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Acrux success takes Monash innovation to the world

2010 was a big year for Monash University spin-off company Acrux (ASX-ACR). The biotech company signed one of the largest licensing deals in the history of Australian biotechnology after securing a global deal with United States-based Eli Lilly for the commercialisation of transdermal testosterone solution AXIRON©.

Following the deal, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug application for AXIRON©, making it the first testosterone replacement product authorised for administration via the armpit.

The company's successes have not gone unnoticed, with Acrux Limited scooping the 2010 Governor of Victoria Export Awards, taking out the prestigious Victorian Export Award for Innovation Excellence and the Large Services Export Award.

Professor Bill Charman, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said Acrux was an example of Monash research making a difference in drug development for the benefit of patients around the world. The company has already had two of its new medicines, based on the drug delivery technology, approved by the FDA.

Acrux Limited was formed in 1998 after Monash researchers Emeritus Professor Barry Reed, Dr Tim Morgan and Professor Barrie Finnin discovered the innovative spray-on drug delivery technology.

Applied to the armpit like a deodorant, AXIRON© uses a specially designed applicator that ensures patients avoid direct hand contact with the drug and eliminates mess. The fast-drying properties, discreet application site and 'no touch' features are expected to make it an attractive option for men with testosterone deficiency.

Professor Finnin said the deal was "an important step in bringing the benefits of Monash University discoveries in transdermal drug delivery to the public at large".

In 2010 Acrux achieved a record export revenue result of A$55 million, and the company pays a royalty on revenues to Monash University. Acrux's marketing partner Eli Lilly launched AXIRON© into the billion-dollar US market in early 2011.