Conexio develops ‘game changer’ genetic matching technology
10 April 2017
10 April 2017
When David Sayer and the team at Fremantle, Western Australia-based Conexio began investigating a new way to perform genetic matching for transplant operations, people said it couldn’t be done.
They said the technology Conexio was investigating would never be applicable to tissue typing.
Those naysayers have been proved wrong – spectacularly.
“What we’ve done is create something that improves the accuracy of tissue typing and potentially reduces the cost,” David says.
Conexio delivered technology that’s used around the world to provide genetic matching services for patients undergoing transplant surgery and the company has recently been acquired by US-based company Illumina Inc - a US$24 billion technology giant.
David, who’s become Director of Research and Development, Immunogenetics, at Illumina following the transaction, says their technology is largely used for identifying suitable bone marrow donors for cancer patients who need a bone marrow transplant.
“The best donor is an identical twin but obviously that’s not always possible. The next best option for someone who needs a bone marrow transplant is finding a tissue match from a global donor database, which is where our products come in,” he says.
David has been working with Griffith Hack and its patent experts for more than 10 years to protect Conexio’s technology.
“The kind of stuff we’re developing is a game changer,” he said, noting that the last two patents they were awarded related to a new way of tissue typing and the use of additional DNA sequences that improve matching.
Griffith Hack Principal Stuart Boyer says Conexio’s tissue matching technology was a world first.
“It’s a great reflection of Australia’s innovation sector that such important developments in the world of molecular diagnostics can happen here,” he says.
“It demonstrates that from acorns come oaks with time and perseverance.”
David says the strength of the patent protection around Conexio’s technology also played a part in Illumina acquiring the company.
“They’re a big player in our industry and could see that what we had was where the future was going.”
For the attorneys at Griffith Hack, Stuart says it provides great pleasure seeing clients protect their IP, watch their company grow and know that they had a role to play.