Agreement signed as part of Ontario's life sciences trade mission to Israel TEL AVIV and TORONTO (May 16, 2016) – BioLineRx Ltd. a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to identifying, in-licensing and developing promising…
“The first disclosed grant under Merck & Co. Inc.’s Canadian translational initiative will bolster the ability of macrocycle-based Encycle Therapeutics Inc. to conduct lead optimization of its integrin [a4b7,] inhibitors for inflammatory bowel disease,” writes Michael J. Haas in SciBX’s feature on the partnership, “Merck Encycles through Canada.” The article appears in the publication’s December 4, 2014 issue.
Read the Encycle press release that prompted this article.
The article explores the current grant partnership between Merck, Encycle Therapeutics, MaRS Innovation, the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer–Commercialization of Research (IRICoR), and the Université de Montréal’s Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), and takes an inside look at the company’s progress to date.
Here’s an excerpt:
Encycle is a spinout from the University of Toronto founded in 2012 to solve the primary challenges of macrocycle drugs–poor cell penetration and low oral availability.
According to Parimal Nathwani, the company was selected by MaRS Innovation and IRICoR (Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer–Commercialization of Research), two of the three agencies originally tasked with disbursement and management of the Merck fund, because it was a good match with IRIC’s competencies. The third agency, The Centre for Drug Research and Development, is not involved in this deal. IRICoR is the commercialization arm of IRIC.
“Encycle has a good chemistry platform and nice early discovery work on its integrin [a4b7,] inhibitor program, which is now at the point where it needs to move through lead optimization,” said Nathwani. “IRIC scientists have strong expertise in medicinal chemistry and have worked with industry on optimization, pharmacokinetics, toxicity and other preclinical studies, so they can provide Encycle with pharma-grade optimization.”
Vasomune Therapeutics, a MaRS Innovation start-up company from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s Sunnybrook Research Institute, was featured in a BioCentury emerging company profile by Michael J. Haas.
The company is currently raising a Series A financing round and recently closed a seed investment with Genome Canada and an unnamed industry partner. MaRS Innovation also contributed a third of the investment, bringing the round’s total to $1.5 million.
Haas’ profile, “Vasomune: Lassoing Tie2,” is available behind a paywall on the BioCentury website.
Here’s a short excerpt:
Agonizing Tie2 could restore vascular integrity and limit tissue damage in kidney injury, but bringing together the four copies needed to activate the receptor is a job too big for small molecules or antibodies. Vasomune Therapeutics Inc. has shown its four-armed peptidomimetic, vasculotide, activates Tie2 and restores vascular integrity in [preclinical] models.
“Many renal diseases are ultimately characterized by a loss in vascular integrity that damages tubules in the kidney,” CEO Parimal Nathwani said. “Our idea is to use vasculotide to fix the problem and restore normal vascular integrity before it gets out of control.”
Mount Sinai’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute has developed a new test that could make a big difference to men facing infertility.
A study published in a leading international journal, Science Translational Medicine, details the discovery of a key biomarker that can pinpoint the cause of infertility without the need for invasive surgery.
About half a million Canadian men are infertile, according to clinician-research Dr. Keith Jarvi. As a urologist who treats men with infertility, he knows how valuable this simple, inexpensive test could be. “Testing a semen sample can be done in the doctor’s clinic as it’s noninvasive and much easier for the patient than surgery,” he says.
Dr. Jarvi directs the Murray Koffler Urologic Wellness Centre, is head of Urology, and associate scientist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. He is a professor of Surgery at University of Toronto.
MaRS Innovation, which commercializes discoveries made by University of Toronto hospitals and research institutes, is already working on the project, which Jarvi believes may lead to commercial tests within the next couple of years. [For more information, contact Barry Elkind].
Every six weeks, MaRS Innovation’s marketing and communications manager writes a guest post for the MaRS Discovery District blog profiling MI’s activities or one of our start-up companies. You can read the original post on the MaRS blog.
By offering early-stage funding in tandem with hands-on management, business development, mentorship and intellectual property protection strategy, MI acts as a commercialization agent for its members and researchers.
Earlier this year, the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada awarded MI $14.95 million to continue its mandate as a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR), matched by $25 million from membership fees and private sector investments.
So what does that success mean for MI’s ability to serve the needs of academic entrepreneurs based in Toronto?
Networks of Centres of Excellence recognizes strength of partnership between MI and its 16 member institutions
MaRS Innovation (MI), created in 2008, bridges the chasm between these early-stage technologies and successful start-up companies and licensable technologies. By offering early-stage funding in tandem with hands-on management, mentorship and IP strategy protection, MI acts as a commercialization agent for its 16 member institutions.
The Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) has recognized the increasing strength of this novel partnership by awarding MI $14.95 million in funding through the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program.