BioCurate and Monash University launch oncology startup company,
Pio Therapeutics

18 May 2021, 0900 AEST, MELBOURNE – BioCurate today, together with Monash University announced the launch of Pio Therapeutics (Pio Tx), a new company that will focus on developing novel, innovative and targeted medicines to improve outcomes for cancer patients.

The launch of Pio Tx demonstrates the benefits and potential of the BioCurate model. Jointly formed between Monash University and the University of Melbourne with generous support from the Victorian State Government, BioCurate aligns financial resources with proven scientific and commercial experience to accelerate the commercialisation of promising biomedical research.

Pio Tx’s mission is to develop novel, innovative and targeted medicines that increase endogenous anti-tumour immunity. It will focus on expediting further development of its first-in-class agonist antibody, PIO-001, that addresses current clinical challenges associated with immunotherapy, such as improving the rate and quality of responses in a variety of solid tumours.

The research that led to the discovery and initial characterisation of PIO-001 was conducted at Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute in the laboratories of Professor Charles Mackay, Professor Di Yu, and Dr Remy Robert.

This launch is a major milestone representing another example of the Monash and BioCurate vision that sees collaboration moving exceptional research forward into commercial tangible benefits for the community.

A world-class team has been assembled to lead Pio Tx, combining decades of international scientific and commercial expertise, with proven success in therapeutic discovery, preclinical, clinical, regulatory, and commercial stages of drug development.

Dr Damien Bates, Acting CEO of BioCurate, and CEO & Managing Director of Pio Tx, commented, “Pio Tx is the culmination of many months of hard work by a highly dedicated and collaborative team. It’s an incredibly exciting development that shows what can happen when outstanding research in Australia’s universities receives commercially focused research translation and financial support, helping to turn biotech discoveries into viable therapies.”

Dr George Morstyn, a pioneering drug developer with many years’ experience in the biotechnology industry, has been appointed Chair of Pio Tx. “Having worked in global and local drug development companies for over 25 years and experienced first-hand what it takes to drive a promising discovery through to clinical impact, I am confident that BioCurate has a team of very accomplished drug developers – I am genuinely thrilled, and honoured, to be part of this exciting initiative.”

Dr Alastair Hick, Senior Director of Monash Innovation and member of the Pio Tx Board, adds ‘I am looking forward to being part of this new company and continuing to develop strong links with industry, government and partners to leverage our research.  This collaboration is a great example of bringing some of the best people together to bring fundamental discoveries to market.’




About BioCurate

BioCurate is a bold, collaborative venture, dedicated to delivering benefits to the community by helping to advance Australian research and innovation globally. Jointly formed by the University of Melbourne and Monash University, with support from the Victorian State Government, BioCurate identifies promising biomedical research discoveries and manages their translation into high quality pre-clinical candidates with the aim to develop potential novel human therapeutics. We operate in the under-resourced, yet critical, early phases of therapeutic development to overcome common barriers to success and drive early decisions. BioCurate is operationally independent, with a team of experts that brings decades of scientific and commercial expertise, enabling us to recognise and realise real-world potential and providing a critical bridge between academia and industry.  Governance is provided by an experienced Board with an independent Board Chair, the Hon John Brumby AO, supported by Directors with specialist backgrounds in biotechnology, investment and corporate governance.


About Monash University

Monash University is Australia’s largest university. In the 60 years since foundation, we’ve built a reputation for world-leading, high-impact research, quality teaching, and inspiring innovation and learning culture.

Our size and scale – along with our growing global network – enable us to dial-up our education and research on an international scale. With four campuses in Australia, and a presence in Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia and Italy, our people are part of a thriving connected community.

At Monash, we’re redefining what it means to be a university. We transcend disciplines and boundaries, going beyond education and research to see the connections and intersections that others don’t. Our role is as a catalyst for resolving the complex challenges facing our world now and for every generation to come. And we know that it’s through deep, robust, sustainable partnerships with industry, government and the community that we’re going to do it.

Click here to learn more about Monash University.


Media contact:
Scott Thomson
Forge Communications