AmorChem, an early-stage life sciences fund managed by Canadian venture capital firm GeneChem, has entered into an agreement with Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont and Univalor to participate in the financing of research at the Personalized Cancer ImmunoTherapy Program. The program, which is sponsored by Genome Canada, focuses on the development and clinical implementation of innovative personalized anti-cancer immunotherapies. The investment is AmorChem’s second in the program. Earlier in 2015, the fund partnered with the University of Waterloo on a mucoadhesive nanotechnology project.
AmorChem l.p. Invests In Projects At The Personalized Cancer Immunotherapy Program
Montréal, April 7th 2015 – AmorChem is very proud to announce that it has entered into an agreement with Hôpital Maisonneuve—Rosemont (HMR) and Univalor to participate in the financing of R&D activities at the Personalized Cancer ImmunoTherapy Program (PCITP). This is the second AmorChem financing for the PCITP, the first being the product of an existing agreement with HMR, the Université of Montréal (UdeM), Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer and its Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer — Commercialization of Research (IRICoR).
The PCITP is funded by Genome Canada’s Large—Scale Applied Research Project Competition in Genomics and Personalized Health based on the work of Dr. Claude Perreault, principal investigator at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the UdeM, professor at UdeM, and haematologist at HMR and Dr. Denis—Claude Roy, associate investigator at IRIC, scientific director of the HMR Research Centre and director of the HMR Cellular Therapy Laboratory as well as professor at UdeM. This program’s principal focus is the development and clinical implementation of innovative personalized anti—cancer immunotherapies and of tools to prevent Graft— vs—Host—Disease (GvHD).
‘’This financing of the PCITP by AmorChem aims at supporting the development of a genetic test allowing clinicians to select the best donor and thus reducing the incidence of GvHD and consequently increasing the frequency and safety of bone marrow transplantation’’ says Inès Holzbaur, general partner at AmorChem. “It is the second project we finance at the PCITP and we really appreciate the core expertise of the group.”
“The panel of biomarkers identified by Dr. Perreault and his team is very promising” says Jacques Simoneau, President and CEO of Univalor. “It may have a real impact on the life of patients undergoing a bone marrow transplant. Univalor is proud to be associated to this excellent academic research that fulfills an unmet medical need”.
Hematologic cancers (HCs) affect 16,000 Canadians per year. Overall, 50% develop resistance to chemotherapy. Currently, in these chemo—resistant patients, bone—marrow transplantation is the sole curative treatment. Unfortunately, a complication of bone—marrow transplantation is GvHD, the devastating disease whereby the donor’s cells attack the patient’s tissues, causing a number of very serious, sometimes deadly symptoms which greatly complicate the treatment of the patients. The occurrence of GvHD is currently unpredictable and the test being developed by Drs Perreault and Roy aims at determining the risk of a patient developing GvHD.
Beyond bone marrow transplantation, however, it is important to continue to develop therapeutic strategies to treat these patients. The first PCTIP project financed by AmorChem aims at treating HC using personalized immunotherapy, more specifically, adoptive T—cell immunotherapy. A donor’s T—cells are exposed to a patient’s minor histocompatibility antigens (MiHAs). These primed T—cells are then given back to the patient and attack tumor cells by recruiting the patient’s immune system. It is hoped that using specific MiHAs in T—cell priming will increase the effectiveness of immunotherapy by boosting the anti—tumor immune response and making it less variable.
‘’The initial MiHA project that AmorChem helped financing is progressing rapidly. Over 400 MiHAs have been identified so far, of which 36 have been prioritized for an initial clinical trial where their applicability will be tested’’ says Elizabeth Douville, general partner at AmorChem.
“IRICoR’s seed investment in developing the MiHA’s project was crucial for the establishment of the PCITP and for our partnership with AmorChem, which now includes a number of projects in addition to the MiHA’s initiative,” commented Michel Bouvier, President and CEO of IRICoR and CEO of IRIC. “We look forward to working with AmorChem and Univalor to rapidly commercialize this innovative immunotherapy opportunity.”
