February 21, 2018

FACIT invests $450k in promising Ontario breakthrough technologies


Investment supports emerging entrepreneurial scientists and critical proof-of-principle studies

TORONTO, ON (February 20, 2018) – FACIT, a business accelerator, announced four new recipients of funding through its Prospects oncology investment competition: Dalriada Therapeutics Inc. (“Dalriada”), 16-Bit Inc. (“16-Bit”), a cancer biomarker study at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (“OICR”), and a virus-based therapeutic under development at the Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa. FACIT’s investments are imperative in bridging the capital gap often experienced by early-stage Ontario companies, helping corporations establish jobs and build roots in the province. The wide ranging scope of the innovations, which span therapeutics, machine learning and biomarker development, reflect the rich talent pool within the Ontario oncology research community.

Start-up Dalriada is developing the DT-1 class of small molecules which possess selective cancer cell-killing activity and reduced toxicity due to a unique “cloaking” mechanism. 16-Bit, a start-up founded by two medical doctors from the University of Toronto’s Diagnostic Radiology Program, is developing a machine learning algorithm to automate triaging of screening mammograms for breast cancer detection. The Diagnostic Development team at OICR are validating a gene test to predict which breast cancer patients benefit from anthracycline chemotherapy. Researchers at the Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa, winners of FACIT’s 2017 Falcons’ Fortunes pitch competition, are developing a multi-mechanistic Vaccinia virus-based platform for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

As part of FACIT’s suite of commercialization initiatives, investment programs and services, the Prospects Oncology Fund delivers on FACIT and OICR’s shared vision of advancing breakthrough innovations to the benefit of patients and Ontario’s knowledge economy. Translating early stage innovations and positioning them to raise additional funding supports Ontario’s competitive position as a destination for biotechnology. “We’re thrilled to invest in these new and exciting opportunities, and partner with the next-generation of entrepreneurs,” said David O’Neill, Acting President, FACIT. “With FACIT’s investment, our partners gain important access to early stage capital, industrial development expertise and our network. Congratulations to all the strong applicants and in particular these outstanding awardees in their quest to make a difference for patients living with cancer.”