Guest: Dr. Alan Taylor
Presenter: Patrick Reyes
Guest Bio: Dr Alan Taylor has a background as a scientist, investment banker, entrepreneur and investor. Alan is currently very active in the Australian start-up area, investing in, advising and taking an active role within a number of early stage companies. Alan is also the Chairman and co-founder of Mizzen Group Pty Ltd, a new technology start-up company in the transport and logistics area. Alan is passionate about the commercialisation of Australian science and technologies, either in general technology or the life sciences. Alan has approximately 10 years of investment banking experience, and was until recently an Executive Director and shareholder of Inteq Limited, a boutique Australian investment bank, where he remains on the Board of Directors. Alan has significant experience in capital raisings, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate advisory. He has experience across a broad range of industries including healthcare and life sciences, technology, and resources. At Inteq, Alan was involved in some of Australia’s largest life sciences transactions. Alan is also a lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing to Masters of Commerce and International Business students undertaking studies in New Business Opportunities and Start-ups.
Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, we welcome Dr. Alan Taylor who is currently the Executive Chairman at Clarity Pharmaceuticals. Their technology, developed in collaboration with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the University of Melbourne, allows biopharmaceuticals to be radiolabelled for therapy as well as visualised using PET imaging. The imaging data generated provides powerful information on targeting, clearance and biodistribution of the product, which aids in drug development. This de-risks the development process and allows making informed decisions regarding biopharmaceutical drug candidates. Clarity offers this capability as a service to biopharmaceutical developers worldwide and also utilises the expertise to develop its own clinical pipeline. The company’s in-house drug development program is focused on developing novel targeted therapeutics, along with their companion diagnostics, to treat serious disease. Clarity’s first product, SARTATE™, is being developed to treat a range of cancers including neuro-endocrine tumours, as well as devastating childhood cancers such as neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma.
Health Professional Radio – Radiopharmaceuticals for the Treatment of Cancer
Patrick Reyes: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Patrick Reyes and on today’s show we have Dr. Alan Taylor. Now he is the Executive Chairman at Clarity Pharmaceuticals. Welcome to the show Dr. Alan Taylor.
Dr. Alan Taylor: Thank you Patrick.
P: So can you give us a little bit more insight on what it is that Clarity Pharmaceutical does?
T: Sure thing, yes. So Clarity Pharmaceuticals is a development stage company focused specifically on the development of radiopharmaceuticals. Radiopharmaceuticals, it’s quite an interesting area where we can specifically target radiation to things like tumors by using imaging to see whether you hit the target, doing prospective dissymmetry so you can determine how much of the drug is getting to the target and then optimizing therapeutic dose so you can maximize efficacy in the treatment of cancer and minimize side effects.
P: Now does Clarity Pharmaceuticals at the time have any products and services that they provide?
T: We certainly provide services to the global pharmaceutical markets because an important question of pharmaceutical companies we’re developing biological products such as peptides or antibodies they want to understand where their product goes. So what we do is provide somewhat a CRS service where we work with their products and to understand how much of the product gets to the cancer if it’s a tumor based therapeutic and how long it stays at the tumor and then how it’s excreted from the body. So that is our services side and we’ve been running that business now for the last three or four years. But what we’re really focused on is the development of what we’re going to use to treat cancers in the future and that is targeted therapy. So we’ve got a product that’s already in clinical trials which has been showing very good data to date and very compelling data and we’re looking to move that not only in Neuroendocrine tumors which is adult based cancer but quickly progress that into clinical development in Neuroblastoma and other children’s cancers.
P: I see, it’s very interesting services that your company provides. Now I also see here that your company is into academic research?
T: Yes. So what we’re very focused on and what Australia quite interestingly certainly over the last six months or so is very focused on is this translation of academic research and maybe get into the clinic. Clarity itself is basically a corporate vehicle that does that. Our technology was first developed at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization as well as the University of Melbourne in an academic setting and what it is, is a …. case technology that is able to bind to biological drugs but holds the element copper, which Copper 64 for imaging and Copper 67 for therapy. But what Clarity does is specifically we’re taking that technology and move to this quickly as possible into pre-clinical efficacy work and now into the clinic. And so we’re very passionate both myself and the Managing Director, Matt Harris, so it’s our passionate scientists just asking the very simple question of how can science better our society and in the case of Clarity it’s developing the next, hopefully developing the next stages of cancer therapy.
