Updated on 5 October 2012
Hatchtech CSO and CEO - Dr Vern Bowles (L) and Dr Ross Macdonald (R)
Australia-based Hatchtech, which was started in October 2001, is developing a new generation of low-toxicity ovacides for human parasites, focussing on the human head lice and also on the agricultural applications of the technology. Hatchtech's key product is DeOvo, is a cosmetically elegant topical lotion containing an inhibitor of metalloproteases that are known to impede all stages of the louse lifecycle from egg-to-adult. in a single application.
While other head lice solutions treat the lice, few are highly effective against the eggs and hence repeat applications are needed to eliminate an infestation. In addition, while head lice have developed resistance across the world to many of the available products, Hatchtech's product DeOvo has a novel mode of action as compared to other current active ingredients. This means that there is no known cross resistance with DeOvo.
Birth of Hatchtech
Hatchtech was established to build on the research of Dr Vern Bowles, the chief scientific officer (CSO) of Hatchtech, showing that proteases are involved in egg hatching and survival in parasitic insect pests. The potential commercial applications were very broad, covering both human healthcare as well as agricultural and veterinary fields and thus the formation of a company was ideal for the development of a product. Proof-of-principle was initially obtained in a veterinary agricultural pest and based on the success of this early work, Hatchtech was established.
Hatchtech is securely financed by a consortium of specialist venture capitalists and is located in Melbourne, Australia. Until date the company has attracted around A$14 million in venture capital funding, and another grant worth close to A$3 million. Dr Vern Bowles, CSO; Hatchtech, while speaking about the firm's funding scenario said that, " One of our major milestones is related to raising the required capital when needed to ensure that the company has the funds to continue operating. This has been addressed by Hatchtech by meeting the required technical milestones in the appropriate time frames."
Hatchtech presently outsources most of its administrative support and clinical, regulatory and manufacturing requirements. Whilst this is often a challenge for companies with multiple product candidates and complex regulatory paths, it is much more feasible for Hatchtech in view of the particular commercial application being pursued by the company. "We have largely undertaken our product research internally though our association with the University of Melbourne, where our CSO Dr Vern Bowles has an adjunct associate professorship," added Dr Macdonald.