ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (CXSP-NASDAQ) and (ASX-CXS)
Interview with:
Greg Collier, Ph.D., CEO and Managing Director
Business News, Financial News, Stocks, Money & Investment Ideas, CEO Interview
and Information on their
understanding of the genetic basis of diseases such as diabetes, depression, inflammation and cancer to discover and develop unique personalized medicine solutions to improve patient outcomes.


Cover Story

CEOCFO Current Issue

Cover Story Archives

Private Equity Review

CEOCFO Interview Index

Future Features

Analyst Interviews

Corporate Financials

Contact & Ordering

This is a printer friendly page!

ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals’ Ceflatonin® is very exciting because in clinical trials it has shown to be effective in treating myeloid leukemia (CML) patients that are developing resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as Gleevec®

wpe4.jpg (3626 bytes)


ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

3457 Edison Way, Suite M
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Phone: 650-474-9800

wpeA.jpg (7436 bytes)

Greg Collier, Ph.D.
CEO and Managing Director

Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
October 6, 2005

Dr Greg Collier, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals Limited.

Dr Collier is one of Australia’s leading biotechnology executives, and is credited with leading the transformation of the former Australian genomics company Autogen into the integrated international biopharmaceutical company ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals. As CEO of the company, Dr Collier has overseen the partnering of major research programs, the $14 million acquisition of a private US biotechnology company and listing of the company’s securities on the NASDAQ exchange. Dr Collier is recognized internationally as a leader who has guided his company along a value-creating path towards marketed products, and is a regular invited speaker at international research and biotechnology conferences.

Company Profile:
ChemGenex harnesses its scientific expertise and understanding of the genetic basis of disease not only to discover novel targets and mechanisms, but to discover and develop unique personalized medicine solutions to improve patient outcomes. The company was founded upon a deep understanding of the molecular mechanisms and genetic basis of complex diseases. ChemGenex has a strong track record in the identification of novel targets involved in diseases ranging from diabetes and depression through to inflammation and cancer. Just as we understand that genetic diversity affects physical attributes, it is clear that our genes also dictate the way our bodies respond to environmental challenges, diseases and even medicines. This understanding has led to the conclusion that for complex diseases the “one size fits all” pharmaceutical model has significant limitations.  ChemGenex believes that these limitations can be overcome by personalized medicine solutions based on an inclusive understanding of genetics from cause to treatment of disease.

CEOCFO: Dr. Collier, will you tell us about your vision for the company?
Dr. Collier: “Our vision from the beginning was to build a fully integrated pharmaceutical company. Since 1997 when we started, we have built the company through partnering, mergers and acquisitions continually expanding our technology base and focusing on clinical outcomes. The early vision was to use the genomics skills we have and the access to unparalleled collections of human DNA databases to take advantage of individuals’ genetic variability to not only help to discover new targets, but eventually to use that variability to improve therapeutic outcomes for patients.”

CEOCFO: What is ChemGenex doing today?
Dr. Collier: “We have been able to build on that base and concentrate on a number of new targets that we have developed in a range of disease areas from diabetes, obesity, depression and anxiety and oncology. In June of 2004 we expanded through a merger that brought in clinical and preclinical expertise and now we have the ability to take our discoveries right through to clinic. In oncology, we have two late stage clinical programs, in Phase II and III in chronic myeloid leukemia and a range of solid tumors. In some of the clinical programs, we are taking advantage of genetic variability to improve treatment. Our drug Quinamed®, is metabolized by the NAT2 enzyme in the body. The rate of metabolism of the drug has implications on side effects and using genotyping we have been able to stratify patients as slow or fast metabolizers of the drug, and tailor drug dosing to minimize the side effects and maximize clinical outcomes. This is a classic example of how personalized medicine can be used to improve treatment. We are in stage II development now at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center in Tennessee.”

CEOCFO: Is there much work done in the genetic variability area?
Dr. Collier: “It is quite well accepted that this whole era of personalized medicine is showing the way to the future. Most pharmaceutical companies recognize this, most opinion leaders recognize this, and there is an enormous amount of work done to see how we can harness the genetic variability to improve patient outcomes. The problem is that there are not very many examples in the clinic yet. It is a complex issue and it will be some time before the real benefits of personalized medicine are realized. Our program with Quinamed® and prostate cancer is one of the very few examples that are actually in the clinic using the generic variability as a way to improve therapeutic outcome.”

CEOCFO: How have you decided on which areas to focus?
Dr. Collier: “Our focus has always been the underlying genetic basis of disease progression and treatment. Originally, this focus was manifest in our strong target discovery programs in diabetes, obesity and depression. These programs are ongoing and have produced several targets, which have been licensed to pharmaceutical companies for further development. As we expanded our operations towards the clinic it became increasingly clear that cancer was the disease in which we could make the most progress, and assist the most patients in the short term. So it has been a logical evolution for us to move into the development of personalized anti-cancer medicines that reflect the underlying genetic complexities.”

CEOCFO: What is happening with your Ceflatonin®?
Dr. Collier: “Ceflatonin® is very exciting, because it is highly effective in treating myeloid leukemia (CML). Recent clinical data shows that treatment with Ceflatonin® not only halted, but reversed disease progression in some CML patients from accelerated phase back to chronic phase. Gleevec®, the current first-line treatment of CML can result in genetic mutations causing resistance and disease progression in a significant proportion of CML patients and our clinical data suggests that Ceflatonin® may offer new hope to such patients. We are delighted to have world opinion leaders such as Dr Hagop Kantarjian from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston working with us in the clinical development, and are hopeful that we will be able to move quickly into registration trials.”

CEOCFO: Will you tell us about the financial picture of the company?
Dr. Collier: “We are in a strong position. We have a strong record of establishing and maintaining alliances with pharmaceutical industry partners to share the costs and risk associated with early stage disease target discovery and validation programs. Our discovery R&D costs are largely offset by these partnerships that still offer us excellent royalty opportunities. On the clinical front we have brought on some key consultants to help us develop our clinical management team. We think we have done this effectively and without spending too much money. At present levels we have enough cash to last until late 2006, which should see us achieve major milestones in our later stage clinical programs.”

CEOCFO: You are listed on NASDAQ now; how does that change the company?
Dr. Collier: “We started as an Australian company and by expanding into the NASDAQ small-cap market we have reached the largest biotechnology market in the world. The exposure in the U.S. opens the opportunities to access U.S. capital and to look at other opportunities throughout the U.S., so this was a significant step in the development of the company into a global biotechnology company.”

CEOCFO: In closing, why should potential investors be interested?
Dr. Collier: “ChemGenex is a balanced investment opportunity with two late stage clinical candidates in major markets, a strong R&D base that has been developed through alliances with pharmaceutical industry partners, and an experienced and passionate management team. The coming six months should see us reach a number of major milestones including the completion of phase 2 trials and several other exciting opportunities. We also have a third anti-cancer compound that will be ready to go in the clinic at the end of 2006. Adding to that, our listing on the NASDAQ and a significant R&D platform that is being accessed by pharmaceutical companies around the world really puts us in a strong position not only for short-term growth, but also for long-term growth.”


Any reproduction or further distribution of this article without the express written consent of is prohibited.

“Our program with Quinamed® and prostate cancer is one of the very few examples that are actually in the clinic using the generic variability as a way to improve therapeutic outcome.” - Greg Collier, Ph.D.


To view Releases highlight & left click on the company name! does not purchase or make
recommendation on stocks based on the interviews published.