Australian university and Chinese company sign agreement to trial cancer drug

16 Apr 2018

University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Chinese biotech company Beroni Group have signed a cooperation agreement for the Phase 2 development of an anti-cancer drug developed by UNSW.

The drug, named PENAO, is the result of more than ten years’ work by Professor Philip Hogg, who was the director of UNSW’s Lowy Cancer Research Centre at the time research commenced at UNSW, and his colleagues.

The formal agreement states both organisations agree to advance the clinical development of PENAO, which has the power to shrink tumours and potentially provide an alternative to chemotherapy. To do so, Beroni will invest in Cystemix, a company established in 2002 by UNSW to support the development of PENAO. The investment will help fund clinical trials to explore the prevention and treatment of diseases in patients at an early stage.

‘The agreement between UNSW and Beroni Group highlights Australia’s world-class capabilities in health research and the exciting opportunities for building deeper collaboration, commercialising new findings and developing new products,’ says Catherine Taylor, Senior Investment Specialist in International Health at Austrade.

A Beroni Group media release states that the company’s mission is to promote the cooperation between China and Australia in biotechnology. ‘Our partnership with UNSW will help Beroni Group draw on medical expertise in Australia to explore more valuable high-potential health projects, commercialise top technologies in biotechnology and life sciences into products, and improve the cooperation between China and Australia.’

With offices in Tianjin and Sydney, Beroni Group is dual listed on the National Stock Exchange (Australia) and Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Its business mainly focuses on biotechnology, life sciences, environmental science and governance, precision medicine, regenerative medicine, and stem cell anti-cancer and anti-aging projects.