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Technologies for Therapies and Prevention

Antifungal drug development – combating drug (azole) resistance

Technology Type: Drug candidate.

Commercial Opportunity: Investment or other partnership to allow full screen and hit-to-lead optimisation for a pump inhibitor and development of the anitfungals of unknown mechanism.

Synopsis: Worldwide, fungi cause more deaths than either tuberculosis or malaria. Critically ill hospitalised patients, those undergoing surgery and patients with leukaemia or organ transplants, are at increased risk of invasive fungal infections (IFIs). Invasive candida infection is one of the most common IFI. In the critically ill and in patients with acute leukaemia, it has a mortality of 20-40%. The effectiveness of azole drugs, such as fluconazole and voriconazole, is increasingly limited by azole-resistance. The main cause of azole-resistance in Candida species is drug efflux, a mechanism that actively pumps the drug out of the fungus so that it cannot be effective. There are currently no drugs that combat this resistance mechanism. Our future drug candidate will overcome efflux-mediated azole resistance to reduce mortality and hospitalisation costs associated with vulnerable immuno-compromised patient populations.

Department: Oral Sciences, Dunedin Campus WIHI WIHI

Partners: Walter + Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Australia is our partner for this and another antifungal drug development of yet unknown mechanism of action (contact: Dr Kurt Lackovic). 

Complimentary Technology Available: Combating resistance – discovery tool for new drenches protecting crop and stock (Word; 2.1 MB)

Detailed Specifications: Fact Sheet (pdf, 1.8 MB)

Key contact: Dr Alex Tickle
Commercialisation Manager, Otago Innovation
87 St David Street, Dunedin, Centre for Innovation Building.
Phone: +64 3 479 4145

A new class of drugs to treat HIV - frameshift modulator

Technology Type: Drug candidate

Commercial Opportunity: License, investment or other partnership to allow hit-to-lead optimisation.WIHI

Synopsis: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS related illnesses are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. At least 34 million people are living with HIV. The World Health Organisation (WHO) released new treatment guidelines in June 2013, which recommend starting treatment earlier when people are still strong and well. This means that the number of people eligible for antiretroviral therapy (ART) today has increased to an estimated 26 million people worldwide; 16 million more than the number of people who have access today. Most of the currently available ARTs inhibit HIV enzymes such as protease, reverse transcriptase and integrase. HIV requires a mechanism called frameshift, which allows the ribosome to switch from making structural proteins for HIV to HIV enzyme production. This frameshift is essential for HIV’s survival.

Department: Biochemistry, Dunedin Campus

Partners: Walter + Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Australia is our partner since starting high throughput screening for frameshift modulation, the new HIV drug target (contact: Dr Kurt Lackovic ).

Complimentary Technology Available: Genetic disease drug discovery – utilising frameshift to overcome stop-codon mutation (word; 100 kb)

Detailed Specifications: Fact Sheet  (pdf, 700 kb)

Key contact: Dr Alex Tickle
Commercialisation Manager, Otago Innovation
87 St David Street, Dunedin, Centre for Innovation Building.
Phone: +64 3 479 4145

Developing a treatment for Herpes - oral human therapeutic vaccine

Technology Type: Vaccine.

Commercial Opportunity: This technology is available for co-development activity. We are seeking to engage with potential commercial partners to further develop this technology.

IP Status: Provisional patent filed.

Synopsis: This project is based on the development of a treatment for HSV-2, which primarily causes genital herpes in humans. HSV-2 causes transient infection of epithelial cells in the genital mucosal epithelium. Following this infection the virus gains access to the sensory neurons where it is capable of producing a lifelong persistent infection. HSV-2 causes 70-80% of genital herpes cases. We have access to a novel formulation technology for improving the bioavailability of compounds via Immune Solutions Ltd.

We aim to produce the first oral human therapeutic vaccine for HSV-2. Immunity against HSV-2 infection is dependent on local memory responses in the genital tract. We anticipate an oral vaccine that, when coupled with ‘intravaginal pull’ would induce mucosal immune responses in the genital tract, and as such demonstrate a therapeutic effect to protect against HSV.

Detailed Specifications: Fact Sheet (2 page pdf, 240KB).

