Benitec Limited (ASX:BLT) Announce Formation Of Chief Investigators Group
The six strong group comprises: Dr Michael Graham (the discoverer of Benitec's RNAi technology); Dr Ken Reed (Benitec founder); Professor John Rossi (City of Hope Cancer Centre, CA, USA); Dr Yorke Zhu (Biomics Biotechnologies, Nantong, China); and Professor Maria Kavallaris (Children's Cancer Institute Australia (CCIA) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia). Benitec's CEO, Dr Peter French, will chair the group. CIG membership is not a remunerated role.
Benitec's R&D pipeline of human therapeutics are all conducted in collaboration with leading organisations and are focused on the areas of infectious disease and cancer. In infectious disease, a therapeutic for Hepatitis B virus is being developed in collaboration with Biomics Biotechnologies; and a Phase I clinical trial has been completed in HIV with the City of Hope in the USA. In the cancer field, Benitec has a pre-clinical program addressing drug-resistant lung cancer in collaboration with researchers at the CCIA at UNSW; whilst in chronic cancer pain Benitec is contracting with TetraQ at the University of Queensland. This latter program is aimed at developing a single RNAi-based therapy to silence a gene associated with transmission of pain.
Announcing the formation of the group, Dr Peter French, CEO of Benitec said:
"The aim of the CIG is to bring together internationally renowned scientists in the field of RNAi to review the progress of Benitec's R&D programs and to ensure that Benitec's science remains at the cutting edge of the technology. Each member of the CIG is playing an important on-going role in Benitec's development and we are grateful to them for their commitment to ensuring Benitec's programs are scientifically rigorous and robust.
"That Benitec can bring together these scientific leaders is testament to the leading position that Benitec has in the RNAi field and underlines the significance of Benitec's potential to revolutionise human medicine."
It is anticipated that the CIG will meet twice annually with the inaugural meeting planned in Melbourne in May 2011.
Benitec Biopharma Limited