AmorChem and Univalor team up with Dr. Marc Prentki to discover new drugs against diabetes.
Montreal, Quebec – April 18, 2013 – AmorChem and Univalor are proud to announce a new project focused on discovering drugs directed against a novel target for type 2 diabetes called ABHD6. The project centers on pioneering work accomplished by Dr. Marc Prentki’s team at the Montreal Diabetes Centre and the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM). NuChem Therapeutics Inc. (a subsidiary of AmorChem) will carry out the chemistry work.
Diabetes is a disease which affects over 366 million people worldwide. It is a chronic disease with important side effects affecting the kidneys, as well as the cardiovascular and peripheral nervous systems. Globally, eight people die every minute from the consequences of diabetes. Doctors need a large selection of treatment modalities to treat their patients over the long term. The modulation of the target in this project allows for the glucose-sensitive control of insulin secretion, which helps reduce the risk of patients being exposed to unnecessarily high levels of insulin.
“We are very happy to be investing in the work of Dr. Prentki, whose seminal discoveries on this new target could prove very interesting to pharmaceutical companies,” says Inès Holzbaur, General Partner at AmorChem. “This project will yield new molecules acting through a novel target in a field where innovation is very well received; it is a promising opportunity for AmorChem.”
This investment and the partnership that results have been achieved through Univalor, the research commercialization office affiliated with Université de Montréal. “This is the fourth project that we carry out in collaboration with Univalor,” said Élizabeth Douville, Senior Associate at AmorChem. “It is valuable business partnership for us and we are pleased to see our relationship solidify.”
“We are delighted to have been able to identify a financial partner capable of supporting the research of Dr. Prentki in order to counter the ravages of a disease that is rapidly growing in the world, said Jacques Simoneau, Univalor’s President and CEO. When we facilitate this type of investment and partnership between business and academia, it is the entire society that benefits.”
“This new alliance demonstrates once again the extremely important role basic research plays in drug discovery and in improving the health of patients with serious diseases,” notes Jacques Turgeon, Director of the CRCHUM.
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. 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 preclinical 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.
Univalor (www.univalor.ca) is a university technology transfer organization. For over 10 years, it has been commercializing the scientific discoveries and technological innovations of some 2,000 researchers from the Université de Montréal (UdeM) and its affiliated health centres, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal. By transferring research-based discoveries and innovations from universities to industry, Univalor helps to make companies more competitive, generate revenue for additional research and, in particular, benefit society as a whole.
The CRCHUM (www.crchum.qc.ca) is the research arm of the CHUM. Its research activities directly contribute to the hospital’s mission: health care, teaching, research, health promotion and technology evaluation. The CRCHUM improves the health of adults through a high-quality academic research continuum which, by improving our understanding of etiological and pathogenic mechanisms, fosters the development, implementation and assessment of new preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. The CRCHUM provides a training environment to ensure the development of new generations of researchers committed to research excellence.
ABOUT NUCHEM THERAPEUTICS INC.
NuChem Therapeutics Inc. (www.nuchemtherapeutics.com) is a medicinal chemistry contract-research company wholly-owned 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).
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