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MEDIA RELEASE 07 May

Australian biotech company Benitec Biopharma brings expert panel together for think-tank in Melbourne
Sydney based gene-silencing company Benitec Biopharma Ltd (ASX:BLT) is this week meeting in Melbourne with its international Chief Investigators' Group (CIG) over two days.

According to CEO Dr Peter French, Benitec Biopharma's gene-silencing platform technology has the potential to be the basis of the next wave of therapeutic products globally for diseases and conditions that are currently untreatable or poorly managed.

The technology is called DNA-directed RNA interference, or ddRNAi for short. It is capable of turning off any gene, particularly those causing or progressing disease. Now Benitec Biopharma and partners are applying it to the development of treatments for chronic and life-threatening human diseases.

The meeting brings together the company's scientific founders and key scientists who are overseeing its in-house and partnered programs.

The membership of the CIG includes international experts in the field of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics. The group includes:

  • Professor John Rossi - City of Hope Cancer Centre, CA, USA, presenting data on the use of ddRNAi in HIV/AIDS
  • Dr York Zhu - Biomics Biotechnologies, Nantong, China, presenting the latest results of the companies' joint hepatitis B treatment and curative program
  • Professor George Dickson - Royal Holloway, University of London, who is supervising the development of a ddRNAi-based treatment for the incurable genetic disease, Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy (OPMD)
  • Dr David Suhy - Tacere Therapeutics, CA, USA, leading Tacere's efforts to bring a ddRNAi-based treatment for hepatitis C to the clinic
  • Dr Josh McCarroll - Children's Cancer Institute Australia (CCIA) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, who is working with
  • Professor Maria Kavallaris to use ddRNAi to silence a gene responsible for making lung cancer resistant to chemotherapy treatment,
  • Dr Ken Reed - Benitec Biopharma's founding scientist will also contribute to the meeting his vast experience in the field of RNAi.

The Chair of the meeting is Dr Michael Graham - Benitec Biopharma's Chief Scientist and the discoverer of Benitec Biopharma's RNAi technology, who will also update the meeting on the company's program to develop a transformational long-lasting pain relief treatment for terminal cancer patients.

This coming together reflects both the broad collaborative approach to Benitec Biopharma's R&D and the range of clinical applications of its technology.

"The role of the CIG is to review the progress of Benitec's R&D programs and to ensure that the company's science remains at the cutting edge of the technology. Each member of the CIG plays an important ongoing role in ensuring Benitec's programs are scientifically rigorous and robust," said Benitec's CEO, Dr Peter French.

"That Benitec can bring together these scientific leaders is testament to the leading position that we hold in the RNAi field and underlines the significance of Benitec's potential to revolutionise human medicine."

Benitec Biopharma has a targeted pipeline of programs in significant therapeutic areas, most of which have multi-billion dollar potential. The company's scientific strategy is to demonstrate the applicability of its technology to a wide range of conditions with unmet clinical needs.

The company's commercial strategy is to realise shareholder value and extend the application of its technology through strategic partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

For more information on Benitec Biopharma Ltd, visit http://www.benitec.com or call +61 2 9555 6986.

Released for Benitec Biopharma by Dennis Rutzou Public Relations (www.drpr.com.au)
For further information please call Nicola Rutzou or Gill Asbury on (02) 9413 4244.

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