News

3rd March 2007

Hindmarsh investment a step closer to innovative AIDS therapy

Biotron Limited, an investee company of the Canberra Business Development Fund (CBDF), has announced this morning that they have initiated Phase I clinical studies of their lead drug for treatment of HIV.

The CBDF is a 50% joint venture between Hindmarsh and the ACT Government. Australian Capital Ventures Limited (ACVL), the venture capital arm of Hindmarsh, is the manager of the CBDF, recommending new investments and managing existing investments.

Biotron is an ASX-listed (ASX code: BIT) innovative biotechnology company commercialising technology originally developed at the ANU's John Curtin School of Medical Research. Its antiviral compounds use a novel approach to the therapy of viral diseases by blocking the budding of viruses from infected cells.

In simple terms, after a virus enters a cell, it copies its genetic material into the cell's genetic code, forcing the cell to manufacture copies of the virus that will then exit the original "manufacturing" cell and seek other cells to infect. By blocking the exit channels of infected cells, Biotron's compounds attack viral infections at their very source.

Biotron is developing compounds targeting viral diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C (HCV), Dengue Fever and the H5N1 Avian Influenza A strain (bird flu). Their most advanced compound is the BIT225 lead drug, which targets HIV and has also demonstrated good antiviral activity against HCV infection.

Phase I clinical studies, which are aimed at evaluating the safety and pharmacokinetic properties of BIT225 in humans, are, according to Biotron, a major milestone, marking the transition from a R&D focused company to an antiviral drug development company.

Following the completion of Phase I clinical studies, expected in the second quarter of 2007, Biotron plans to conduct trials in HIV and HCV infected patients.

CBDF invested in Biotron in early 2002 and completed three follow on investments since then. The last follow on investment was completed in December 2006, as part of a deal with the ANU that allowed Biotron to receive full assignment of the intellectual property related to the technology, as well as sufficient cash to support R&D and operations throughout 2007.

The information provided above is solely intended as an update to the users of the Hindmarsh website on the activities of Australian Capital Ventures Limited and is not intended as investment advice.