Hatchtech gets new VC backing for lice treatment trial

The company is developing a head-lice treatment as it eyes a market with $1 billion potential.

The University Of Melbourne has spawned a pharmaceutical company that will next year seek US Food and Drug Administration approval for its head lice treatment, potentially unlocking a $1 billion global market for its product.

Hatchtech, founded in 2001 by Melbourne University associate professor Vernon Bowles, has received $35.6 million in venture capital and grant financing so far, including today’s announcement of a $12.6 million investment from a group led by Sydney-based venture capital firm OneVentures Ltd.

“This will hopefully be the last round of financing,” OneVentures general partner Paul Kelly told DataRoom.

Hatchtech will use the funds to conduct final clinical trial of its head lice product, DeOvo, that kills lice and their eggs in a single 10-minute treatment. DeOvo may be sold as early as 2016 if it receives FDA approval, says Kelly, who estimates the global lice treatment market at between $700 million and $1 billion a year. The first market the company will target is the United States.

Hatchtech’s shareholders include OneVentures, Bowles, GBS Venture Partners, the University of Melbourne Endowment Trust, Queensland Biotechnology Funds, Uniseed, AustralianSuper and Blue Sky Venture Capital as well as a number of private investors.