New Company to Advance Research into Made-in-Canada Therapy for Patients with Chronic Pain
June 4, 2020 - adMare BioInnovations, Canada's Global Life Sciences Venture, along with partners McGill University and AmorChem II Fund l.p., a leading early-stage venture capital fund, is advancing made-in-Canada research that aims to provide new opiate-sparing pain-relieving drugs.
adMare and AmorChem have created a new company, Neurasic Therapeutics, based on breakthrough research from Dr. Philippe Séguéla, professor of neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal, that was validated and further advanced by adMare BioInnovations. Dr. Séguéla is a world-expert in ion channel biology and molecular pharmacology. His research lab at the Montreal Neurological Institute (the Neuro) is renowned for investigating genes, cells and circuits involved in pain perception and analgesia.
Neurasic's potential drug therapy targets acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs), a gene family of neuronal receptors activated by protons that play a role in multiple neurological disorders. Early research has shown that blocking ASICs elicits analgesia (the inability to feel pain) in chronic pain conditions, therefore eliminating the need for opiate-based drugs. Dr. Séguéla and adMare have developed a proprietary method to identify molecules that block the ASICs.
"This drug development program is an excellent example of academic research that has the potential to provide the best-in-class treatments that patients need. adMare is proud to have been able to validate and advance this work, generate valuable IP and data, and bring together McGill and AmorChem to create a very commercially-attractive opportunity," says Gordon C. McCauley, President and CEO of adMare BioInnovations. "We are excited to maximize the potential of Dr. Séguéla's discoveries on ASICs, along with the return on public investment in research."
"We have been following Dr. Séguéla's work for a few years and see much promise in his research. The validation provided by the collaboration with adMare was an important factor in our decision to invest in this platform. We believe that Neurasic will benefit greatly from our three groups' combined expertise in early-stage investing and preclinical development in this field," added Maxime Ranger, General Partner at AmorChem and President of Neurasic.
"Early stage investing requires important financial resources and sustained collaborative work. It is therefore crucial to foster ties between Canadian stakeholders, and AmorChem is happy to partner with adMare and Dr. Séguéla in building a Canadian anchor company in the pain space. AmorChem is particularly pleased to be providing Neurasic with Maxime Ranger's solid start-up management experience," says Inès Holzbaur, Managing Partner at AmorChem.
Dr. Guy Rouleau, CEO, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) added, "Dr. Séguéla and I are thrilled with the launch of Neurasic Therapeutics. This drug development program paves the way towards innovative strategies to reverse the opioid crisis impacting Canadians countrywide. The creation of Neurasic also spearheads our vision that the Neuro could leverage its position as an open science institute to build attractive business models for its high-value technologies. Neurasic was enabled by NeuroSphere, McGill's neuroscience accelerator funded through HBHL, which was instrumental in driving this new endeavour and securing key partnerships to make this vision a reality."
"Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives (HBHL) is very proud to be part of Dr. Séguéla's efforts to find safer alternatives to opioids through Neurasic Therapeutics," said Krystle van Hoof, Managing Director and CEO, HBHL. "We're dedicated to fueling neuroscience discoveries and innovations at McGill, and NeuroSphere, our neuroscience accelerator, allows HBHL to proactively ensure that critical medical breakthroughs reach patients. We will continue to proudly support Dr. Séguéla and Neurasic in their efforts, and will build on this first success to help advance other ground-breaking innovations in the near future."
For more information on Neurasic Therapeutics, visit www.neurasictherapeutics.com.
adMare BioInnovations is Canada's Global Life Sciences Venture, building the Canadian life sciences industry from sea to sea. We do this by sourcing therapeutically and commercially promising research from leading academic and biotech partners to create new companies of scale, providing specialized expertise and infrastructure to help existing companies scale up, and driving the growth of those companies into Canadian anchors by training the next generation of highly-qualified personnel. admarebio.com
AmorChem is a leading early stage venture capital fund, investing ground-breaking academic innovation. The AmorChem team utilizes its deep understanding of fundamental science to uncover its therapeutic potential and focuses its core expertise in translational research to accelerate therapeutic drug discovery and development across a broad spectrum of disease areas. The fund capitalises on both its venture capital expertise and its entrepreneurial experience to spark the creation of start-up companies and help shape them into the next generation of biotech companies. amorchem.com
About The Neuro
The Neuro – The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – is a world-leading destination for brain research and advanced patient care. Since its founding in 1934 by renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield, The Neuro has grown to be the largest specialized neuroscience research and clinical center in Canada, and one of the largest in the world. The seamless integration of research, patient care, and training of the world's top minds make The Neuro uniquely positioned to have a significant impact on the understanding and treatment of nervous system disorders. In 2016, The Neuro became the first institute in the world to fully embrace the Open Science philosophy, creating the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute. The Montreal Neurological Institute is a McGill University research and teaching institute. The Montreal Neurological Hospital is part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. theneuro.ca
About Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives
Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives (HBHL) aims to accelerate translational discoveries and create a global centre of excellence in neuroinformatics at McGill University. Supported by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, Quebec's Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation and the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQS, FRQSC and FRQNT), HBHL builds on McGill's scientific excellence and global leadership in areas of neuroscience that hold great promise for delivering implementable, clinically effective outcomes in brain and mental health. mcgill.ca/hbhl