P: Now our viewers or audience they are clinicians of one kind or another, what would you like to let them know as a result of this interview today?
T: Well it’s quite interesting because we’re a collaboration based model and we collaborate and collaboration is, it’s when we talk about the importance of it, it’s important for a number of levels. First we need to develop the basic science and come up with the somewhat of the original ideas and potentially the original patency and things like that around particular products but it’s incredibly important that as scientists we collaborate strongly with the clinical environment. We have strong collaborations with groups like MacCallum Cancer…is what’s required by their patients and certainly we work closely with our clinician, their professor Rod Hicks and who is able to work with us. So we optimize what we’re developing over time instead of science working in isolation and not knowing what’s happening in the clinical environment but having this collaboration between clinicians as well as scientists. So we have an iteration between groups overtime where we can develop the best products to best service the market. Without clinical involvement or clinician involvement into that sort of scientific translation, you find that your products don’t meet the market. So certainly the key message I’d like to put out there is that having strong clinical input into a clinical pipeline which might be rather early stage if you’re asking those important questions earlier on which is for a cancer clinician, how do we best treat the cancer by maximizing efficacy and minimizing any sort of safety issues. Having that close coordination between the scientists and clinicians, the clinician is incredibly important to retrieve that goal.
P: And another question is which is a favorite question of among Health Professional Radio is what is the biggest misconception that you get about your product?
T: Yes, so we have, since we’re sort of bridging somewhat a new frontier and there’s a couple of products now that are coming to the market which are in radiopharmaceuticals, it’s trying to get across the, certainly the safety and efficacy of using targeted therapies, given that we are, we don’t work in the areas of like small molecules and such as chemotherapy which is killing good cells and bad cells and even though that’s the best we’ve got to work with at the moment. We’re focused on that next level of targeted radiation products, radiation-based products and so really getting across the idea that we can do that much more safely than small molecules is an important thing. Even though we’re putting small levels of radiation into the body, we found through the gathering of data over time that it’s very safe and very efficacious depending on what cancers you’re targeting. So really getting across that when we are continuing to develop these technologies that given we can do prospective dissymmetry, we can optimize those and minimize side effects, that’s really the key outcome we’re looking for. So when we’re actually looking at solid tumors if we’re able to gather more information through imaging then certainly that both will for good clinical outcomes.
P: Now Alan is there a way for our listeners to get more information about Clarity Pharmaceuticals?
T: Certainly can. So we have a website, www.claritypharmaceuticals.com, which will give a good understanding of not only who we are and what we do, also recent news and it also will give, we have a number of news articles of like, certainly with things like grant funding, capital raising and things like that which might give a number of clinicians some ideas how they can fund their early stage products and certainly our contact details are there. So if any clinician wants to reach out and throw around some ideas or potential opportunities to collaborate, please feel free to give us a call.
P: Alright, what is the phone number that they contact you on?
T: Certainly, so we’re located in Sydney so 02 9209 4037.
P: Alright. Now if you missed that the website again is www.claritypharmaceuticals all one word .com and the phone number is 02 9209 4037. Doctor Alan thank you for joining us today, it’s been a real pleasure having you on Health Professional Radio.
T: Certainly a pleasure of mine Patrick and thanks for having me.
P: Definitely. Now if you’ve missed my conversation with Dr. Alan Taylor, he’s the Executive Chairman at Clarity Pharmaceuticals and if you’d like to hear what he had to say there’s an archive audio file on both YouTube and SoundCloud or you can also read a transcript of this conversation on our website. Now all of those resources are available in the Health Professional Radio website at www.hpr.fm. My name is Patrick Reyes and it’s been a pleasure to speak to you today and thank you for spending your time with us.