Clinical Stage Biotechnology Company Receives Prize in the Pharma & Biotech Category
April 12, 2017 (Montreal, QC and Toronto, ON) – ExCellThera’s win at the 2017 MaRS HealthKick Challenge is validation from the investor community that ExCellThera is doing exciting work that will have an impact on health care and the treatment of patients with leukemia and other malignant blood disorders. The CAD $20,000 prize, awarded on April 5, was given to Dr. Peter Zandstra, Co-Scientific Founder and Chief Technology Officer at ExCellThera, following his pitch to global investors at the event in Toronto, Canada.
“The ExCellThera team is honoured to have been selected, and opportunities like these will be key to the future growth of the company,” says Dr. Peter Zandstra. “The award is reflective of the opportunities that lie ahead for ExCellThera as it enters an inflexion point and starts to anticipate clinical trial results and consider its path for future growth.”
ExCellThera was co-founded by Drs. Zandstra, Guy Sauvageau (CEO and Chief Scientific Officer) and Anne Marinier (Chief Chemist). The company’s lead product, ECT-001, combines two innovations: the novel small molecule UM171, which rapidly expands long-term hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), and a unique bioreactor technology that reduces stem cell inhibitors and presents a low-cost manufacturing solution.
The number of stem cells found in a single well-matched umbilical cord is insufficient for adult transplants. ExCellThera’s proprietary technology increases the amount of stem and progenitor cells significantly, making umbilical cord blood a suitable option and allowing more adult patients to be treated for blood cancers and disorders.
ExCellThera started its Phase I/II clinical trial of ECT-001 in 2016, testing the safety and efficacy of ECT-001 for the expansion of HSCs in patients who require stem cell transplantation for the treatment of leukemia and other malignant blood disorders, but who lack suitable donors. The trial is expected to finish by the end of 2017. The ExCellThera leadership team is now planning for subsequent clinical trials, identifying partners and starting the process of securing series A funding.
This year’s third annual MaRS HealthKick Challenge allowed Canada’s top early-stage and emerging growth ventures in medical devices, pharma and biotech, and digital health to pitch to global investors for the chance to win one of three CAD $20,000 cash prizes.
ExCellThera is a clinical stage biotechnology company that is focused on developing robust and cost-effective ways of growing blood stem cells for therapeutic use. ExCellThera is a spin-off company launched by the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer – Commercialization of Research (IRICoR), and CCRM. It is based on novel proprietary intellectual property related to the expansion of stem cells developed by Dr. Guy Sauvageau (Université de Montréal’s Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC)) and Dr. Peter Zandstra (University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering). The company launched in June 2015 and is developing a range of products, including gene therapy applications, based on its stem cell expansion technology. Visit www.excellthera.ca for more information.
About the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer — Commercialization of Research
The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer — Commercialization of Research (IRICoR) is a not-for-profit drug discovery and commercialization centre based at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal (UdeM). IRICoR’s main objective is to rapidly translate highly innovative scientific projects from IRIC, UdeM and various centres into high value novel therapies in oncology, immunology and related indications through strong partnerships with the private sector — thereby efficiently bridging the innovation translation gap between early stage academic research and industry. For more information, visit www.iricor.ca.
CCRM, a Canadian not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Canada, the province of Ontario, and leading academic and industry partners, supports the development of regenerative medicines and associated enabling technologies, with a specific focus on cell and gene therapy. A network of researchers, leading companies, strategic investors and entrepreneurs, CCRM aims to accelerate the translation of scientific discovery into marketable products for patients with specialized teams, funding and infrastructure. CCRM is the commercialization partner of the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the University of Toronto’s Medicine by Design. CCRM is hosted by the University of Toronto. Visit us at www.ccrm.ca.