ILKOS THERAPEUTICS: a new biotech start-up in Québec

Servier Canada, CTI Life Sciences Fund and Fonds de solidarité FTQ each invest $7 million to create ILKOS THERAPEUTICS

Laval, September 26, 2016 – The Fonds de solidarité FTQ, CTI Life Sciences Fund and Servier Canada are pleased to announce the creation of ILKOS THERAPEUTICS Inc., a new Québec biotechnology firm tasked with the development of S42909, a compound indicated in the treatment of venous lower limb ulcers.

The Laval-based start-up is the result of a combined $21-million investment by the three equal partners.

According to Normand Chouinard, Executive Vice-President, Investments, at the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, “ILKOS THERAPEUTICS shows once again that Québec can succeed in the life sciences sector. Our quality R&D and service infrastructures, combined with the availability of capital, make Québec an optimal location for the development of new therapies. By leveraging collaboration between venture capital investors such as CTI Life Sciences and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, and Servier, a French organization with a long-standing presence in the province, Québec is at the vanguard of biomedical innovation. Innovation also involves coming up with new ways to invest by sharing the risk with pharmaceutical firms while capitalizing on their expertise.”

For Ken Pastor, General Partner at CTI Life Sciences Fund, “This initiative reflects our commitment to capitalizing on Québec expertise in order to implement a large-scale mobilizing project. We are pleased to have the Fonds de solidarité FTQ as a partner in this venture and are honoured that Groupe Servier has chosen to join us, particularly since this is the first time this international pharmaceutical firm, which is well established in Québec, is partnering with a VC fund in Canada.”

For his part, Frédéric Fasano, Chief Executive Officer of Servier Canada, said: “For Servier, this new partnership is in keeping with its research investment strategy in Québec. We launched our Centre of Excellence in Clinical Research in 2014, and now we are investing in a biotech firm. The fact is that what we could do on our own in the past is no longer possible without the help of a network of high-calibre partners. The creation of ILKOS THERAPEUTICS will make it possible to continue the clinical development of an innovative drug, which was deprioritized from Servier’s R&D strategic priorities. This innovative project reflects the evolution of our business model.”

This partnership will ensure the development of an original molecule under a global, exclusive licence granted by Servier to ILKOS THERAPEUTICS.

The target indication is the oral treatment of venous lower limb ulcers, a disease that affects 1% to 1.5% of the population, mainly older people. Current treatment, which besides being only moderately effective for complete wound healing and limited to compression bandages and local wound care, is labour intensive, accounting for 1.5% to 2% of the health care budget in countries such as Canada. The new treatment, which seeks to become the first line treatment for venous lower limb ulcers, is a potentially major clinical breakthrough.

The compound has shown promising pharmacological wound healing properties in preclinical trials and was proven to be safe in phase 1 clinical trials on more than 300 healthy volunteers.

The project headed by ILKOS THERAPEUTICS involves demonstrating the efficacy of the compound during a phase 2A multicentre trial conducted in North America and Europe and involving more than 200 patients.

As part of a collaboration agreement with ILKOS THERAPEUTICS, Servier will coordinate and oversee the trial through Servier Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Clinical Research.

Mark Beaudet, co-founder of Paladin Labs in 1996 and who headed the lab in Montréal until April, has accepted to chair the board of directors of ILKOS THERAPEUTICS. 

Danny Gagné, manager of the Fonds de solidarité FTQ’s life sciences portfolio, Jean-François Leprince, managing partner at CTI Life Sciences Fund, and Frédéric Fasano, Servier Canada’s chief executive officer, will serve as directors.

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