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Cortical Pty Ltd Receives $3.03M START Grant

05 / 11 / 2004

Melbourne-based discovery research and development company Cortical Pty Ltd, has been awarded a Federal Government R&D Start grant of more than $3 million to develop new drugs against inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis, psoriasis, asthma, multiple sclerosis and colitis.

The $3.03 million grant, from AusIndustry, will help conduct Phase I clinical trials on the company's small molecule macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) antagonist for treatment of inflammatory conditions.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane congratulated Cortical on their project and selection for the R&D Start grant.
"This is an exciting project which, all going well, could result in a more effective treatment for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and bring relief to many, many Australian families."

"The depth and diversity of local R&D activity is very encouraging and the Australian Government is commited to helping bring these bright ideas to the world stage, generating significant export dollar earnings and jobs for Australians," said Mr Macfarlane.

Cortical's CEO Dr Su-Peing Ng, is delighted that the company has been awarded the grant, and particularly pleased that AusIndustry has recognised the potential benefits of Cortical's R&D program.

"Competition for R&D START grants is extremely high and we are grateful to AusIndustry for their support," Dr Ng said

"Cortical''s mission is to produce small-molecule solutions to therapeutic targets in inflammatory diseases and to commercialise these via research and development.

"The funding we receive from the R&D Start grant will help bring us one step closer to commercialisation of MIF antagonists.

"Current therapies for common inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, have many limitations, including significant side effects, high costs, or the requirement for intravenous administration.

"Cortical is developing and soon to commence the trial of potent oral MIF antagonist drugs, which have the potential to provide a more effective solution for patients," Dr Ng explained.

About MIF
MIF is a small molecule cytokine antagonist and has potential application in diseases characterised by inflammation.
Treatment of inflammatory diseases in the past has been non-specific, based on broad-spectrum immunosuppressant drugs such as corticosteroids. Though beneficial, these drugs have universal side effects, which limit their use.

Small molecule cytokine antagonists have never previously been developed for therapeutic use, but may provide a valuable combination of effectiveness in treatment, potential oral administration, and relatively low cost - which may
allow more patients to receive the treatment.

Written and distributed by Reed Weir Communications Pty Ltd on behalf of Cortical Pty Ltd.
For further information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Su-Peing Ng, please contact Katrina Weir on (02) 9436 2088 or email

Further company information is available at Cortical's website