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Arovella, Imugene progress drug combination trials

ASX-listed companies Arovella Therapeutics and Imugene have announced a successful outcome from the initial in vitro experiments conducted as part of their research collaboration, and are progressing to the next phase of testing. According to a statement on Friday, results show that the combination of Arovella’s CAR19-iNKT cell therapy (ALA-101) and Imugene’s onCARlytics therapy (CF33-CD19) kills solid tumour cells in vitro. The companies intend to present this early data at a conference in the near-term. The project’s next stage is to test the combination in vivo (mouse models). Arovella’s CEO and MD, Dr Michael Baker, said: “We are pleased by the first set of data and delighted to continue the partnership with Imugene and its onCARlytics platform. Combining the two platforms made sense scientifically and seeing this play out in practise is exciting, given the impact this combination of
therapeutics could have in solid tumours.”

Federal parliament backs more timber to reduce emissions

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed what it calls the federal parliament’s “resounding vote in the senate to confirm the role of plantations in the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).”  AFPA CEO Joel Fitzgibbon said, “The establishment of new sustainable forestry plantations will help Australia achieve sovereign capability in timber and wood fibre in the decades ahead, while helping the nation meet its emission reduction targets. The ERF recognises the unique role sustainable forestry plays.” This week the senate backed sustainable plantation forestry expansion and to protect existing sustainable plantations at risk of conversion under the existing ERF method, following debate on a motion proposed by Senator David Pocock that would have reduced the role of plantations in the program.

Griffith Uni joins up with healthtech accelerator program

Griffith University announced that it has committed to a three-year partnership with a LuminaX Healthtech Accelerator, a program based within the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct. The accelerator is a 14-week innovation program launched in 2021, fast-tracking commercialisation and market-readiness for up to ten Australian health technology startups each year. Under the agreement, startups who are chosen through a national competitive process will be mentored by Griffith’s health and science academics and access the university’s research resources. “Directing a pipeline of promising health tech startups to the Precinct and facilitating collaboration with Griffith experts is fundamental to developing the Gold Coast’s knowledge economy,” said the university’s  Vice President Industry and External Engagement, Dr Peter Binks.

Waterco expands into Vietnam

Water treatment and pool equipment manufacturer Waterco has opened a branch in Vietnam, citing strong sales growth in the developing region. Founder and CEO Soon Sinn Goh attributes the country’s high growth economy and progressively wealthier population as part of the story. “Vietnam’s economy grew at the fastest pace in Asia last year,” he said this week. “With the population becoming progressively wealthier, research is showing that swimming pools and access to clean water are considered an important investment in improving quality of life.” Waterco’s production plant is in Selangor, Malaysia, and Waterco Chief Operating Officer, Bryan Goh said manufacturing and export facilities in Kuala Lumpur provided Waterco with a competitive advantage in terms of readily available product supply and sales support.

Austal launches fifth Cape class patrol vessel

Perth shipbuilder Austal has successfully launched the fifth Evolved Cape class patrol boat (ECCPB) for the Royal Australian Navy. The future ADV Cape Woolamai (pictured), named after the headland at the south-eastern tip of Phillip Island in Victoria, was launched at the Henderson, Western Australia shipyard following 12 months construction. The launch came only four months after the launch of the last ECCPB, in September 2022. Austal is on track to handover the vessel to Defence Australia later this year, with the help of a 300-strong industry supply.

Medlab Clinical secures approval for exports to the UK

Nanoparticle medicine delivery technology developer Medlab Clinical has received permission from the Australian Office of Drug Control (ODC) for the export of its NanaDol treatment for cancer of the bone pain. The drug, known as NanaBis in the domestic market, has previously been accepted for UK importation. In the UK Medlab’s partner company WEP Clinical will supply patients as appropriate and several hundred units of NanaDol are expected to ship to the UK shortly as soon as secure freight has been organised. Medlab’s technology enhances medical properties, increasing efficacy, safety, patient compliance and stability.

Pegasus receives approval to increase holding in Amaero International

Pegasus Growth Capital has received approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board to increase its shareholding in additive manufacturing developer Amaero International. Pegasus, controlled by CEO Hank Holland has been approved to acquire up to an additional 20.5 percent interest in Amaero. Should Pegasus acquire this interest, its shareholding in Amaero will rise to 60 percent. Amaero is focussed on titanium and other alloy powder production.

CardieX raises $4.5 million from investors

Health care monitoring company CardieX has received commitments from institutions and investors to raise $4.5 million in a share placement. Directors have pledged $450,000 in the raising, which will go to new product initiatives, working capital and regulatory requirements. There will will be an expansion of the company’s US executive team to drive clinical trials, including of its SphygmoCor central blood pressure technology.

Picture: credit Austal

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