About HeximaHistory and Overview
Hexima is a biotechnology company actively engaged in the research and development of plant-derived proteins and peptides for applications as human therapeutics and for the genetic modification of crops.
Hexima was formed in 1998, following the discovery by its founding scientists, Professor Adrienne Clarke AC, Professor Marilyn Anderson and Dr Robyn Heath at The University of Melbourne, of certain molecules involved in the protection of the female stigma of plants, from insect predation. In 2001, Hexima acquired the intellectual property portfolio of The University of Melbourne relating to this technology. In 2006, Hexima also acquired intellectual property rights from La Trobe University relating to a discovery by Professor Marilyn Anderson of a molecule from ornamental tobacco with potent antifungal activity.
Hexima continued to develop these technologies funded via a combination of equity funding from a small group of private investors and grant monies from both the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments. In 2007, the company raised $40M through an Initial Public Offering and listed on the ASX. The Company delisted from the ASX on 17 June 2011 following approval by a General Meeting of shareholders.
Hexima continues to conduct the majority of its research under contract with La Trobe University. Through this contract scientists have access to specialist analytical equipment as well as general laboratory, tissue culture and glasshouse facilities. Hexima continues to invest directly in research equipment and facilities including a greenhouse and tissue culture facility completed at La Trobe University in 2009. Intellectual property generated by the scientific team arising from research conducted under these contracts becomes the property of Hexima.
Hexima’s has five main areas of interest:
Plant Fungal Disease – this technology provides crops with a level of resistance to several fungal pathogens. Hexima is collaborating with DuPont Pioneer to progress this technology in corn and soy.
Insect Resistance – Hexima is collaborating with DuPont Pioneer to identify novel genes capable of conferring resistance to insect pests in a number of crop species.
Human Antifungal – Hexima is applying its antifungal technology to a range of human fungal diseases, in particular fungal nail infections (onychomycosis).
Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer – Hexima has identified several molecules with the ability to kill cancer cells more efficiently than normal cells. This difference in activity provides a ‘therapeutic window’ for selective killing of tumour cells.
Multi-Gene Expression Vehicle (MGEV) – Hexima’s proprietary MGEV technology is a molecular tool which enables delivery of several proteins into a plant from a single transcript, reducing the need for additional elements such as promotors and terminators.