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Arix Bioscience takes stake in Aussie fibrosis specialist Pharmaxis

Arix led a A$24mln (£13.4mln) primary placing and will invest A$14.2mln itself in two tranches

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Liver damage is a huge potential market for a fibrosis drug

Arix Bioscience Plc (LON:ARIX) has made its first investment in Australia by leading a sizable funding round for ASX-listed Pharmaxis (ASX:PXS).

The life science investment group will take an 11% interest in Pharmaxis, which is developing treatments for inflammation and fibrosis.

READ: Arix Biosciences' progress significantly undervalued, suggests US broker

Arix led an A$24mln (£13.4mln) primary placing and will invest A$14.2mln itself in two tranches

It was its first 'VIPE'  or Venture Investment in Public Equity deal, where it takes a hands-on role in the development of the company as well as providing finance.

In this case, Edward Rayner, from Arix, will join the Pharmaxis board after shareholder approval.

"We see a number of opportunities to help build high-value companies through our VIPE strategy," said Joe Anderson, Arix's chief executive.

Fibrosis a huge market

Pharmaxis is developing treatments using an anti-fibrotic Lysyl Oxidase-Like type 2 (LOXL2) inhibitor for NASH (liver), IPF (lung function) and damage to the heart and kidneys.

Fibrosis is a build up of scar tissue that inhibits the functioning of an organ.

The Aussie-company has already sold one molecule to Boehringer that is currently in phase 2 trials for NASH and Diabetic Retinopathy.

Pharmaxis also phase 1 studies and phase 2 enabling toxicity studies scheduled to complete this quarter.

Anderson said the investment in Australia demonstrated Arix's "growing global reach.”

Gary Phillips, Pharmaxis’s CEO, added that this funding round will put it in a strong position to negotiate the best partnering outcome and to invest in its pre-clinical pipeline.  

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