TORONTO, ON (September 23, 2015) – Encycle Therapeutics, Inc., a University of Toronto spin-off company created in partnership with MaRS Innovation, announced today that it has completed a $2.85 million (CAD) financing led by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. through its venture capital arm, Takeda Ventures, Inc., with Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator, BDC Capital and MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund.
The funding will support ongoing development of Encycle’s unique nacellin platform chemistry and advance the company’s pipeline of novel therapeutics. It will also allow the company to build on research collaborations with several pharmaceutical companies and ultimately position it for a Series A transaction and/or additional strategic partnerships.
“Our proprietary chemistry has the potential to unlock a myriad of therapeutic avenues, including intracellular protein-protein interactions that cannot be targeted with conventional therapeutics,” said Dr. Jeffrey Coull, president and CEO of Encycle Therapeutics. “This funding is critical to enable the company to further explore the vast potential of our technology and to de-risk it to the extent that major transactions will be enabled.”
“Our goal is to make an impact on patients’ lives by turning science and technology into life-changing medicines. We are enthusiastic about Encycle’s technology and its potential in the context of ‘undruggable’ proteins,” said Dr. Ilan Zipkin, senior investment director at Takeda.
“Encycle’s growing momentum reflects MaRS Innovation’s efforts to shift the Canadian paradigm for technology transfer,” said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, chairman of the Encycle Therapeutics Board of Directors and president and CEO of MaRS Innovation. “This company began with promising research in Dr. Andrei Yudin’s laboratory at the University of Toronto. With crucial support from many players along the Ontario-Quebec life sciences corridor, MaRS Innovation collaborated with him to package and protect the technology, launch the company and hire experienced management. The success of this funding round bodes well for its future growth and success.”
About Encycle Therapeutics
Encycle Therapeutics is a start-up drug discovery company that is exploiting a novel synthetic method to generate “nacellins,” more drug-like cyclic peptides. The company has generated several scaffolds that are membrane permeable and orally bioavailable, such nacellins being ideal for targeting protein-protein interactions. Encycle’s lead program focuses on the development of a non-immunogenic, orally bioavailable inhibitor of integrin alpha-4-beta-7 for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. The company has also entered into several ongoing research collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies, including GSK, Merck, Pfizer and Takeda.
About the Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator
Accel-Rx is a new Canadian-focused health sciences accelerator supporting the creation and development of early-stage health sciences companies. Accel-Rx supports and invests in health sciences start-ups to maximize their potential and enable them to stay and grow in Canada and become the next generation of innovative health sciences anchor companies. Along with its partners, Accel-Rx invests seed capital and acts as a national connectivity hub for entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and technical and business experts. Accel-Rx is a National Center of Excellence for Commercialization and Research.
About the Investment Accelerator Fund
The Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) (Twitter: @MaRSIAF) invests in qualified emerging companies in Ontario using an equity-type instrument. As a critical component of the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE), the IAF supports the launch and development of innovative businesses in Ontario’s priority sectors of advanced materials and manufacturing, information technology, cleantech and life sciences. The IAF is funded by the Government of Ontario and delivered by MaRS.
Jeff Coull, CEO
101 College Street, Suite 314
Toronto, ON M5G 1L7