Monash University signs licensing deal for novel drug delivery technology


Professor Chris Porter

The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) at Monash University today announced the licensing of a lymphatic drug targeting technology platform to clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company PureTech Health plc (PureTech Health).

This novel technology has been developed by Professor Chris Porter’s group at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Bio-Nano Science and Technology (the CBNS) at MIPS. The MIPS inventors were Dr Tim Quach, Dr Sifei Han, Dr Luojuan Hu, Dr Natalie Trevaskis, Dr Jamie Simpson and Dr Porter.

The technology will be developed and progressed towards clinical trial by PureTech Health through a new subsidiary start-up, Glyph Biosciences, in collaboration with Dr Porter’s laboratory.

Named “Glyph”, the technology platform is aimed at harnessing the biology of the lymphatic system to develop novel therapeutics, including those that selectively target certain lymph nodes. It holds promise for the development of new medicines that are both more potent and less toxic to the liver, and have the potential to pave the way for new treatments for a range of conditions, from cancer to autoimmune disease.

“The lymphatic system is a vastly underexplored circulatory network that serves a fundamental role in maintaining physiological homeostasis and immune control,” Chief Scientific Officer of PureTech Health, Dr Joseph Bolen, said.

“The Glyph technology represents a major advancement in potentially enhancing transport and distribution of therapeutics via the lymphatic system and targeting of certain lymph nodes. By addressing the immune system at the sites of dysregulation and immune control, this novel approach has the potential to radically transform the treatment of serious disease,” he said.

By virtue of its architecture and distribution throughout the body, the lymphatic system potentially represents a key conduit for communicating signals at the intersection of the immune-gut-brain axis. The Glyph technology is designed to harness the biology of the lymphatic system and the endogenous trafficking of compounds through this network to develop novel drugs that bypass first-pass metabolism, improve oral bioavailability, and significantly lower the risk of liver toxicity.

In addition, the mesenteric lymph nodes, proximal to the gut, are exposed to a host of microbiome related species and serve an integral role in immune education and control.  Harnessing the lymphatic pathway therefore potentially enables rational design of therapeutics to modulate the immune system, representing an innovative approach to treating a broad range of immunological disorders.

“Through our work at Monash University, we have designed chemistries that potentially enable drugs to be preferentially and effectively transported through the endogenous pathways of lipid transport via the intestinal lymphatics in a controlled manner,” Dr Porter said.

“Our technology has been shown in pre-clinical experiments to achieve significant oral bioavailability of compounds through the avoidance of first-pass metabolism, and has the potential to significantly mitigate liver toxicity and to target immune tissues. I am excited to be working with PureTech Health to rapidly advance this potentially disruptive technology platform toward the development of novel therapeutics,” he said.

“This new program builds on PureTech’s unique expertise and approach to utilize novel biology, such as the lymphatic distribution network, to treat serious diseases,” Chief Innovation Officer and a Co-founder of PureTech Health, David Steinberg, said.

“We look forward to a great partnership with Dr Porter and building on his work at Monash University to drive advancements in immunomodulation."

A group of leading expert collaborators has been convened around the program, including:

  • Ulrich von Andrian, M.D., Ph.D., Mallinckrodt Professor of Immunopathology at Harvard Medical School.
  • William Charman, Ph.D., Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University.
  • Christopher Porter, Ph.D., Director of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) at Monash University, Melbourne and Professor of Pharmaceutics.
  • Melody Swartz, Ph.D., William B. Ogden Professor in Molecular Engineering and Professor of Immunology at the University of Chicago.
  • Patrick Tso, Ph.D., Mary M. Emery Chair of Pathology, Director Cincinnati Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center. The apolipoproteins being studied include: apo AI, apo AIV, apo B, and apo CIII.

About PureTech Health

PureTech Health (PureTech Health plc, PRTC.L) is an advanced, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines targeting serious diseases that result from dysfunctions in the immune, nervous, and gastro-intestinal systems by intervening early and addressing the underlying pathophysiology of disease. The Company is advancing a rich pipeline that includes two pivotal or registration studies expected to read out in 2017, multiple human proof-of-concept studies and a number of early clinical and pre-clinical programmes. PureTech Health’s growing research and development pipeline has been developed in collaboration with some of the world’s leading scientific experts, who along with PureTech's experienced team and a stellar Board identify, analyse and advance very selectively the opportunities the Company believes hold the most promise for patients. This experienced and engaged team places PureTech Health at the forefront of ground-breaking science and technological innovation and leads the Company between and beyond existing disciplines. For more information, visit or connect with us on Twitter @puretechh.

About Monash University

Monash University is Australia’s largest University and ranked in the top one per cent of world universities. It has earned an enviable national and international reputation for research and teaching excellence, and is a member of Australia’s Group of Eight research-intensive universities and the M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centres and Medical Universities.

About the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS)

MIPS is home to Australia’s largest group of pharmaceutical sciences researchers, with more than 250 research-active staff and 150+ PhD students. MIPS has research strengths in Drug Discovery Biology, Medicinal Chemistry, Drug Candidate Optimisation and Drug Delivery. Its national and international research has contributed to the reputation of the Monash Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, which was ranked second in the world for pharmacy and pharmacology in the 2017 QS World University Rankings by Subject, and first in the world for the number of Highly Cited researchers (Clarivate Analytics) in the field of pharmacology and toxicology. For more information visit