditions of the eye and kidney.
The CUREator grant allows Occurx to accelerate the commencement of its phase II study, investigating the safety and efficacy of OCX063 in patients with either diabetic kidney disease and other neglected kidney diseases. The study is currently in start-up and anticipated to achieve first patient enrolled by Q4 2022 (subject to regulatory and ethics approvals).
OccuRx was one of six (6) recipients within the clinical stream to receive the CUREator funding and is also supported by Brandon Biocatalyst and Uniseed.
“CUREator is delighted to support OccuRx as a successful round one awardee for the clinical stream as they continue to maximise the development of their promising therapeutic program here in Australia. This funding will support OccuRx’s clinical development program, progressing their asset towards regulatory approval and market launch. Ultimately, this means they will be better positioned to achieve commercial success and have a positive, global impact on patient lives and that’s entirely what CUREator is here to support.”
1. Ruiz-Ortega et al 2022, 2. Foreman et al 2018.
Delivered by Brandon BioCatalyst, CUREator is backed by the Australian Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund. The MRFF’s $80 million Early Stage Translation and Commercialisation Support Grant (ESTAC) aims to assist businesses to develop projects that support medical innovation in Australia through to proof-of-concept and beyond, providing opportunities for commercialisation. CUREator is responsible for managing $40m of this fund, dedicated to supporting commercialisation of both preclinical medical innovations and early clinical development of therapeutics.