Company Targets Cannabinoid-1 Receptors to Treat Range of Metabolic Disorders
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, 25 July, 2018 – Accel-Rx, Canada’s national health sciences accelerator, continues to build its portfolio of promising next-gen Canadian start-ups with an investment in Inversago Pharma.
Accel-Rx joins the $7 million Series A round, which also includes co-investors Genesys Capital, AmorChem, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation T1D Fund, Anges Québec Capital as well as a number of angel investors. This is Inversago’s first round of financing.
Inversago is developing new generations of CB1 receptor inverse agonists. First generation CB1 blockers were previously in development for a range of metabolic conditions but were permeable to the blood-brain barrier and targeted brain CB1 receptors. This brain occupancy led to psychiatric adverse events which caused the termination of all CB1 inverse agonist programs.
Inversago’s technology, based on the work by CB1 world expert, George Kunos at the National Institutes of Health (NIH/NIAAA), has demonstrated that peripherally restricted CB1 blockade in preclinical models provides an equivalent therapeutic potential to treat conditions such as Obesity, NASH, type-1 and 2 Diabetes, Liver & Lung Fibrosis, without causing the CNS or behavioural effects associated with the earlier generations of CB1 blockers. The proceeds from this first round of financing will allow the company to focus on its first target indication, Prader-Willi Syndrome, an orphan disease that often leads to obesity and type-2 diabetes, as well as explore potential in type-1 diabetes.
“Inversago’s technology could provide game-changing treatments for a number of metabolic diseases with few treatment options,” said Accel-Rx President and CEO, Natalie Dakers. “Their novel approach to resolving prohibitive concerns involving the brain associated with this class of drug meshes with our investment philosophy of backing companies whose solutions are both innovative and designed for broad impact.”
“We are pleased to join the Accel-Rx portfolio of innovative companies and are grateful for their help in securing the two lead investors and spearheading the diligence efforts,” said Inversago Founder and CEO, François Ravenelle. “Their involvement was instrumental in the success of this round and will enable the company to advance its program into clinical trials.”
Inversago is Accel-Rx’s tenth investment in a portfolio that includes disruptive treatments and technologies ranging from shock waves to treat coronary disease to smart-bandages for managing critically ill patients to cellular therapy platforms for cancer to novel approaches to neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Since 2014, Accel-Rx has screened over 200 early-stage companies from across Canada, selecting ten for investment and attracting an additional $44.6 million in co-investment thereby leveraging their initial capital outlay by more than 9X.
Accel-Rx, Canada’s national health sciences accelerator, identifies and supports promising early-stage companies developing therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices. In collaboration with founding partner BDC Capital, Accel-Rx provides seed capital and expertise to help fuel growth, creating a critical mass of investment-ready ventures equipped to become the next generation of anchor companies driving a globally competitive health sciences sector. Accel-Rx is a not-for-profit federal Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR). To learn more, visit us at accel-rx.com or follow us on Twitter at @Accel_Rx.
A specialized, preclinical-stage biotech company, Inversago Pharma develops new generations of peripherally-restricted cannabinoid-1 receptor (CB1) inverse agonists/ antagonists for the treatment of Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), Type-1 Diabetes (T1D), obesity and other metabolic disorders such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Inversago’s technology addresses limits associated with first generation CB1 blockers, allowing the Company to exploit their full medical potential. For more information, visit inversago.com.
For additional information, please contact:
Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator
Elayne Wandler, Director, Partnerships & Programs
Accel-Rx Health Sciences