MONTRÉAL–(BUSINESS WIRE)– AmorChem II is proud to announce the closing of its first financing of a
university project. The venture capital fund has reached an agreement
with Univalor, Dr Éric Lécuyer of the Montreal Clinical Research
Institute (“IRCM”), Dr. Mathieu Blanchette and Dr. Jérôme Waldispühl of
McGill University to collaborate on a project focusing on short
sequences of RNA that direct intracellular traffic (“RNA Zipcodes”).
“Recent years have seen a resurgence in the development of tools and
therapeutic approaches using nucleotides in general and RNA in
particular. Examples of these include antisense molecules, strategies
employing mRNA and CRISPR approaches. However, their delivery to the
correct subcellular compartment and their retention within the cell
still represent some of the biggest challenges faced by the industry.
The RNA Zipcodes identified as part of the work accomplished by these
three dynamic researchers will be key in optimizing the intracellular
delivery process. As a result, they promise to address an increasing
need for the industry,” says Kevin McBride, PhD, CSO and Partner at
“This multidisciplinary trio from two Quebec universities is an
excellent example of successful inter-institutional co-operation. Dr.
Mathieu Blanchette and Dr. Jérôme Waldispühl, at McGill University, are
creating a bioinformatics platform able to identify and validate the RNA
Zipcodes, short sequences of RNA which, according to the observations
and biological analysis of Dr. Éric Lécuyer at the IRCM, would allow for
the precise delivery of oligonucleotides and other molecules in the
appropriate subcellular compartment or organelle. This would help the
therapeutic molecules to maximize their effect on the desired targets,”
adds Inès Holzbaur, PhD, Co-founder and Managing Partner at AmorChem.
“Our success is defined by our ability to identify breakthrough
technologies and to attract researchers with innovative ideas. It is
therefore particularly gratifying for us to finance such a promising and
crucial emerging technology through the first university investment in
our AmorChem II portfolio. Our intention is to follow our investment
strategy by first validating the technology and allowing it to mature
sufficiently to become the focus of a start-up company equipped to
maximize its success,” explains Elizabeth Douville, PhD, Co-founder and
Managing Partner at AmorChem.
“This RNA postal code initiative is an innovative technology of which we
are very proud. The collaboration between the various partners will
accelerate the implementation of the project and eventually offer
patients a new personalized and effective treatment,” add Tarik Möröy,
President and Scientific Director of the IRCM and Éric Lécuyer, Director
of the RNA Biology Research Unit at the IRCM.
“McGill’s excellent researchers and skilled partnership builders are
honored to be working closely with AmorChem II, Univalor and the MCRI to
advance this joint research venture,” says Sylvain Coulombe, Associate
Vice-Principal, Innovation and Partnerships (I+P), McGill University.
“This collaboration will allow all partners to gain a deeper
understanding of RNA sequencing with the goal of developing cutting-edge
approaches to emerging therapeutics.”
“The involvement of a business partner like AmorChem will accelerate the
development of this innovative technology, allowing it to propose
improved targeted solutions to answer unmet medical needs. These RNA
zipcodes can indeed have a true impact on patients’ health. This
partnership demonstrates the importance of the valorisation process in
the generation of tangible results that can contribute both an
improvement of treatment options and a meaningful economic impact,” says
Jacques Simoneau, CEO of Univalor.
is an early-stage, venture capital fund located in Montreal focused on
creating promising life science companies from technologies originating
primarily from Quebec-based universities and research centres. Launched
in 2011, the AmorChem fund model combines access to financial resources
with a virtual incubator structure that enables the rapid development
and commercialization of its technologies. The first fund (41.2M$) has
built a portfolio of 24 technologies and successfully transacted two
pharma exits as well as spun-out five companies. The attractiveness of
this seed fund model and the role it plays in the investment ecosystem
were highlighted in September 2017 with the launch of the AmorChem II
Fund, which now totals $53.7M.