Australia's Coridon attracts billionaire investment

Andrew Forrest, billionaire CEO of the Australian mining company Fortescue Metals, has invested AU$3 million in the Ian Frazer-backed biotech company Coridon, which is developing DNA vaccines for a range of diseases. Frazer, who chairs Coridon, earned acclaim for his work on the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil.

Forrest's medical device company Allied Medical has raised more than AU$4 million and made the AU$3 million investment in exchange for a 38.6 percent stake in Coridon. It marks the devicemaker's first foray into biotech. The developer is formulating vaccines that both prevent and treat a wide variety of diseases like influenza, hepatitis C and cancer. Allied CEO Lee Rodne says his company was attracted to Coridon because of the possibility of a broad pipeline. "It's a platform technology, which means there is the ability to have more than one product line and more than one direction. For a biotech that's an important investment criteria."

Coridon has applied its technology to a proof of concept animal study targeting the herpes simplex virus 2. The company is working on preventative and therapeutic vaccines for the disease. 

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