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Australian pharma firm works with Walloon partners on diagnostic tool
Australia’s Clarity Pharmaceuticals has established a subsidiary in Liège, where it will develop new innovations and expand its network in Europe. The company is working on a project with a variety of Walloon partners, which the Walloon government is supporting with a grant of about €650,000.
Clarity Pharmaceuticals’ partnership with local company Anmi is key to this collaboration. “We have similar aspirations and goals,” says spokesperson Lisa Sadetskaya. “We knew we needed to work together to grow.”
Along with three other Walloon partners – Delphi Genetics, the Centre for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging and Toxikon – the companies will spend 18 months developing a diagnostic tool called PlateView.
The tool should help to detect vulnerable plaque, a medical problem that can lead to blocked arteries and eventually a heart attack or stroke. Most of the time, people suffering from this condition don’t have any symptoms before they lose cardiac function.
“There is currently no reliable way to detect this,” says Sadetskaya. PlateView is a radio-labelled antibody fragment that should be able to target activated platelets in the body. This will allow activated platelets to be visualised via positron emission tomography (PET) scans. Unstable plaques are rich in activated platelets, so PlateView could be used to detect these plaques that lead to heart problems. After 18 months of development, clinical trials in humans will begin to further test its working.
Clarity’s collaboration with Wallonia goes further than this project, however. In March, the Sydney-based company opened its first European subsidiary in Europe. “Apart from the great expertise of its companies, we also believe Wallonia is well-positioned in Europe for logistics and collaborations with other countries,” says Sadetskaya.
The subsidiary will be an R&D company. “We plan to run early product development from the company and advance products towards human clinical trials through the work of academic researchers, clinical researchers and research companies,” she says.
For the first year, Clarity Pharmaceuticals will invest €150,000 in its subsidiary, called Clarity Pharmaceuticals Europe. “We also plan increasing investments in subsequent years,” Sadetskaya says. The subsidiary is currently housed in the offices of Anmi in Liège and doesn’t have staff of its own, but the plan is to hire local staff soon.
In a statement, Walloon economy minister Jean-Claude Marcourt said he was delighted with the investment. “The pharmaceutical sector is key to attracting foreign investment,” he said. “Clarity Pharmaceuticals will enrich our already well-developed biotech economic fabric even further.”
This article first appeared in WAB (Wallonia and Brussels) magazine