By Matthew Willett
Gemin X Biotechnologies Inc. completed its second round of financing, a $12 million boost to the company¿s lead anticancer compound development program.
Sanderling Venture Partners V LP, of Menlo Park, Calif., led the round. Also participating were Medical Discoveries Fund Inc., of London, Ontario; and Sofinov Societe Financiere D¿Innovation Inc., of Quebec. New investors included BioCapital Investments Ltd., of Montreal; MVI Medical Venture Investments Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland; and the Business Development Bank of Canada.
Gemin X¿s president and CEO, Dan Giampuzzi, told BioWorld Today the financing will fund advancement of the firm¿s small-molecule anticancer agent, an inhibitor of the validated cancer target Bcl-2.
¿We¿ve got a small-molecule inhibitor, a small molecule that will bind to Bcl-2 and prevent it, in turn, from binding to various points in the molecular software program,¿¿ he said. ¿We¿re reinstating apoptosis that normally exists in every cell.¿
The candidate, GX015, is in preclinical testing, Giampuzzi said.
¿Our discovery is with respect to a whole class of compounds that operate against Bcl-2,¿ he said. ¿One, GX015, is in preclinical tests in animals, and the initial results look positive.¿
The financing market is a difficult one, but Giampuzzi said the Montreal-based Gemin X can strike an attractive profile to investors.
¿The conditions in Canada are typical to those you find in Europe and the U.S.,¿ he said. ¿One problem with Canada is the U.S. With all the biotechs there, and with Canada having only about 10 percent of that total, and all the noise that¿s made in the [U.S.], it¿s a little harder for Canadian companies to break out and distinguish themselves from other biotech companies. That¿s why we¿re proud to have investors come in from Europe and the U.S., so that we can position ourselves as global.¿
Giampuzzi said the funding, in addition to advancing the GX015 program, will serve to expand the company¿s apoptosis platform into a broader pipeline of cancer therapeutics.
¿What¿s interesting is that we¿ve combined two disciplines, biochemistry and virology, in the area of apoptosis,¿ Giampuzzi said. ¿Our strength, actually, and what we¿re trying to do, is [operate] at the intersection of these two disciplines ¿ to apply virology to apoptosis and biochemistry to virology. It¿s that understanding and know-how that is the basis, the foundation, of this company.¿