Personalized Cancer ImmunoTherapy Program The Personalized Cancer ImmunoTherapy Program (PCITP) is an initiative born from funds awarded through the Genome Canada (in partnership with Genome Quebec and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) Large—Scale Applied Research Project Competition in Genomics and Personalized Health. This competition was established to fund large—scale projects for which the proposed “omic” R&D and technologies would translate in better patient care while improving the cost—effectiveness of the health— care system. Our principal focus is the development and clinical implementation of innovative personalized anti—cancer immunotherapies, an entirely different approach to treating cancer. www.pcitp.org
About AmorChem L.P. AmorChem L.P. is a venture capital fund located in Montreal focused on investing in promising life science projects originating from Quebec—based universities and research centres. The principal limited partners of this fund are Investissement—Québec, FIER Partenaires, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Merck & Co. This fund is the latest addition to the GeneChem portfolio of funds, a fund manager in existence since 1997. AmorChem’s innovative business model involves financing research—stage projects to enable them to reach pre—clinical proof—of—concept (“POC”) in a semi—virtual mode within 18—24 months. The fund seeks to generate returns through a two—pronged exit strategy: sell projects having reached POC to large biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies; or bundle them into new spin—out companies. AmorChem using external resources will manage the projects. To that effect, AmorChem has established a strategic partnership with the Biotechnology Research Institute in order to access its R&D platforms. In addition, to enabling projects requiring small molecules as tools or drug leads, AmorChem has founded NuChem Therapeutics Inc., a medicinal chemistry contract—research company. For more information: www.amorchem.com
About the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer An ultra—modern research hub and training centre located in the heart of the Université de Montreal, the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) was created in 2003 to shed light on the mechanisms of cancer and discover new, more effective therapies to counter this disease. IRIC operates according to a model that is unique in Canada. Its innovative approach to research has already led to discoveries that will, over the coming years, have a significant impact on the fight against cancer. For more information: www.iric.ca
About Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer — Commercialization of Research The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer — Commercialization of Research (IRICoR) is a not— for—profit drug discovery and commercialization centre based at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal (UdeM). IRICoR’s main objective is to rapidly translate highly innovative scientific projects from IRIC, UdeM and various centres into high value novel therapies in oncology, immunology and related indications through strong partnerships with the private sector — thereby efficiently bridging the innovation translation gap between early stage academic research and industry. For more information: www.iricor.ca
About Univalor Univalor is a university technology transfer organization. Since 2001, it has been commercializing scientific findings and technological innovations emanating from some 2,600 researchers at the Université de Montréal and its affiliated health centres, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal. By creating links between the university and the business community, Univalor helps make businesses more competitive, generate revenue for research and, most importantly, enrich society. For more information: www.univalor.ca
About Université de Montréal The 64,000 students and professors associated with Université de Montréal and its affiliated schools for commerce (HEC Montréal) and engineering (École Polytechnique) are recognized for the high volume and quality of their research and for their international profile. Ten per cent of the university’s students are from outside Canada, and 40% of research published by the university’s community involves international collaboration. Within Canada, Université de Montréal’s excellence is recognized by the awarding of half a billion dollars in funding; at an international level, it is consistently placed within the top 150 institutions in major world research rankings. For more informationwww.umontreal.ca
About Hopital—Maisonneuve—Rosemont Affiliated with Université de Montréal, Hôpital Maisonneuve—Rosemont (HMR) is a major institution where healthcare, teaching and medical research have converged since 1954. Its 5,500 employees and physicians, together with its 500 volunteers, work with the sizeable population of Montréal’s East—End and beyond, as the hospital also has a regional and extended regional mandate. HMR is home to a renowned research centre with four nationally and internationally recognized areas of expertise: Immuno—Oncology, Vision Health, Nephrology and Cellular Therapy. For more information: www.maisonneuve—rosemont.org
Media contacts for AmorChem: Elizabeth Douville General Partner 514—849—6358 email@example.com Inès Holzbaur General Partner 514—849—7454 firstname.lastname@example.org
Business development contact for AmorChem: John Clement General Partner 514—849—6477 (o) ; 514—887—7696 (c) email@example.com
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