A Perth specialist life science company will use a $1 million grant from Commercialisation Australia to develop biomarkers for diabetic kidney disease, which can kill up to 56 million people a year.
Proteomics International is a drug discovery company and contract research service provider.
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It is the only company globally to achieve laboratory accreditation to international standards for the provision of proteomics services. Proteomics is the study of protein function.
Now the company will use a $1 million grant from Commercialisation Australia to develop its discovered biomarkers for diabetic kidney diseases.
Diabetic kidney disease, which is a severe complication of diabetes, kills millions of people per year worldwide.
The work that Proteomics International will now undergo should result in the production of a more sensitive and effective molecular test to better predict kidney disease and monitor its progression in patients with diabetes.
Biomarkers are biological signatures that indicate the state of health or disease. The currently available microalbumin test for this disease is limited in its usefulness in early diagnosis and in monitoring the progression.
According to Proteomics International managing director Dr Richard Lipscombe, early detection is the key to managing this disease.
“Importantly, a companion diagnostic test that is being developed with these biomarkers may help to produce new personalised medicines, and in a shorter timeframe,” Lipscombe says.
“This could deliver optimal therapy for certain groups of patients and identify those patients where medicine would be less effective or cause side effects.”
“The opportunity to boost health outcomes on a large scale for the many sufferers of diabetes drives our enthusiasm.”
Proteomics International will use the funding to undertake analysis of additional patient groups to further validate its biomarkers as a precursor to out-licensing its intellectual property.
Commercialisation Australia chief executive Doron Ben-Meir says the funding for Proteomics International is a good example of the work the funding body is seeing from entrepreneurs.
“The standard of what we’re being presented with at a board level is going up. This is the result of a combination of things,” he says.
“First, the program is maturing, which means people are understanding it more.”
“Secondly, we now have up to 26 case managers who are all experienced entrepreneurs in their own right, and qualify a lot of opportunities in their own field.”
“It’s more about entrepreneurs engaging in the community, finding interesting opportunities, and those opportunities then preparing applications.”
“A lot of people are coming out of the woodwork who would never have applied for a government grant but see value in this proposition. This has led to an increase in the quality and calibre of applications, and we’re getting it across the board.”
But Ben-Meir says some areas tend to receive more money than others.
“About 10% – by money – is going to biotechnology inventions, about 34% is going to software and web design, 13% to computer systems and hardware, and 43% to manufacturing, engineering and design,” he says.