A company pioneering a drug to delay cataracts from forming or slow their growth has won this year’s $100,000 Enterprize competition.
Adelaide-based Calpain Therapeutics’ victory was announced earlier this month by University of Queensland Business School, which has run Australia’s richest business-plan contest since 2000.
“With severe cataracts the leading cause of blindness around the world, the Business School is proud to support such a visionary innovation,” Ian Watson, academic dean and head of the of school, said in a news release.
Tim Lovell of the Calpain Therapeutics team said the prize money “money will enable us to complete key human lens experiments, the next step before clinical trials. We will be able to start those very soon, and complete them in three to six months.”
Lovell added the Enterprize judging process forced him and his colleagues to focus and redefine their business plan and “hone an engaging, informative business pitch to put to investors.”
Calpain Therapeutics’ drug targets a protein in the eye’s tissue that, when activated by various triggers, causes clouding of the eye’s lens.
Currently, the only treatment for severe cataracts is to have the lens surgically removed and replaced with a synthetic lens. More than 200,000 cataract surgeries are performed in Australia each year and about 3.4 million a year in the United States.
Lovell said the Calpain Therapeutics drug could be administered as drops or a cream you put in your eyes each night before you go to sleep.
Here are videos assembled by Enterprize that showcase Calpain Therapeutics and three finalists:
- HaystackHQ presented an online tool that provides a faster and more effective way to find international patents and analyse patent data.
- Cloevis impressed the judges with a low-cost chemical mix that prevents the corrosion of concrete pipes and associated odours.
- AquaHydrex developed a low-cost fabrication technology that is able to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by using synthetic catalysts.