We are leading the research and development of plant defensin peptides for applications as human therapeutics

About Hexima

Hexima is a clinical stage, anti-infectives focused biotechnology company engaged in the research and development of plant defensin peptides for applications as human therapeutics. Our lead product candidate, pezadeftide topical solution, is a potential new prescription treatment for toenail fungal infections (or onychomycosis). Hexima is currently conducting global clinical trials testing pezadeftide for the treatment of onychomycosis. Hexima holds granted, long life patents protecting pezadeftide in major markets globally.


Founding history

Founded in 1998 by Professor Adrienne Clarke AC, Professor Marilyn Anderson and Dr Robyn Heath, Hexima acquired intellectual property rights from La Trobe University relating to the discovery of a molecule from ornamental tobacco with potent antifungal activity.

Hexima’s original business plan focused on the potential application of the defensin class of peptides in agribiotech applications.

In 2015, Hexima pivoted to human therapeutics, with the discovery that certain antifungal plant defensin peptides had the potential to treat difficult to manage human fungal infections, including onychomycosis.

Our approach to the treatment of onychomycosis

Hexima embraces the significant challenge of new product development for onychomycosis. Hexima has taken a very different approach, building on its many years of ground-breaking research into the evolutionary tools that plants use naturally to fight fungal infections. The result is pezadeftide, a potentially new topical treatment for onychomycosis, with a novel and powerful fungicidal mode of action.

Historically, drug development for onychomycosis has generally focused on small molecule antifungal agents or improving the topical delivery of systemic antifungals. Hexima’s technology is a completely novel approach with fundamental differences that address the well-documented limitations of these traditional technologies. 

Developing a new topical treatment addressing an unmet need in a large and growing market.

Hexima is a Clinical-stage, infectious disease-focused biotechnology company

  • Lead program is pezadeftide, a potential new topical treatment for onychomycosis.
  • Exploring other applications for its antifungal peptide platform.

Large and growing market with substantial unmet need

  • Onychomycosis affects 14% of the US population¹. The global market for onychomycosis treatments was US$3.7 billion in 2018².
  • Current treatment options do not meet patient needs. Patients and clinicians have a clear preference for a safe topical product with a more convenient, shorter course of therapy and better efficacy.

Proprietary molecule with fungicidal mode of action

  • Pezadefide is a patent protected biologic which rapidly kills fungal cells on contact.
  • Efficiently penetrates the human nail to target the site of infection.

addressing an unmet need with a goal to be the preferred treatment

  • Demonstrated in a phase I clinical trial to have a favourable safety profile and deliver effective and rapid treatment of onychomycosis.
  • Shorter, convenient course of topical therapy with rapid resolution of disease may provide a clear opportunity to differentiate pezadeftide from current treatment options.

Well-defined development path

  • Currently conducting phase II clinical trial with results expected Q2 2022.
  • Preparing for phase III trials targeted to begin late 2022.