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Prominent Australian official visits UTHSC researcher to discuss successful private-university partnership

San Antonio (June 16, 2003) — Premier Steve Bracks, top official of the state of Victoria in southeastern Australia, will visit a flourishing San Antonio biotechnology company at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, for a meeting with Gregory R. Mundy, M.D., longtime faculty member at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC).

Bracks, a leading proponent of biotech development in Australia, will tour the laboratories of OsteoScreen Ltd., one of San Antonio's most successful companies formed in collaboration with the UTHSC. Gregory R. Mundy, M.D., OsteoScreen's President and Chief Executive Officer, is a native Australian. He is professor of cellular and structural biology in UTHSC's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and assistant dean for clinical research in the School of Medicine. OsteoScreen is located at 2040 Babcock Road, Suite 201.

Under the leadership of Dr. Mundy and his team of veteran scientists from across the globe, OsteoScreen is finding new drugs to slow bone loss and stimulate new bone growth in the fight against osteoporosis. In this month's issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI), the scientists report that a class of drugs causes bone growth and may be useful in diseases of bone loss such as osteoporosis. In late 2002, the group reported in the JCI that a drug used to treat childhood leukemia also is effective at treating the spread of breast cancer to bone.

"It is an honor to visit with Premier Bracks and to know that he is interested in the highly successful model of collaboration between the Health Science Center and OsteoScreen," Dr. Mundy said. "The state of Victoria is interested in finding the best practices that will lead to success in the biotechnology arena."

In a June 10 press release, Premier Bracks is quoted as saying his visit to the United States is "about driving investment opportunities and spearheading Victoria's push to be among the top five biotechnology locations in the world by 2010."

OsteoScreen, which has a research staff of five scientists and 10 technicians, is developing several anabolic agents for bone growth in preclinical trials and has even found a drug to treat alopecia or hair loss, company spokesman Ben Mundy said. "We have raised more than $35 million through licensing, research contracts and joint ventures since our start date in 1988 and have never had to raise venture capital," he said.

The premier is the equivalent of a state governor in this country. Australia consists of six states and two territories, including the capital territory. Victoria is home to one-fourth of the nation's population. Melbourne is Victoria's capital and largest city.

In addition to their shared interest in the biosciences, both Melbourne and San Antonio are benefiting from expansion by the automaker Toyota. On Feb. 10, Toyota announced that its sixth North American assembly plant will be located in San Antonio. Melbourne is celebrating the addition of a new global Toyota Technical Center.

Contact: Will Sansom