biotechs agt and agenix take off

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    Sourced from "Courier Mail"

    Biotechs AGT and Agenix take off
    Guy Mosel

    BIOTECHNOLOGY company AGT Biosciences, best known for its obesity and depression research, yesterday announced its arrival in the increasingly competitive cancer treatment market.

    The company said a study by the University of Cambridge and published in the journal Nature found its PARL gene was critical in regulating mitochondrial activity.

    Mitochondria are the sub-cell particles responsible for creating the energy to run the body's cells.

    PARL was found to have significant potential in the generation of drugs to alter mitochondrial growth and cell generation, raising hopes that it might become a successful drug candidate.

    PARL may also be able to treat diseases such as diabetes and muscular disorders and age-related cell degeneration.

    AGT shares soared almost 17 per cent or 5¢ to 35¢ on strong volume – its highest level since January.

    AGT, which has raised nearly $20 million in funding since 1998, has now expanded its patent protection over PARL to include cancer and a range of other diseases.

    The company said the global anti-cancer market was worth more than $US7 billion ($A10.6 billion) annually.

    Chief executive Greg Collier said the company already had a number of income streams from various licence agreements for its 75 patent-protected genes, but he was excited by the development.

    "This major discovery expands our existing position. It opens new revenue possibilities for the company," Professor Collier said. "AGT Biosciences is already in negotiations with a major international pharmaceutical company to explore the possibility of developing PARL as a new anti-cancer lead. We believe there is real scope for a novel therapeutic based on our discovery."

    AGT enjoys strong support from Queensland, with Brisbane investment company Charter Pacific holding a 33 per cent interest in the company and the Queensland Investment Corporation owning a 10 per cent stake.

    In other biotech news, Brisbane diagnostics company Agenix yesterday announced it had acquired two key licences for patented technology from leading global supplier of diagnostic technologies Abbott Laboratories.

    The technology will be used by Agenix's commercial products subsidiary AGEN Biomedical in the production of point of care diagnostic products.

    Shares in Agenix yesterday hit an all-time high on the news, gaining 3¢ or nearly 5 per cent to 66¢.


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    I don't hold AGT
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