LEO Pharma and University of Queensland enter skin cancer treatments collaboration


Agreement will cover areas of skin cancer in which LEO Pharma is already active

Denmark-based pharmaceutical company LEO Pharma and the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia have entered a three-year collaboration with the aim of developing new treatments for skin cancer.

The pact will link up UQ’s expertise in discovery research and clinical trials with LEO Pharma’s 100 years of experience of drug discovery and development.

Thorsten Thormann, Vice President for New Product Discovery at LEO Pharma, said: \'Our goal is to achieve findings which make us wiser on understanding patients’ needs and can be directly applied to our research and development within skin cancer.\'

Professor Max Lu, UQ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), said the collaboration \'highlights the value that international pharmaceutical companies place on research at UQ. It is also advancing our strategy to become the most globally connected university in Australia.\'

The collaboration will cover the areas of skin cancer in which LEO Pharma is already active, including actinic keratosis and squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC). The firms will be involved in exploratory clinical trials, basic research, contract research, and material transfer agreement (MTA) activities.

\'The collaboration with University of Queensland gives us a unique chance to develop new solutions and treatments for patients suffering from skin cancer. We believe that external collaborations like this are a unique opportunity to explore more dermatological solutions at record speed,\' added Thormann.

LEO Pharma established a presence in Australia’s biotechnology sector in 2009 by acquiring Peplin, a Brisbane-based biotechnology research company focused on commercialising medical dermatology products.

At the time of the acquisition, Peplin had a product in Phase III clinical trials. In 2012, LEO Pharma launched the product Picato with the indication to treat actinic keratosis, a pre-cancerous skin condition which can develop into Squamous-Cell Carcinoma (SCC), the second most common skin cancer in the world. Picato is currently launched in 13 countries worldwide with more to follow.

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The collaboration between LEO Pharma and the University of Queensland was facilitated by UQ’s main commercialisation company, UniQuest.