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Dr Nerissa Hannink
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International radiopharmaceutical company Clarity has licensed technology developed at the University of Melbourne for imaging and treating prostate cancer.

The agreement means that a Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) targeting agent developed by Associate Professor Paul Donnelly’s team based at the School of Chemistry and Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne, will now be progressed to human clinical trials.

The PSMA prostate cancer targeting agent has been developed over several years from a collaboration between Associate Professor Paul Donnelly’s team and Professor Rodney Hick’s team at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

The new agent has been developed using the SAR technology which allows for the potential for imaging and therapy. The SAR platform forms chemically stable compounds with radioactive isotopes of copper that can be used for either imaging or therapy. The SAR platform has been modified to incorporate a molecule that selectively binds to PSMA that is present in high levels in prostate cancer.

“This licensing agreement means we have the opportunity to translate this fundamental research with the goal of improving diagnostic and treatment options for prostate,” said Associate Professor Donnelly.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and the global prostate cancer treatment market is predicted to reach $13.6 billion by 2021. Clarity’s technology enables a number of advantages over current technologies in development due to the benefits of using the radio-isotope pairing of copper-64 and copper-67, including centralised manufacture, diagnosis, prospective dosimetry and therapy.

Clarity’s Executive Chairman, Dr Alan Taylor, said: “We are determined to fully exploit our broad intellectual property position and use the platform to develop effective treatments for children and adults with cancer. None of this would have been possible without the long collaboration between Clarity and the University of Melbourne, and we are excited to see the continuing value of such a relationship for all involved."