MaRS Innovation portfolio company completing Phase 1 human clinical trial of drug to prevent dermal scarring
VANCOUVER (February 16, 2016) — Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator (Accel-Rx), a Centre of Excellence for the Commercialization of Research (CECR), and its partner BDC Capital today announced their second joint investment in ScarX Therapeutics, a Canadian biotechnology company commercializing innovative treatments for dermal scarring (fibrosis).
Accel-Rx and BDC Capital, and other investors including MaRS Innovation, have invested a total of $2 million in ScarX. This investment will allow ScarX to complete a Phase 1 clinical trial of its lead candidate, SCX-001, in human volunteers to create better functional and cosmetic patient outcomes and position the company for its next round of financing.
“ScarX will bring the first clinically meaningful prescription anti-scarring therapeutic to market,” says Stephen Whitehead, President and CEO. “We need to get this important discovery into human trials to see the impact it will have. We are pleased that Accel-Rx and BDC are making this investment and they will join our existing investors SickKids, MaRS Innovation and the Ontario Centres of Excellence.”
“The mandate of Accel-Rx is to help position early stage innovative health companies to secure the necessary next capital such that they can stay and grow in Canada,” said Natalie Dakers, President and CEO of Accel-Rx. “ScarX Therapeutics represents exactly the kind of investment we should be doing. With the clinical data, the company will be able to realize its potential. We, alongside our partner BDC, and MI can help create this additional value.”
SCX-001 is the first nefopam topical cream designed to reduce post-surgical scarring following surgical wound closure. ScarX Therapeutics is built upon Dr. Benjamin Alman’s 30-year research career, and the novel finding that nefopam, a well-characterized small molecule, modulates a protein called beta-catenin that is associated with hypertrophic or excessive scarring in humans. The molecule was originally developed as a prescription oral and IV analgesic in Europe over 30 years ago. ScarX’s initial market will be plastic and reconstructive surgeries, a $2.5 billion opportunity with over 7.4 million procedures performed annually in the U.S. alone.
The Accel-Rx/BDC Capital partnership is a collaborative effort that makes strategic early-stage investments to support Canada’s health sciences ecosystem, which is home to some of the best research and innovation in the world. The partners have national mandates, with a focus to build the Canadian health sciences sector.
“We are delighted to finalize the second co-investment with our partner Accel-Rx and help commercialize innovative Canadian health science,” said Michael Mahon, Director, BDC Capital–Strategic Investments and Partnerships. “ScarX Therapeutics is a promising technology with great science and a strong team. We look forward to it joining the ranks of Canada’s high impact firms.”
Under the seed funding partnership, Accel-Rx and BDC Capital intend to co-invest in up to four companies annually.
“ScarX Therapeutics was among the first technologies disclosed to MaRS Innovation,” said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO. “We incorporated the company, protected the intellectual property, secured experienced leadership in Stephen Whitehead and sourced pre-seed funding. Seeing ScarX close this Series A validates both our belief in its science and MaRS Innovation’s approach to commercialization. We are proud to be a part of the Accel-Rx/BDC investment portfolio.”
Accel-Rx is a Canadian health innovation sector accelerator supporting the creation and development of national early-stage health sciences companies. Accel-Rx provides resources to health sciences start ups to help 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 Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research. To learn more, follow us on Twitter at @Accel_Rx.
About BDC Capital
A subsidiary of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), BDC Capital offers a full spectrum of specialized financing and investment solutions to help Canadian entrepreneurs achieve their full growth potential. With more than $1.6 billion under management, BDC Capital takes a strategic, patient approach to nurture companies’ development over the long term. From venture capital and equity, to growth and transition capital, our team of over 100 experienced, local professionals partner with entrepreneurs to identify and meet their needs on flexible terms. Some of the sectors in which we specialize include IT, industrial/clean/energy technology, and healthcare. For more information, follow us on Twitter at @BDC_Capital.
About ScarX Therapeutics
ScarX Therapeutics (ScarX Corp) is a Canadian biotechnology company, founded in partnership with The Hospital for Sick Children and MaRS Innovation, that discovers and develops innovative treatments for dermal scarring (fibrosis). The company’s lead candidate will be the first topical prescription cream to treat and prevent post-surgical scarring, with the eventual goal of creating better functional and cosmetic outcomes for patients. In 2015, BioCentury featured ScarX Therapeutics as an emerging company to watch.
About MaRS Innovation
MaRS Innovation is the commercialization agent for 15 leading academic institutions in Ontario. It provides investors and licensees with a single point to access technology assets emerging from its members, who receive $1.4 billion in annual research and development funding. 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 through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation. Follow us on Twitter at @marsinnovation.