PSD psivida limited

this weeks forbes magazine positive

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    PSiVida Ltd.
    [ASX: PSD]
    www.psivida.com.au 011 (+61 8) 9226 5099
    Perth, Australia
    Chief Executive: Roger Brimblecombe
    What it does: Biomedical nanotech using nano-structured silicon.
    Not every country has the U.S.’s advanced venture capital system to
    finance the growth of young technology start-ups. “In terms of
    biotechnology, Australia’s more like the U.K. and Canada,” says Gavin
    Rezos, managing director of Perth, Australia-based PSiVida (pronounced
    sigh-veeda). “We don’t have liquid markets and there are no
    really dedicated biotech funds. Since it’s harder to raise money as a private
    company in Australia, we see companies go public much earlier.”
    And that’s exactly what happened when PSiVida listed 102 million
    shares on the Australian stock exchange in 2000.
    PSiVida’s genesis is a mix of James Bond and a company called
    PSiMedica. In July 2001, Roger Brimblecombe, prior chairman of
    Smith Kline & French (now part of GlaxoSmithKline [GSK]), chairman
    of MVM Ventures (the venture-capital arm of the British Medical
    Research Council), and now chairman of PSiVida, was brought into
    QinetiQ. QinetiQ was created to establish partnerships with companies
    in hopes of commercializing research from the U.K.’s defense industry.
    Brimblecombe found a material called BioSilicon and PSiMedica
    was born. PSiMedica makes up the core of PSiVida. It is 43% owned
    by PSiVida, 44% owned by QinetiQ and QinetiQ Ventures, and 13%
    owned by management. PSiMedica raised roughly $8 million in
    2000.
    What exactly is BioSilicon? BioSilicon is nano-structured porous
    silicon and has capabilities for multiple applications across the high
    growth healthcare sector, including controlled drug delivery, needleless
    injection, tissue engineering and orthopedics in human and animal
    healthcare. “The key discoveries that make BioSilicon an enabling
    platform technology are biocompatibility and controllable biodegradability,”
    Rezos explains. “The silicon is 50nm in rough scale and has a
    honeycomb structure which results in a massive surface area, facilitating
    dissolution in body fluids. In the body, BioSilicon turns into silicic
    acid, which is found in beer and is the natural form of dietary silicon.
    There have been arguments about trace quantities of silicon being good
    for health, especially stimulating bone growth.”
    PSiMedica’s short-term commercialization strategy is focused on
    brachytherapy (localized cancer therapy). Currently, the $600 million
    brachytherapy market is dominated by radioactive “seeds,” mainly used
    for the treatment of prostate cancer.Not only are these seeds expensive,
    but often cause significant trauma upon use. PSiMedica, in co-development
    with Singapore-based PSiOncology and Singapore General
    Hospital, are working on a more user-friendly treatment.
    And PSiVida might provide access to other technology companies,
    much in the same way that TINY gives U.S. investors exposure to privately
    held nanotechnology companies. “It is possible that we will take
    a direct stake in PSiOncology along with local Singaporean institutional
    investors,” says Rezos. Although both PSiMedica and PSiVida are
    pre-revenue and will have to endure the long life sciences drug and device
    approval processes, these are both companies to watch.
 
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