Top 25 leaders: Darren Kelly

April 12, 2016

The founder, CEO and director of Fibrotech Therapeutics shares the key drivers to biotechnology startups.

Top 25 leaders: Darren Kelly

R&D company Fibrotech Therapeutics has the goal of treating fibrosis, which results from persistent tissue damage and leads to organ failure in more than 45% of diseases. Fibrotech develops orally active anti-fibrotic inhibitors designed to treat underlying pathological fibrosis in kidney and heart failure.

Kelly co-founded Fibrotech with Associate Professor Spencer Williams from the Bio21 Institute, and Dr Henry Krum and Professor Richard Gilbert from the University of Melbourne.

Their goal was to take compounds through early safety studies in animals and humans, before selling on to a pharmaceutical company. They designed compounds off the structure of tranilast, an anti-fibrotic compound, reducing its toxicity and increasing its potential.

Fibrotech was sold to global specialty biopharmaceutical company Shire in 2014 for an upfront US$75 million and further milestone payments of US$482.5 million.

In May 2015, Kelly launched OccuRx to develop drugs to treat ophthalmic disorders associated with retinal fibrosis and inflammation, and aims to take them to Phase 2 clinical trials. “We licensed the technology to administer anti-fibrotics to people with eye disease and fibrosis.”

Fibrotech Therapeutics tops the Top 25 Science Meets Business list of Australia’s most successful R&D companies.

“Key drivers to any biotechnology startup are passion and tenacity, and the desire to make a difference,” says Kelly.

Click here to read the full list of Top 25 Science meets Business R&D spin-off companies, or click here for Top 25 insights into attracting venture capital.

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  1. What about the ones from CSIRO who lost their jobs leading up to the discovery of the result that may be due to gravity waves? They seem to be conveniently omitted….don’t we recognize people anymore because they have been sacked/shafted/deleted/terminated/expunged/retrenched?
    http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/csiro-hailed-contribution-to-gravitation-waves-find–for-work-done-by-axed-unit-20160214-gmtmhu.html
    This is happening too often.

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