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Kimer Med Awarded Callaghan Innovation project grant for antiviral development

We are thrilled to receive this significant support in the form of R&D funding, and see it as recognition of the important science that we are undertaking.

Media Release – 06 July 2022

Nelson biotech start-up Kimer Med has been awarded a 2021-22 Project Grant from Callaghan Innovation. The funding will provide a boost to the company’s antiviral protein development by reimbursing a portion of its eligible research and development costs over the next two years.

Kimer Med is developing a broad-spectrum antiviral medication which has already shown the potential to treat a range of viral diseases. Viruses such as Influenza, HIV, Dengue, Hepatitis and SARS-CoV-2 (Covid) cause widespread illness and death, and inflict enormous harm on human health and economies worldwide.

Kimer Med co-founder and CEO, Rick Kiessig, said he was thrilled to get the support from Callaghan Innovation.

“Antiviral drugs are desperately needed to treat the vast range of viral diseases that affect humans and animals. As we’ve seen recently with Covid-19, viruses tend to mutate and eventually make vaccines less effective, which is why a broad-spectrum antiviral that can safely treat viral infection is so important.”

As part of their regional partnership with Callaghan, the Nelson Regional Development Agency assisted Kimer Med with the grant application, and backed it with a written recommendation and presentation to Callaghan’s investment committee to help get it over the line.

Manager, Innovation and Business Growth at NRDA, Mark Maguire, said he fully supported the R&D investment into Kimer Med because of the significant economic potential for New Zealand.

“Kimer Med are a fantastic example of a local company who are aiming to revolutionise healthcare by innovating and providing customer-centric solutions. The road to get a healthcare product to market can be difficult for new companies as it’s time-consuming, expensive, and there are lots of regulatory barriers. Our support has helped them to de-risk and continue their investment into the science, while also providing them with valuable information and connections to fast-track their path to market.”

Mark continued, “Kimer Med have a strong vision, early investors, and a highly skilled and capable team. They complement the NZ Health Research Strategy to have world-leading research and innovation, and they represent another example of world-leading innovation happening in Te Tauihu.’’

The inspiration for Kimer Med’s formation came from research originally carried out at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by Dr Todd Rider and others. Rider’s ground-breaking work was originally published in a 2011 paper in PLoS ONE called ‘Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Therapeutics’. In it he demonstrated a recombinant protein that was effective against 15 different viruses in 11 tissue types in vitro, and against Influenza H1N1 in mice.

“Kimer Med has signed an exclusive license with MIT, allowing us to pick up and continue with the antiviral work that Rider and his team began. Our current focus is on testing and refining the structure and fabrication of the antiviral protein compound, called VTose®, with the goal of carrying this innovation through to clinical trials”, said Kiessig.

“The support of Callaghan Innovation will help us accelerate our R&D efforts and tackle a number of experiments with greater breadth and depth than we might otherwise be able to.”

About Callaghan Innovation
Callaghan Innovation is New Zealand’s innovation agency. It activates innovation, accelerates commercialisation and helps businesses grow faster for a better New Zealand. The 2021-22 Project Grant supports research and development by co-funding a portion of eligible spending. More here:  https://www.callaghaninnovation.govt.nz/

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