Stroke research at the Perron Institute, led by Professor Bruno Meloni and Clinical Professor Neville Knuckey, is progressing well towards clinical trials.

The team is focused on developing neuroprotective therapies for stroke and has continued to produce encouraging preclinical results.

To expedite their research development, Argenica Therapeutics was set up as a spin out company from the Perron Institute and The University of Western Australia to drive forward the clinical development of a neuroprotective drug to achieve approvals and commercial availability.

Argenica listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in June 2021 and was placed sixth in a list of top performing initial public offerings in a bumper year on the ASX as highlighted in a recent Business Review article in The Australian newspaper.

Argenica’s lead candidate is an arginine-rich peptide (or small protein) called R18 which was renamed ARG-007. Developed by Professor Meloni and his team at the Perron Institute and UWA, it has demonstrated improved outcomes in preclinical models of adult stroke.

It is hoped ARG-007 will be administered by first responders to protect brain tissue against damage following a stroke or other neural injury, with further potential to enhance recovery. ARG-007 is in the process of being verified for its safety and toxicity before the company plans to commence phase 1 clinical trials early next year.

Argenica has also just received US patent approval for ARG-007 as a therapeutic treatment for stroke, TBI and a form of infant brain injury known as hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE).

ARG-007 has shown promising preclinical results as a potential intervention for HIE, a condition responsible for 23 per cent of neonatal deaths worldwide. Infants surviving HIE have a 25 per cent chance of developing a lifelong disorder or disability.

Dr Adam Edwards is a postdoctoral researcher leading the HIE research in the Perron Institute’s Stroke Research group in association with Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and UWA. He says recent results for HIE are highly encouraging.

“Our latest data indicates that the ARG-007 drug undergoing preclinical studies may improve outcomes for late preterm infants with HIE, which is caused by oxygen deprivation or reduced blood flow to the brain.

“It is one of the most serious birth complications, but results of the latest preclinical study show a 40 per cent reduction in brain tissue death when ARG-007 is administered.”

The HIE developments and an inspiring story from a family affected by HIE were highlighted in a recent double page spread in The West Australian newspaper.

More exciting developments are expected in 2022.


Pictured L-R: Prof Bruno Meloni, Clinical Prof Neville Knuckey and Dr Adam Edwards.