Biotech receives funding for Parkinson's tech, clinical trial
Venture capital firm Brandon Capital Partners has announced a $7.75 million investment in Global Kinetics Corporation, a company committed to improving the lives of those with Parkinson’s disease (PD) using advanced medical technologies.
The funding marks Brandon Capital’s first investment from the Australian Government’s Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF), for which it has been appointed to manage $230 million — the largest pool of allocated funds. Appropriately, the funding was announced on 11 April — World Parkinson’s Day.
Headquartered in Melbourne, Global Kinetics was formed in 2007 to develop and commercialise its lead product, the Parkinson’s KinetiGraph (PKG) — a wrist-worn device which measures the symptoms of Parkinson’s and provides clinically meaningful reports to support routine care.
The BTF was announced by the federal government in December 2015 as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda. It is a $500 million for-profit venture capital fund pooling public and private capital for investments in companies with medical research projects at advanced preclinical, phase I and phase II stages of development.
“The federal government’s initiative in creating the BTF has delivered much-needed financial support for Australia’s world-leading medical research,” said Dr Chris Nave, managing director of Brandon Capital. “Global Kinetics is a perfect example of Australia’s biomedical capabilities, with the technology taken from concept to commercialisation here in Melbourne and the product now being manufactured in Australia and exported to the world.
“Global Kinetics’ technology is improving the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease, with over 25,000 PKG patient reports delivered around the world to date. This $7.75 million is part of a Series 6 Funding Round for the company, taking the total amount raised by the company to over $45 million.”
That same day, Global Kinetics announced the launch of a landmark Treat-to-Target study directed towards advanced management and outcomes in Parkinson’s disease. The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) and Shake It Up Australia Foundation will collectively provide US$250,000 to support the trial, while Parkinson’s Victoria will provide $100,000 and act as the major delivery partner.
Currently, there are no universal objective metrics and target ranges for assessing or managing PD that can be used in the same way that cholesterol or blood sugar levels, peak flow measures or blood pressure readings are used to manage other common chronic conditions. With this in mind, the global clinical trial will be the first randomised and controlled study to evaluate the widespread implementation of target ranges derived from a wearable device to dictate treatment decisions in PD.
“The experience of Parkinson’s varies day to day, hour to hour,” noted Dr Mark Frasier, senior vice president of research programs at MJFF. “An objective tool, such as the wearable PKG technology, that passively collects data on the lived experience of Parkinson’s disease outside the clinic, could give patients and their doctors greater insight to calibrate treatment plans and improve outcomes and to give scientists a metric with which to measure therapeutic impact and test potential therapies faster.”
“Parkinson’s Victoria is proud to fund this landmark research project providing those living in both metro and regional communities within Australia the opportunity to participate in an important clinical trial impacting the effectiveness of both current and future treatments of Parkinson’s,” said Parkinson’s Victoria CEO Emma Collin. “Over the coming months we will be reaching out to some 27,000 Victorians living with Parkinson’s to recruit participants in Victoria, a key implementation site for this phase of the study.”
The Treat-to-Target study has already commenced in a number of Australian clinical sites and will be running for 18 months, with US and European sites set to be enrolled soon. Interim data are expected by December 2018, while guidelines on the use of objective measurement and targets underpinned by the PKG wearable technology based on the study’s findings will be released in early 2019 for mainstream clinical use.
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