VANCOUVER (June 8, 2016) — Accel-Rx, Canada’s national health sciences accelerator, and its partner BDC Capital, the largest and most active early-stage technology venture investor in Canada, today announced their investment in ImStar Therapeutics Inc., a company working on a promising new approach to treat ALS (Amylotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) patients. This is the third biotechnology start-up investment that Accel-Rx and BDC Capital have made together.
A total investment of $1.8 million was made in the company, including $500,000 from Accel-Rx and $500,000 from BDC Capital. This infusion of capital will allow ImStar to continue with the necessary preclinical work required before moving on to clinic trials, including pharmacology and dose ranging studies.
“We made this investment based on ImStar’s strong management team, the fact it is an intriguing target for a serious unmet medical need and the strong recommendation from The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), one of our Centers of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) partners” said Natalie Dakers, President and CEO of Accel-Rx. “Our mandate is to strengthen, enable and maximize health sciences company growth nationally. By investing in companies like ImStar Therapeutics, and supporting them with expertise and resources, we will create the next generation of strong anchor companies in Canada.”
ImStar Therapeutics’ technology is based on the research of Dr. Jean Pierre Julien, one of the most influential scientists in the field of ALS and neurodegenerative disease and currently the Senior Canada Research Chair in Neurodegeneration at Université Laval. ImStar is developing treatments directed at a proprietary new therapeutic target recently discovered for ALS called TANA or TDP-43 Associated NF-kB Activation.
“Our lead drug candidate, IMS-088, is designed to address this key immune system activation pathway involved in neurodegeneration,” said Dan Wattier, Chief Executive Officer of ImStar Therapeutics. “This investment will allow us to take our program to the next level through the expansion of our already successful development partnership with CDRD.”
There are approximately 30,000 individuals suffering from ALS in the United States and 450,000 worldwide. In Canada, there are approximately 3,000 patients living with this disease at any given time. The majority of patients die within 2 to 5 years following diagnosis.
Treatments targeting the TANA pathway may also benefit other neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, and frontotemporal dementia. “We’re investing in ImStar Therapeutics to stimulate Canadian pharmaceutical innovation and accelerate the development of its promising treatment,” said Michael Mahon, Director, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships, BDC Capital. “Enabling innovative technologies to move closer towards proof of concept and ultimately commercialization is one of the goals of our partnership with Accel-Rx.”
Accel-Rx is the only national health sciences accelerator to focus on helping the best high-impact start-ups in Canada take root, scale-up and attract investment so they can stay, grow and contribute to the economy. Accel-Rx helps to build companies by providing access to capital and international industry networks and bringing the right talent to companies at the right time. Accel-Rx is part of the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECRs) community, leveraging the expertise and pipeline of commercially promising companies coming out of the Canada’s CECRs be they therapeutics, medical devices or diagnostics. To learn more, visit us at www.accel-rx.com or follow us on Twitter at @Accel_Rx.
About BDC Capital
With more than $2 billion under management, BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC, serving as a strategic partner to Canada's most innovative and high potential firms. It offers a range of equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions to help Canadian entrepreneurs scale their businesses into global champions. To find out more, visit bdc.ca/capital.
About ImStar Therapeutics
ImStar Therapeutics is a private biotechnology company based in Vancouver and Quebec City developing a new approach to treat patients with ALS. The company is studying compounds directed at a proprietary new therapeutic target for ALS called TANA. ImStar’s lead drug candidate is IMS-088, a novel, small-molecule compound currently in preclinical development. candidate is IMS-088, a novel, small-molecule compound currently in preclinical development. For more information visit www.imstartx.com or follow us on Twitter @imstartx.
About the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)
CDRD is Canada’s fully-integrated national drug development and commercialization centre. It works in partnership with academia, industry, government and foundations, providing the specialized expertise and infrastructure to identify, validate and advance promising discoveries, and transform them into commercially viable investment opportunities for the private sector — and ultimately into new therapies for patients. To learn more visit www.cdrd.ca
Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator
Dan Wattier, CEO
ImStar Therapeutics Inc.