VANCOUVER and TORONTO, Canada (November 3, 2016) — Zucara Therapeutics Inc., a pre-clinical life sciences company advancing a novel long-term therapeutic approach to prevent hypoglycemia in patients with diabetes, announced it has received a $525,000 investment from Canadian partners: Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator, The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) and MaRS Innovation (MI).
This unique deal brings together three organizations mandated with enabling the growth of Canada's health sciences sector. Each partner brings its respective strengths to the table: capital, specialized scientific infrastructure for drug development, and commercial expertise – to collectively advance this novel Canadian-developed technology and company, building on Canada's long history of diabetes innovation that started with discoveries made by Banting and Best almost 100 years ago.
"We are excited to build upon the momentum from our recent licensing of a set of compounds from CDRD, and now we have the resources to select and develop our lead drug candidate," said Michael Midmer, Zucara's CEO. "This important funding provides the runway for the company to reach our next value-creating milestones, advance our program to the next level, and position us for larger rounds of investment."
Natalie Dakers, President and CEO of Accel-Rx added, "We are delighted to be collaborating with CDRD and MI on the investment and support of Zucara as we believe their technology has the potential to bring about a paradigm shift in the management of diabetes. It is also a great example of how organizations across the country can come together to effectively nurture early-stage companies and re-invigorate our national health sciences ecosystem."
Zucara is developing the first once-daily therapeutic to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in patients with diabetes. This pre-clinical technology is directed at regulating a hormone in the pancreas called somatostatin which in Type 1 diabetes is not properly controlled. It has demonstrated potential to specifically block somatostatin type 2 receptors in the pancreas thereby preventing hypoglycemia and restoring natural glucose levels in the blood. Zucara's method offers a clear advantage to patients as a preventative measure whereas current drug therapies can only rescue a patient already experiencing potentially dangerous low blood sugar.
Further validation of Zucara's lead drug candidate and in vivo studies are ongoing. The company will be seeking Series A funding in early 2017 to take the company through clinical trials which are expected to start in 2018.
About Zucara Therapeutics Inc.
Zucara Therapeutics, a spin-off of The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) and MaRS Innovation (MI), is developing the first drug therapy to prevent hypoglycemia in people with diabetes. The Company's first-in-class therapeutic is aimed at inhibiting a hormone in the pancreas called somatostatin, which does not function properly in Type 1 diabetes. Preventing hypoglycemia will dramatically change diabetes disease management, improving both patient health and quality of life. http://www.zucara.ca
Accel-Rx is Canada's health innovation accelerator fund providing seed capital and expertise to promising early-stage companies developing therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices in order to help them grow and scale. Our rigorous screening process and funding match requirement provides validation for our investments while our custom programs and resources give our companies the best chance of success.
Accel-Rx provides seed funding together with founding partner, BDC Capital, and is a federal Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR). To learn more, visit us at http://www.accel-rx.com or follow us on Twitter at @Accel_Rx.
About The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)
CDRD is Canada's national drug development and commercialization centre working in partnership with academia, industry, government and foundations. CDRD provides the specialized expertise and infrastructure to identify, validate and advance promising discoveries, and transform them into commercially viable investment opportunities for the private sector — and ultimately into new therapies for patients. Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence Program has recognized CDRD as a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR). http://www.cdrd.ca
About MaRS Innovation
MaRS Innovation (MI) is the commercialization agent for 15 of Ontario's leading academic institutions. It provides investors and licensees with a single point to access the technology assets emerging from MI's members, who receive over a billion dollars in annual research and development funding. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, and by its members, MI is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into commercial opportunities through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation. Follow us on Twitter @marsinnovation.