Ondek, the Australian biotechnology company founded by Nobel Laureate Professor Barry Marshall, has raised A$3.59 million in equity funding to develop a new treatment for childhood allergy, with eczema being the first allergic disease to be targeted in the developmental work.
Professor Marshall was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2005 for his contribution to finding that the development of stomach ulcers is triggered by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, rather than stress, spicy foods, and too much stomach acid as was previously believed. Significant studies have been on-going since this discovery, with new findings including that H. pylori survives in the human body through its ability to suppress the human immune system so the body does not destroy it, and also that the risk of developing allergy is reduced in the presence of H. pylori infection.
Ondek has recently patented a killed derivative of H. pylori to be developed as a natural and safe immunotherapy named ImmBALANCE®. The main ingredient of the new compound harnesses the immune modulatory properties of the bacteria.
According to a media release from Ondek, the funding will allow scale-up manufacturing of the new drug compound and generate pre-clinical safety and efficacy data ahead of a meeting with the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) later next year to seek guidance and permission to start regulatory toxicology studies and human trials.
The latest funds are in addition to over $900,000 awarded by the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in a grant to support clinical trials of the immunotherapy product.
http://ondek.com plus additional reporting.