LEO Pharma and University of Queensland enter into strategic research collaboration

Ballerup, Denmark, 8 October - Denmark-based and foundation-owned pharmaceutical company LEO Pharma and leading Australian university The University of Queensland (UQ) have entered a three-year collaboration with the aim of delivering new treatment options to patients suffering from skin cancer.

By bringing together UQ’s world-class expertise in discovery research and clinical trials, and LEO Pharma’s 100 years’ experience within drug discovery and development, the collaboration will enable the advancement of research within skin cancer and explore new treatments for patients suffering from skin cancer.

Thorsten Thormann, Vice President for New Product Discovery, LEO Pharma said the collaboration with UQ is part of the company’s global strategy to join forces with innovative universities and biotech companies to break important new ground in dermatology:

“Our goal is to achieve findings which make us wiser on understanding patients’ needs and can be directly applied to our research and development within skin cancer”.

UQ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Max Lu said the collaboration is an exciting and significant outcome for UQ:

“The collaboration with LEO Pharma highlights the value that international pharmaceutical companies place on research at UQ. It is also advancing our strategy to become the most globally connected university in Australia.”

Four types of collaboration activities

The scope of the scientific collaboration covers skin cancer in which LEO Pharma is already active, including Actinic Keratosis and Squamous-Cell Carcinoma (SCC). Four types of activities are included in the collaboration: Exploratory clinical trials, basic research, contract research, and material transfer agreement (MTA) activities.

“The collaboration with University of Queensland gives us a unique chance to develop new solutions and treatments for patients suffering from skin cancer. We believe that external collaborations like this is a unique opportunity to explore more dermatological solutions at record speed”, said Thorsten Thormann. 

Always on the lookout for partners

LEO Pharma established a presence in Australia’s biotechnology sector in 2009 by acquiring Peplin Inc., a Brisbane-based biotechnology research company focused on advancing and commercialising innovative medical dermatology products.

At the time of the acquisition, Peplin Inc. had a product in Phase 3. Already in 2012, LEO Pharma launched the product Picato® with indication to treat Actinic Keratosis, a pre-cancerous skin condition which can develop into Squamous-Cell Carcinoma (SCC), the second most common skin cancer in the world. Picato® is currently launched in 13 countries over the world with more markets to come.

“We are always on the lookout for universities and companies, who excel within dermatology and can add valuable knowledge and expertise to LEO Pharma’s research and development activities” said Thorsten Thormann. 

The research collaboration between LEO Pharma and University of Queensland was facilitated by UQ’s main commercialisation company, UniQuest Pty Limited. 

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