AmorChem invests in the discovery of a novel cholesterol-lowering drug targeting PCSK9.
Montreal, Quebec – April 3, 2012– AmorChem is delighted to announce the closing of a deal with Univalor, the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (“IRCM”) and Dr. Nabil Seidah to pursue the discovery of a new drug to control cholesterol levels. This drug will hit a target called PCSK9, which, when blocked, leads to the significant lowering of cholesterol levels in the blood.
Dr. Nabil Seidah is a pioneer in the field of PCSK9 research and has been working for many years to develop a therapeutic application for the target. “AmorChem is honoured to be collaborating with Dr. Seidah, a world-class scientist and leader in PCSK9 research” explains Dr. Elizabeth Douville from AmorChem. “The importance of PCSK9 was certainly highlighted recently by several companies’ announcements at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Cardiology” she added.
PCSK9 is a well-known, validated target used in efforts to develop a new generation of drugs more efficacious than currently used products such as LipitorTM. This multi-billion dollar market is expected to continue to rise significantly over the next years.
“Univalor is enthusiastic about its first deal with AmorChem as it paves the way of a new partnership for enhancing value for our early stage portfolio. Available funds for seed investments are key in the chain of commercialization and represents a major challenge within the industry. We are happy to benefit from this new source of funding” said Laurence Rulleau, Vice-President business development at Univalor. “We are looking forward to providing AmorChem with many new opportunities.”
The work on the discovery of a small molecule inhibitor of PCSK9 will be done at NuChem Therapeutics inc., a medicinal chemistry contract research organisation, in collaboration with the researchers in Dr. Seidah’s labs at the IRCM.
“We are very enthusiastic about this collaboration and are planning to announce other deals with two other Quebec universities shortly” comments Dr. Inès Holzbaur, from AmorChem.
ABOUT AMORCHEM L.P.
AmorChem L.P. (www.amorchem.com) is a venture capital fund located in Montreal focused on investing in promising life science projects originating from Quebec-based universities and research centres. 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. The projects will be managed by AmorChem using external resources. 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.
ABOUT NUCHEM THERAPEUTICS INC.
NuChem Therapeutics Inc. (www.nuchemtherapeutics.com) is a medicinal chemistry contract-research company founded by AmorChem. With laboratories situated at the Biotechnology Research Institute in Montreal, the company is led by Dr. Daniel Guay, formerly of Merck Canada and the Institut de recherche en immunologie et cancérologie (IRIC).
Univalor, founded in 2001, is a limited partnership that offers to the industry the opportunity to increase their competitive advantage through access to leading edge scientific and engineering technologies developed by world class researchers from the Université de Montréal, its affiliated schools and most of its affiliated hospitals. The work of Univalor’s specialists is to showcase some of the most promising technologies developed by those researchers to potential partners looking for innovation in the areas of life sciences and human health, pure and applied sciences, engineering, information technology and management sciences. Please visit www.univalor.ca for more information.
ABOUT IRCM Founded in 1967, the IRCM (www.ircm.qc.ca) is currently comprised of 36 research units in various fields, namely immunity and viral infections, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, cancer, neurobiology and development, systems biology and medicinal chemistry. It also houses three specialized research clinics, seven core facilities and three research platforms with state-of-the-art equipment. The IRCM employs 425 people and is an independent institution affiliated with the Université de Montréal. The IRCM clinic is associated to the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM). The IRCM also maintains a long-standing association with McGill University.
Business Development Contact: John Clement
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