Nyrada (ASX:NYR) collaboration with Walter Reed and UNSW


by Rachael Jones

Nyrada Limited (ASX:NYR) CEO James Bonnar talks about the company's collaboration agreement with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and UNSW into the study of a first-ever pharmaceutical treatment for traumatic brain injury, a top health priority for the military.

Rachael Jones: Hello, I'm Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Joining me from Nyrada is CEO James Bonnar. James, welcome back to the network.

James Bonnar: Hi, Rachael. Good to be here.

Rachael Jones: Good to see you again. Now, could you tell us about the exciting new collaboration Nyrada has signed with Walter Reed and UNSW?

James Bonnar: Sure. Nyrada is developing the first ever pharmaceutical treatment for secondary brain injury. Brain injury is a process that occurs after, say, a knock to the head from a motor vehicle accident or a fall, which can lead to a doubling in size of the injury. The aim with this drug we're developing is to improve survivability, but also to minimize disability.

We've just entered into a three-way agreement between Nyrada, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and UNSW Sydney. We're looking to work together in collaboration to advance their drug program forward into the clinic. For those not familiar with Walter Reed, Walter Reed is a specialized traumatic brain injury research unit, and they come under the umbrella of the Department of Defense.

Rachael Jones: What would the collaboration focus on and is there scope to broaden it?

James Bonnar: The collaboration is for two years and it's done under what's called a CRADA, or a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement. Initially, we'll be doing some work with them, looking at the mechanism of action for the drug. And following on from there, what we're looking at doing is running some studies at UNSW just to optimize the experimental design prior to taking the drug into a model of traumatic brain injury that is set up at Walter Reed. It's really the gold standard test for evaluating a drug for traumatic brain injury, and it's one that they've developed and they've been running in-house for quite some time.

Rachael Jones: James, why were Walter Reed and UNSW drawn to the collaboration with Nyrada and its brain injury program?

James Bonnar: University of New South Wales, Sydney is really where the research originated from, so we've had a longstanding relationship with them. Bringing on board, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, is really an opportunity to take that research onto the world stage and work with leading researchers in brain injury. The reason that Walter Reed are interested in this is that traumatic brain injury is considered one of the top health priorities for the military. Around one in 25 service members experience a TBI in their career, so there's really good alignment with what we're trying to achieve with our program and what Walter Reed are looking to achieve as well, and that's the first ever treatment for traumatic brain injury. Currently, it's a complete unmet clinical need. If you suffer a traumatic brain injury, the options are fairly limited, so this is really ground-breaking science.

Rachael Jones: Looking towards the future, what's the potential market for this?

James Bonnar: If we look at the US for example, around 2.8 million people every year sustain a traumatic brain injury, so the market's very large. As I mentioned, it's unmet clinical need. There are no drugs available, so it's difficult to put a figure on the size of the market, but it's substantial.

Rachael Jones: What does this collaboration mean for shareholders?

James Bonnar: This collaboration will proceed over the coming 12 months and the scope within the agreement to broaden that out and extend it. We'll be reporting to the market on progress as those studies progress. And one other thing, too, about the collaboration, is it also opens up the possibility of joint funding applications for non-dilutive funding. So we'll be reporting on progress as news comes to hand.

Rachael Jones: To the last question now, James. When will you know the outcome of the studies?

James Bonnar: Well, the initial studies will report fairly quickly and then the traumatic brain injury study, looking at, if you think about drug in an animal model, will be run sometime this year and we'll be reporting that as data becomes available.

Rachael Jones: James Bonnar, thanks so much for the update.

James Bonnar: Thanks, Rachael.