Spin-Offs & Start-Ups

IMBcom is committed to the development of technologies through the establishment of a series of spin-off and start-up companies to facilitate and foster the development of a region committed to the establishment of a biotechnology industry. Over the past five years, IMBcom has been actively involved in creating several startup companies with a particular focus on human therapeutics and relevant technologies:

  • Xenome Ltd

  • Promics Pty Ltd

  • Protagonist Pty Ltd

  • Mimetica Pty Ltd

  • Nanomics Pty Ltd

  • Kalthera Pty Ltd

  • Cyclagen Pty Ltd

  • Nephrogenix Pty Ltd

  • ElaCor Pty Ltd

Click on the links below to find out more about these companies.


Xenome Ltd is a world leader in the discovery of novel peptides from animal venoms. Formed as a spin-off Company from ground-breaking research conducted at the University of Queensland, Xenome has generated a unique expertise in peptide chemistry to enable the production of a library of molecules from venoms that is now in demand by international biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Peptides with unique chemistry and pharmacology are being used in Xenome's drug development activities that are focused on pain management, urological disorders, airway disorders and diseases of the central nervous system. Currently the major shareholder of the company is Queensland BioCapital Fund (QBF), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Queensland Investment Corporation.

Promics Pty Ltd creates cyclical peptides that reproduce or mimic secondary structural characteristics of proteins to make therapeutic compounds with focus on the Complement Cascade / Inflammatory diseases.

Promics Pty Ltd was established to develop and commercialise C5a antagonist drug leads and associated technology. The company was formed following a venture capital investment by GBS Venture Partners (previously Rothschild Bioscience) and Start-up Australia in December 1999. The company is currently proceeding with Phase Ib/IIa and Phase IIa human clinical trials.

Protagonist Pty Ltd is building an international business dedicated to the discovery of small molecules that mimic or inhibit protein-protein interactions.

Their approach is to combine protein structural information with combinatorial chemistry, resulting in the design and synthesis of molecules that mimic protein structure, ultimately leading to the discovery of compounds that mimic protein function.

Protagonist has already designed and synthesised several series of molecules that modulate targets previously resistant to small molecule discovery. Protagonist plans to optimise these compounds and seek alliances to apply its platform technology to targets of interest to partners.The company will also develop its lead compounds in partnership with pharmaceutical companies.

Mimetica Pty Ltd was formed to exploit a chemical technology for creating drug candidates directly from the known structures of† natural peptides, proteins and related compounds. These "peptide mimetics" are based on a variety of proprietary chemical scaffolds developed by the company.

Mimetica was awarded a Queensland State Government BioStart grant in 2001 and has completed negotiations for first round venture capital funding.

An overview of the Mimetica technology will be online soon.

Nanomics Biosystems Pty Ltd is a biotechnology company focused on commercialising a versatile platform technology spanning the fields of genomics, proteomics, drug discovery, and human diagnostics. The novel technology provides a method of barcoding libraries of tiny ceramic beads with labels to create unique optical signatures and hence the ability to track individual chemicals attached to their surfaces. Nanomics revolutionary "colloidal barcoding" approach will, for the first time, make available massive libraries of identifiable chemical entities that can be economically and easily utilized for a variety of tasks including DNA sequencing, SNP analysis discovery, gene expression analysis, drug discovery, pharmacogenomics, diagnostics and therapeutics. The unique versatility of Nanomics technology facilitates entry into a number of markets from gene expression analysis and drug discovery to personalised medical treatment.


Kalthera Pty Ltd strives to provide solutions for problematic peptide drugs, accessing and extending the lucrative protein therapeutics market. The technology provides a means to combine the potency and specificity of a peptide with the potential to gain the stability and bioavailability of a small molecule. This is based on Cyclic Cystine Knot (CCK) peptides which can be manipulated through two parallel pathways for development. The first, Frameworks Technology, provides the opportunity for grafting desired bioactivities into a well characterized pharmaceutically optimized framework, enabling streamlined development and stabilized delivery. The second, Cyclisation Technology, involves the cyclisation of existing peptide leads to confer stability. Kalthera Pty Ltd is currently pursuing partners with peptide leads and development candidates.

Cyclagen Pty Ltd has discovered a natural, novel system that many plants appear to utilize for protection against insect attack. This system is based on a unique class of proteins that have a novel structural framework called the Cyclic Cystine Knot (CCK). The proteins display a range of unique characteristics, including potent insecticidal and microbial activity. Cyclagen has characterised a large number of these proteins and potent insecticidal activities have been demonstrated. They appear to affect a novel spectrum of insects and have a marked effect on the growth and mortality of the global pest Helicoverpa spp. The efficacy of this system is currently being demonstrated in a range of transgenic plants. Cyclagen is pursuing technology development and field trials in crops, forestry and horticultural applications.

Nephrogenix Pty Ltd is actively developing cell based therapies for renal disease. Nephrogenix draws on the collective research efforts of some of Australia's pre-eminent researchers at The University of Queensland and Monash University in the fields of cell and tissue based therapies and kidney development to develop the next generation renal treatments. Nephrogenix is positioned to become the leading biotech company for the commercialisation of novel methodologies, cellular therapies, and therapeutics in renal regeneration.

ElaCor Pty Ltd is developing a technology based on the discovery of a group of novel natriuretic peptides isolated from Taipan snake venom. The lead compound, characterised by high potency, remarkable stability and lack of side-effects holds great promise as a therapeutic for congestive heart failure. The company aims to produce a superstable derivative based on the lead compound suitable for clinical development.