Updated on 6 September 2012
Dr John Kurek, mentor of Q-Sera & investment manager, Uniseed Ventures
Q-Sera is a start-up firm that has put the lethal property of coagulation present in snake venom to good commercial use. The technology behind Q-Sera involves coating blood collection tubes with a naturally occurring coagulation agent, isolated from the venom of certain Australian snakes to accelerate the clotting of blood.
The Australia-based firm, which emerged from the University of Queensland (UQ), in April 2012, developed the high quality serum preparation tubes that clot blood more efficiently than the present conventional methods and is even capable of rapidly clotting samples from patients taking anticoagulants, such as warfarin or heparin, to produce high quality serum for subsequent biochemical analysis. These benefits translate into cost reductions for healthcare systems and mitigates against the risk of misdiagnosis.
The Q-Sera technology is based on the research of Dr Paul Masci, UQ School of Medicine; Professor Martin Lavin, UQ Center for Clinical Research; Professor John de Jersey, UQ School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences; and Dr Goce Dimeski of the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Q-Sera is built upon more than 25 years' of venom research initiated by Dr Paul Masci at the university.
The university's technology commercialization company UniQuest worked with the research team over a number of years in the identification of the project, early development, market analysis and protection of the intellectual property. UniQuest also worked with the team to develop a commercialization plan and then to prepare material for investment proposal, including those that were prepared for Uniseed Commercialization Fund; Medical Research Commercialization Fund (which is also a co-investor), and also for presentations to potential licensees.
Q-Sera secured funding worth $945,990 (A$900,000) as a syndicated investment from Uniseed and the Medical Research Commercialization Fund (MRCF). Q-Sera is the 18th investment Uniseed has made in technology that has originated from UQ. Dr John Kurek, investment manager, Uniseed Ventures (who is also the mentor overlooking the development of Q-Sera), while speaking about the factors that led Uniseed to fund Q-Sera, said that, "Before making an investment to develop the technology, Uniseed assessed the Q-Sera opportunity against a number of criteria including technology and competitive edge, target market, intellectual property position and commercialisation pathway."