ImStar Therapeutics Secures $1.8 Million Seed Financing to Pursue ALS TreatmentThursday, June 9, 2016
Vancouver, BC, June 9, 2016--(T-Net)--ImStar Therapeutics Inc, a BC-based biotechnology company today announced it has raised $1.8 million in seed financing.
Key investors include Accel-Rx, a national Health Sciences Accelerator and BDC Capital, the largest and most active early-stage technology venture investor in Canada, who each invested $500,000.
The remainder of the investment was made by AviTx, a private company dedicated to finding a treatment for ALS, and a group of private investors.
The proceeds enable ImStar to advance preclinical work on a promising new approach to treat ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) before moving on to clinic trials.
ImStar is developing treatments directed at a proprietary new therapeutic target for ALS referred to as TANA or TDP-43 related NF-kB activation.
Dr. Jean Pierre Julien, Professor and Senior Canada Research Chair in Neurodegeneration at Université Laval
The technology is based on the research of Dr. Jean Pierre Julien, Professor and Senior Canada Research Chair in Neurodegeneration at Université Laval. Dr. Julien has made important contributions to the current understanding of ALS pathogenesis. Treatments targeting the TANA pathway may also benefit other neurodegenerative conditions such as Frontotemporal Dementia and Parkinson's Disease.
Dan Wattier, chief executive officer for ImStar Therapeutics
“Our lead drug development program, IMS-088, is a novel compound designed to address this key immune system activation pathway involved in neurodegeneration,” said Dan Wattier, chief executive officer for ImStar Therapeutics.
“Our strategy is to get to human proof-of-concept. If the observed drug activity of IMS-088 were to translate to comparable efficacy in human clinical trials, this could represent a significant advance in the treatment of ALS.”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. “This investment will allow us to take our program to the next level through the expansion of our already successful development partnership with The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), which supported our application to Accel-Rx,” added Wattier.
“We were impressed with ImStar's management team and its lead drug development program,” said Natalie Dakers, president and CEO of Accel-Rx, a national accelerator that helps strengthen early-stage health sciences companies.
“There are a number of drugs in development that have the potential to slow disease progression but do not represent radical therapeutic advances for the disease.”“AviTx is delighted to join forces with ImStar and Professor Julien, whose seminal studies of the molecular biology of ALS have paved the way for a new generation of therapeutic studies. By implementing Prof. Julien's vision, ImStar has the potential to contribute significantly to the development of new ALS treatments,” said Dr. Robert Brown, cofounder of AviTx and a prominent researcher in ALS at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Avichai (Avi) Kremer, president of AviTx added, “As an ALS patient, I am constantly dreaming of the day that there will be an effective treatment for this deadly disease. I believe ImStar will get us closer to that day, and I am proud that AviTx could contribute to making it happen.“
Avi was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 29 while attending his first year at Harvard Business School. He is the founder of Prize4Life, a non-profit organization dedicated to the discovery of treatments and a cure for ALS.
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. To learn more visit www.imstartx.com or follow us on Twitter @imstartx.
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.
AviTx Inc. is a private company with the mission to identify and commercialize treatments for ALS. AviTx was formed in 2006 by Avichai “Avi” Kremer, a former MBA student at Harvard Business School, who following a diagnosis of ALS, established the non-profit organization Prize4Life. Kremer formed AviTx along with co-founders Dr. Robert H. Brown, Jr., Professor and Chair of Neurology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Daniel Isenberg, Professor of Entrepreneurship Practice at Babson College (formerly Professor at Harvard Business School), as a for-profit entity with the social mission to realize new therapies for ALS.
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
Dan Wattier, CEO
ImStar Therapeutics Inc.
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