MONTREAL - The technological platform of early-stage biotech company NTB Neurotrophic Bioscience Inc. has attracted C$3 million (US$1.9 million) from several major venture capital sources in Montreal. Participants in the funding round are the Business Development Bank of Canada; GeneChem Technologies Venture Capital Fund LP; and Sofinov, a subsidiary of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec.
Anthony Giovinazzo, NTB's CEO, said this investment will be used to fund a research and development program focused on the discovery and development of natural human proteins for treating Parkinson's disease, Alz heimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease). Although relatively young, NTB has three proteins at advanced stages of development. In addition to its product pipeline, the company has developed a novel bioassay system for identifying promising compounds, and has a research and development agreement in place with The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif.
The company's technology is based on the work of John Commissiong, its founder and chief scientific officer. Commissiong is a specialist in the field of nerve-cell survival and regeneration. Prior to founding the company, he was head of the neurotrophic factors group in the laboratory of molecular biology at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. While there, he and his colleagues conducted research aimed at improving the understanding of the neurological and biological mechanisms involved when a spinal-injured animal recovers the ability to walk.
NTB initially will focus on Parkinson's disease and the identification of novel neurotrophic proteins and their associated genes, in order to provide more effective therapeutic treatments for this condition.