Rage Biotech, a new company building on research done at leading Australian universities, aims to develop treatments to help people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases, including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Supported by investments from the IP Group, Monash University, and The University of Western Australia (UWA), the company builds on intellectual property co-developed by researchers at Monash University, UWA, Murdoch University, and the Baker Institute.
Intellectual property was licensed to Rage by Monash Innovation.
“Universities and medical research institutes are well known as sources of new medicines and being able to partner with IP Group is so important in terms of giving these breakthroughs a chance at being developed and commercialised,” Tim Colmer, PhD, deputy vice chancellor of research at UWA, said in a Monash University news story.
Rage’s research centers on ways of modulating the activity of a protein called the receptor for advanced glycation end-products, or RAGE. This protein is a major driver of inflammation in inflammatory lung diseases, including cystic fibrosis.
“Inflammation is the driving force in many important diseases. RAGE is a key protein that amplifies inflammation, so targeting RAGE helps bring inflammation back under control,” said Merlin Thomas, PhD, a professor at Monash University who contributed to the foundational research.
“Often it’s not easy to turn inflammation down without disrupting pathways needed for good health. But RAGE only turns up when things are going wrong, which makes it such a great target,” Thomas added.
Rage is planning to test two new approaches to changing the activity of RAGE. One was developed in collaboration with researchers at Murdoch University; the other in collaboration with researchers at UWA and at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.
“This is the beginning of an exciting translational journey towards a new therapy targeting RAGE, that would not have been possible without collaboration and funding from our universities and IP Group,” Thomas said.
Michael Molinari, the managing director of IP Group Australia, added, “This is a particularly exciting investment for IP Group in a truly Australian technology, and a great example of what can be done when researchers from our world-leading institutions across the Group of Eight [a collection of Australian research universities] and elsewhere come together.”
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