Key contact: Dr Tracey Smith
Commercialisation Manager, Immune Solutions Ltd
Phone: +64 3 479 9970
87 Saint David Street, Centre for Innovation Building,

ISL Immune Solutions Limited  Needle free, oral vaccine delivery platform technology

Technology Type: Oral Vaccine Delivery Platform. 

Commercial Opportunity: To out-license rights to LiporaleTM oral delivery platform technology.

Synopsis: Immune Solutions Ltd (ISL) offers a novel oral delivery system to replace injections, aerosols, and patches. This US and internationally patented technology platform uses food-grade fatty acids in a tablet or paste to encapsulate and protect bacterial and viral vaccines and bio-actives. Significant success has been achieved in laboratory and field trials with animals. This work has focused on BCG vaccination against tuberculosis in several animal species. Additional research with viruses and bio-actives show promising results. ISL’s technology protects vaccines and medications against aggressive stomach acids and enables effective absorption in the small intestine. Due to its adaptability to include various flavours, including seasonal food preferences flavoured for wildlife, it is ideal for voluntary uptake by wild animals and birds in inaccessible regions. ISL has collaborated over past years overseas in research trials of the oral delivery technology and there is on-going interest from other parties to set up additional technical research and business relationships. 

The majority of ISL’s science pedigree is in relation to TB vaccination in wildlife. A number of animal species have been successfully vaccinated against TB and long term international relationships have been fostered in an attempt to establish the ISL oral delivery technology as a viable, cost effective vaccination solution against animal and human TB.

Partners: This technology has been developed with our partners AgResearch Limited and the Animal Health Board.

Detailed Specification: Fact sheet (1 page pdf, 233kb)

Key Contacts: Hon Pete Hodgson or Dr Tracey Smith
Immune Solutions Ltd
87 St David Street, Dunedin
2nd Floor, Centre for Innovation Building


Silver Gel to treat periodontitis and peri-implantitis

Technology type: Therapeutic/ antimicrobial formulation.Silver gel - figure 1 test & control,  figure 2 pocket dept graph

Commercial Opportunity: Otago Innovation is now seeking partners with expertise and relevant resources.

Synopsis: The silver nanoparticle gel formulation demonstrates mucoadhesive and antimicrobial properties. The Silver Gel can be applied through a syringe into gum pockets, where the antimicrobial effect is anticipated to prevent biofilm formation. The Silver Gel reduces inflammation and promotes healing around teeth and implants. It aims to reduce tooth loss and implant failure.

IP Status: PCT application: PCT/NZ2016/050162.

Click on the button below to view a video showing how Silver Gel can increase effectiveness of current treatments.

Button Videos

Detailed Specification: Fact Sheet (2 page pdf).

Key contact: Dr Alex Tickle
Commercialisation Manager, Otago Innovation
87 St David Street, Dunedin, Centre for Innovation Building.
Phone: +64 3 479 4145


VDGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) combination biologic for tissue repair

Technology type: Biologics/ pharmaceutical.

Commercial Opportunity: License or sale of patent rights to a partner (ideally with access to an anti-inflammatory cytokine, such as IL-10, to combine with VEGF-E).

Synopsis: Within the globally reported 160 million wounds, 9.8 million are burns. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that non-lethal burns may require costly and prolonged hospitalisation and frequently result in disfigurement and disability, to which scarring is a significant contributing factor. In the US, 450,000 burn related treatments are recorded of which 40,000 cases required hospitalisation (costs: US$47,875 – US$432,746). Beyond temporary improvements, there is no effective treatment available for keloids, a debilitating condition with a prevalence of up to 16% in darker skinned populations. Our protein combination of VEGF-E and an anti-inflammatory prevents excess tissue formation leading to less debilitating scars in various animal models. This is seen as a major advantage when treating burns and limiting keloid and scar formation during the healing process.

Department: Virus Research Unit, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Dunedin Campus, University of Otago.

Detailed Specification: Fact Sheet (pdf, 632kb)

Key contact: Dr Alex Tickle
Commercialisation Manager, Otago Innovation
87 St David Street, Dunedin, Centre for Innovation Building.
Phone: +64 3 479 4145