Apr 08, 2024

Medicxi and Starpharma create Petalion Therapeutics to develop novel dendrimer-based treatments (ASX Announcement)

Medicxi and Starpharma create Petalion Therapeutics to develop novel dendrimer-based treatments (ASX Announcement)

Melbourne, Australia; 8 April 2024: Starpharma (ASX: SPL, OTCQX: SPHRY) today announces it has entered into a strategic partnership with Medicxi, a leading life sciences investment firm dedicated to financing companies developing innovative medicines, to co-found a new UK-based company called Petalion Therapeutics Limited (“Petalion”).

Petalion will initially focus on developing novel targeted dendrimer-drug conjugate therapies in oncology, utilising Starpharma’s proprietary DEP® dendrimer platform technology.

Medicxi will fund Petalion with an initial investment of up to USD $25 million (~AUD $38 million) to finance the development of a novel oncology drug candidate. Starpharma will license certain intellectual property (“IP”) to Petalion as required for the research, development, manufacture and commercialisation of this potential new therapeutic and, in exchange, will receive an equity holding of 22.5% in Petalion.

Collaboration Agreement

Under the terms of the collaboration, Starpharma will license the IP to Petalion on an exclusive basis for a mutually agreed target. In consideration for the IP licence to this specific target, Starpharma will be issued ordinary shares in Petalion. Starpharma will also provide R&D services to Petalion on a fee for service basis.

Medicxi intends to finance Petalion’s development program via a tranched investment plan with defined scientific and technical milestones, culminating in a total investment of up to USD $25 million.

Dr Mehdi Shahidi, a highly experienced pharmaceutical executive, has been appointed as CEO of Petalion. A clinical oncologist by background, Dr Shahidi has over two decades of experience in pharmaceutical drug development, most recently as Corporate Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, and Global Head of Medicine at Boehringer Ingelheim.

Dr Mehdi Shahidi, CEO of Petalion and Venture Partner at Medicxi, commented:

“I am deeply honoured and thrilled to be leading this ground-breaking endeavour created by Medicxi and Starpharma. Leveraging Starpharma’s world-leading technology and the scientific domain expertise from Medicxi’s asset-centric investment platform, our team at Petalion aims to develop best-in-class dendrimer conjugates with differentiated properties. Our ultimate goal is to cultivate a targeted dendrimer-based drug that can effectively address unmet needs in cancer.”

Shyam Masrani, Principal at Medicxi and Board representative of Petalion, commented:

“While the field of targeted conjugates has experienced remarkable growth and led to the approval of several treatment options for patients with cancer, it is also evident that the current approaches have limitations. Medicxi is excited to support Petalion under the leadership of Dr Shahidi from the outset and we look forward to working closely with the Starpharma team to develop a highly differentiated and effective new medicine.”

Cheryl Maley, CEO of Starpharma,  commented:

“We are excited to announce this strategic partnership, which combines Starpharma’s expertise in developing dendrimer technology with Medicxi’s success in converting development candidates into high-value commercial assets. If successful, the oncology therapies that Petalion will develop have the potential to become an important treatment modality for a potentially wide range of cancer indications.

“Medicxi is a highly innovative organisation with extensive experience in drug development and commercialisation. Their investment in this partnership validates the strong potential of Starpharma’s DEP ® dendrimer technology as a novel drug delivery platform.

“This is just one of many ongoing efforts to prioritise the commercialisation of Starpharma’s DEP® platform and our partnerships to advance the application of the DEP® technology in high-value novel therapeutic areas.”

About Medicxi

Medicxi is a healthcare-focused investment firm with the mission to create and invest in companies across the full drug development continuum. Leveraging deep expertise in drug development and company creation spanning over two decades, Medicxi invests in early and late-stage therapeutics with a product vision that can fulfil a clear unmet medical need.

For more information, please visit www.medicxi.com.

View/download the ASX Announcement: Medicxi and Starpharma create Petalion Therapeutics to develop novel dendrimer-based treatments.

 This contains certain forward-looking statements.