Tag: commercialization

akampion Meets… Martin Austin, Founder & Managing Director of TransformRx and Director of Alma Bio Therapeutics


akampion: When we first met, you were with Paul Capital Partners and very actively scouting the European biotech scene for potential deals. Since then, you have founded TransformRx and now you are also a Director at Alma Bio Therapeutics – how did that come about?

Martin Austin: I left Paul Capital because in my view, the market for royalty funds was beginning to narrow and only companies with sufficient revenues could really fit into the investment model. At the same time, the market trend moved more towards development and R&D. So I was wondering how to address these developments, and so I eventually acquired the Swiss subsidiary of Paul Capital and founded TransformRx GmbH.

Since I know operations in the pharma and the investment industries very well, the idea was to offer financial intermediation services. How can a biotech get money? How to invest in biotech?


akampion: We definitely believe there must have been a market for financial intermediation in the biotech sector – there still is!

Martin Austin: Indeed. But in addition, I also had clients calling up to get support in business development and commercialization, since I have been working in that space for a long time. So I took on these projects and had a request to develop a my commercial BD course with CELforPharma in Brussels into a format for a business development course at the University of Basel. It is part of a Master´s program at the European Center of Pharmaceutical Medicine ECPM which offers a range of training courses in the field of drug development, including leadership and biobusiness development. And then I had an invitation to run a course in China, which I have been running annually since 2007.


akampion: So one project led to another…

Martin Austin: Yes – and it continues! I received similar requests from France and elsewhere which led to my first book on Business Development in the Pharmaceutical Industry being published.The next book is out this year, by the way, and will focus on commercializing IP in healthcare. Just to give you some background, I have also been advising various technology transfer offices for a several years and this sparked the idea for the second book.


akampion: And now you´re also with Alma Bio Therapeutics, a company developing novel antiinflammatory drugs to treat Crohn´s disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

Martin Austin: Right. The CEO is a former “student” of mine. She contacted me because in Israel, the conditions for biotech companies are not very favorable, so the idea was to transfer IP and the company from Israel to Europe. Alma, for example, has a product licensed from the Weizmann Institute. The company is now situated at the Basel incubator and is looking for further funding from angel investors and VCs. The lead product is a synthetic gene sequence encouraging the body to produce a protein called HSP70. HSP70 acts as a transient signal to T-regulatory cells in the immune system which re-harmonises the body’s responses to inflammation. The initial mouse experiments have yielded very good results, so we have a mammalian proof-of-principle – and the manufacturing is already in place as well. I am very glad to be part of the company´s team because I believe that Alma as a start-up company is very well set. So we are ready for investment!

akampion: Thank you, Martin! We will keep our fingers crossed for Alma´s financing and hope to be able to read your new book soon.

Company News: InDex Pharmaceuticals Appoints Stig Løkke Pedersen as Board Member

– Former Lundbeck Executive Brings Strong Commercial Experience and Extensive Pharmaceutical Industry Network –

InDex Pharmaceuticals today announced that Stig Løkke Pedersen has been appointed as a new member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Pedersen brings to InDex Pharmaceuticals over 25 years of longstanding life sciences industry experience in commercial operations and leadership.

Mr. Pedersen previously served as Executive Vice President of Commercial Operations at H. Lundbeck A/S. He joined Lundbeck in January 1992, being responsible for the company’s business development activities. Following a period as Managing Director of Lundbeck Netherlands, he became part of the corporate senior management in 1998. Mr. Pedersen was appointed Executive Vice President in April 2003 and held the position as EVP for Commercial Operations from 2007 until June 2011, when he resigned from his position at Lundbeck. Mr. Pedersen is a Partner at Executive Capital A/S and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Chemometec A/S and Nuevolution A/S. He is a member of the Board of Directors at MSI Methylation Sciences Inc. and a member of the Advisory Board of Atrium Partners A/S and JSB-Partners, as well as an advisor to the Lundbeck Foundation.

Company News: Curetis AG Achieves CE-Marking for Unyvero™ Solution and Initiates Commercialization

– Successful completion of performance evaluation study; CE Mark for Unyvero™ instrument system and pneumonia application

Curetis AG, an innovative molecular diagnostics company focusing on the development and commercialization of in-vitro diagnostic products for infectious diseases, today announced that the company has achieved the CE marking for its Unyvero™ suite of instruments and the P50 Pneumonia Cartridge and that is has already initiated national and international commercialization activities. The performance evaluation of Curetis´ Unyvero™ System and the Unyvero™ P50 Pneumonia cartridge was successfully completed just recently.

The evaluation has demonstrated excellent performance characteristics of the Unyvero™ pneumonia application in terms of sensitivity and specificity. Overall sensitivity in 186 tested fresh and frozen clinical sputum, aspirate and lavage samples was above 75% sensitivity with a better than 95% specificity. The Unyvero™ P50 pneumonia application cartridge identified 74 additional pathogens missed by standard microbiology culture, which was used as gold-standard comparator in terms of performance. If confirmed with independent methods this might demonstrate that the Unyvero™ pneumonia test offers significant improvements in terms of sensitivity over current clinical standards. This analysis is ongoing.

Cartridge and instrument system have also passed other important criteria, such as repeatability, reproducibility, interference testing, and cross-reactivity. The complete performance evaluation study included 318 Unyvero™ P50 cartridge runs between January and April 2012.

Based on positive feedback from many potential distribution partners during the 22nd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) earlier this year, Curetis has also begun establishing its international distributor network and expects to target an even broader international market than originally anticipated beginning in 2012/13 already.

Company News: MediGene Expands Commercialization of Veregen to China and South Korea

– Closing of two additional license and supply agreements for the commercialization and marketing of Veregen® –

MediGene AG (Frankfurt, Prime Standard, TecDAX) has signed two further license and supply agreements for the commercialization and marketing of Veregen®. These have been signed with GC-Rise Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. in China and JS Bio Pharm Co., Ltd. in South Korea.

GC-Rise will conduct the clinical trials of Veregen® (for the treatment of genital warts) that are required for approval of the ointment in China, and will be responsible for all the regulatory and approval procedures thereafter. MediGene will receive a one-time payment upon execution of the agreement and a further milestone payment upon initiation of the first clinical trial in China. In addition, MediGene will profit from supplying GC-Rise with the drug product. GC-Rise expects market launch in China at the end of 2013.

JS Bio Pharm will promote and distribute Veregen® for the treatment of genital warts, and will also be responsible for all regulatory procedures and for obtaining approval of the drug in South Korea. MediGene will receive royalties and a milestone payment contingent on the level of sales achieved. In addition, MediGene will profit from supplying JS Bio Pharm with the drug product. JS Bio Pharm expects to launch the drug on the South Korean market during 2012.

Please click here for more information.

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