MaRS Innovation joins new financing round for AvidBiologics Inc.

AvidBiologics Inc.TORONTO, Sept. 29, 2014AvidBiologics Inc., an oncology drug development company, today announced the closing of a financing round. The company is founded on antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technologies co-developed with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).

Led by Lumira Capital, the financing round included MaRS Innovation (MI), MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF), Rosseau Asset Management, and the company’s founding investors.

This announcement was covered by Dow Jones: Private Equity and Venture Capital and by Canadian Private Equity.

Today’s financing builds on prior support from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation’s Business Accelerator Program (MRI-BAP) and other Canadian life science development organizations.

“This financing round enables us to rapidly advance our lead ADC into clinical trials,” said Ilia Tikhomirov, President and CEO. “We would like to thank the NRC and all of our partners for their support as AvidBiologics transitions from a discovery-stage to a development-stage company.”

Dr. Raphael Hofstein

Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president & CEO, MaRS Innovation.

“The high quality pre-clinical package and exceptional leadership team, including pioneers in the development of ADCs, position the company for a successful transition towards clinical development,” said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MI. “The cooperation among funding organizations, such as those involved in this financing, represents the strengthening foundation on which commercialization within Toronto’s start-up community can be successfully realized. We are glad to be part of this financing syndicate that supports one of Canada’s leading life sciences companies.”

AvidBiologics is developing multiple ADC therapeutics against solid tumor targets in partnership with leading research centers, including Western University (London, ON), the University Health Network (Toronto, ON), and the National Research Council of Canada.

“We believe that ADCs are poised for continued and significant growth over the next decade, and that the therapeutics being developed by AvidBiologics can transform the treatment of patients,” said Michelle McBane, investment director at IAF. “We are excited to be investing alongside such a great syndicate.”

“AvidBiologics’ lead candidate has excellent potential and we are enthusiastic about the company’s long-term growth prospects,” said Dr. Brian Underdown, managing partner at Lumira Capital and director of AvidBiologics.

The stakeholders would also like to thank Dr. Andrew Haigh of Lumira Capital, the primary architect of the financing.

About AvidBiologics Inc.
AvidBiologics is a private Canadian biotechnology company created to be Canada’s first to concentrate solely on antibody-drug conjugates. It is a 2011 spinout from YM BioSciences Inc., and was founded on ADC technologies co-developed with the National Research Council of Canada. AvidBiologics is based at MaRS Discovery District, a leading Canadian innovation hub for life sciences and technology companies.

About MaRS Innovation
MaRS Innovation (MI) is the commercialization agent for 15 leading academic institutions in Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s largest academic cluster. As a single-entry point to $1 billion in annual research and development, MI is a gateway for investors and licensees to access technology assets. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and by its 15 member institutions, MI is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into commercial opportunities. Its portfolio includes the most promising assets from its members’ pipeline, which it advances into global markets through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation.

About Lumira Capital
Lumira Capital is a leading North American healthcare and life sciences venture capital firm. Currently managing over $250 million, Lumira Capital is an active investor that works closely with entrepreneurs to develop transformative therapeutics and medical technology innovations. Previous Lumira Capital investments include Pharmasset (acquired by Gilead Sciences), Ception Therapeutics (acquired by Cephalon), Resonant Medical (acquired by Elekta), Morphotek (acquired by Eisai), and Corus Pharma (acquired by Gilead Sciences), as well as public companies such as MAKO Surgical (recently acquired by Stryker Corp.), DepoMed, and Ista Pharmaceuticals. Lumira Capital has partners in Toronto, Montréal and Boston.

About MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund
The Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) provides seed funding to qualified emerging companies in Ontario. As a critical component of the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE), the IAF supports the launch and development of innovative companies in Ontario’s priority sectors of advanced materials and manufacturing, information technology, cleantech and life sciences.

Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, director of marketing and communications.