One of the defining features of the Perron Institute is its success in translational research and commercialisation, which can bring significant and timely benefits to the Western Australian community and beyond. Professor Minghao Zheng, Head of Brain and Bone Axis Research (Perron Institute and UWA) and Orthocell Co-Founder and Consultant Chief Scientific Officer
We’re proud of the contribution of the Perron Institute and its partners to WA’s history of medical research innovation. Our vision for the next decade involves new commercial partnerships, with promising molecules and therapeutics in development for a range of neurological and other conditions.
Perron Institute has been part of the creation of the following research translation vehicles:
The advanced technology developed by Professors Steve Wilton AO, Sue Fletcher AO and their team with their drugs for Duchenne, has provided a platform for potential treatments for numerous conditions, such as motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s and spinal muscular atrophy. The technology also has potential for the treatment of COVID-19.
Professor Steve Wilton, in collaboration with RAGE Biotech and Monash University, is involved in research using antisense oligonucleotide technology in respiratory disorders such as those associated with the coronavirus, as well as other conditions such as sepsis and diabetes. We also have Memoranda of Understanding with several scientific organisations locally, nationally and internationally. In Western Australia, this includes Preveceutical Medical, interstate we work with GenieUs and internationally we collaborate with renowned researchers at Duke University and the University of Colorado.
A growing portfolio
Over the past few years, several spin-off companies have been established to drive the Perron Institute’s drug development forward.
In 2020, Argenica Therapeutics Ltd was set up for the commercialisation of very promising neuroprotective peptides for the early intervention of stroke discovered by Clinical Professor Neville Knuckey and Professor Bruno Meloni at the Perron Institute and UWA. Perron Institute Medical Director Clinical Professor David Blacker is the Chairman of the Clinical Advisory Committee and Professor Meloni is the Chief Scientific Officer. The company (ASX:AGN) listed on the Australian Stock Exchange mid 2021.
Black Swan Pharmaceuticals
An international collaboration between Australia, the USA and the UK, Black Swan Pharmaceuticals was established in 2019 to expedite drug development, particularly for motor neurone disease. Professor Anthony Akkari is the Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Loren Flynn is the Director of Therapeutic Development and Professor Steve Wilton AO is on the Scientific Advisory Board.
SynGenis was established in 2020 by Associate Professor Rakesh Veedu (CMMIT, Murdoch University and Perron Institute) for the manufacture of research grade nucleic acids and to commercialise intellectual property created by A/Professor Veedu in the areas of diabetes and macular degeneration.
Avicena Systems was established by Professor Paul Watt and several other WA research leaders. They have developed the ‘Avicena Sentinel’ machine, a highly sensitive population screening platform for viruses such as COVID-19, which aims to make repeated testing quicker and easier without compromising testing quality. Professor Sulev Koks (Perron Institute and CMMIT) is one of the researchers collaborating with the multidisciplinary team.
Scientific collaboration – Brain and Bone and orthopaedics
Professor Minghao Zheng, head of the Perron Institute’s Brain and Bone Axis Research group, is best known for his work on bone and joint disease and regenerative medicine. He has published over 250 papers and holds 11 patent families in orthopaedics and cellular therapy worldwide. Since joining the institute, his research has expanded to include the role of bone cell-derived factors in brain function and disease. Professor Zheng and team have developed a patented technology for the manufacture of a collagen device, CelGro®, to enhance the capability for nerve repair in patients with peripheral nerve injury. This has been licensed to Orthocell Ltd, an ASX-listed company founded to commercialise technologies developed by Professor Zheng, including the cell therapies Ortho-ATI™ and Ortho-ACI™ for the regeneration of damaged tendon and cartilage, respectively, and now extended to include CelGro®.