April 12, 2018

Restorative Breast Cancer Solution Start-Up Wins the 2018 FACIT Pitch Competition

Biotechnology competition modeled after popular TV program Dragons’ Den

TORONTO, ON (April 12, 2018) – A panel of investor-judges has selected Ontario-based oncology researcher Soror Sharifpoor of Polumiros Inc. as the winner of the 2018 FACIT Falcons’ Fortunes competition. The $50,000 award is intended to support further development of their innovative cancer research. FACIT runs the annual competition as part of its broader mandate to support translating research into Ontario companies to impact the lives of patients with cancer.

Now in its fifth year, the FACIT Falcons’ Fortunes competition is open to any Ontario-based oncology researcher (academics, research institutions, research hospitals and start-ups). Entrepreneurial scientists are invited to pitch innovative research ideas to a panel of four investors in a competition that is modeled after the popular CBC television program Dragons’ Den. The winners receive the $50,000 “Ernsting Entrepreneurship Award.” After follow-up technical evaluation of the underlying innovation, the money funds product development for one year.

“We are really, truly thrilled. We put a lot of time into this technology,” says Dr. Sharifpoor. “This has been years of work and effort by our team. To have FACIT’s help to get to the next stage, this means the world of difference to us.”

Polumiros Inc. specializes in the development of ReFilx™, a polymeric soft tissue filler that provides breast cancer patients with an esthetically superior and minimally-invasive solution for the permanent restoration of breast tissue defects following lumpectomy.

FACIT received a total of 38 applications from across Ontario for this year’s Falcons’ Fortunes competition. From those initial entries, FACIT narrowed the field to six researchers to appear in-person and pitch their innovation to the investor judging panel. Since it started in 2014, the number of applications has grown by about 15% per year. The event has also grown in popularity with the community and this year’s event is at capacity.

“Without companies to develop experimental therapies and technologies, the benefits of research can be confined to the laboratory. With our partners at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, FACIT plays a leading role in supporting Ontario entrepreneurs,” says David O’Neill, acting President of FACIT. “Securing funding to bring an innovation to market is a difficult but necessary step if you want your idea to impact patients at the bedside.”

The six entrepreneurs each gave a 10-minute pitch to the panel, followed by a five-minute question and answer session. The winner was announced at a reception immediately following the competition on April 11 in Toronto.

Scott Tanner, former President and Chief Executive Officer of DVS Sciences, transformed an early breakthrough technology into a highly successful company that continues to employ a number of Ontario scientists. Dr. Tanner started DVS with funding from FACIT and returned this year to share some of his wisdom and experience as one of the panel judges.

“As a researcher, being challenged to pitch your ideas effectively is crucial,” he says. “It’s not enough to have just a great technology. You have to provide incentive for people to invest in your business. It’s a risky thing for them. FACIT helps scientists like me become businesspeople investors can trust.”

February 21, 2018

FACIT invests $450k in promising Ontario breakthrough technologies

FACIT Logo

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.

Continue reading – FACIT invests $450k in promising Ontario breakthrough technologies

October 4, 2017

FACIT Portfolio Company Fusion Pharmaceuticals Closes US$46M Oversubscribed Series A

Addition of new investors builds on Ontario’s next-gen radiotherapies and cancer innovations

Continue reading – FACIT Portfolio Company Fusion Pharmaceuticals Closes US$46M Oversubscribed Series A

August 1, 2017

FACIT launches cross-border campaign to recruit clinical scientists and biotechnology industry executives

FACIT Logo

Initiative targets expats for growing oncology company portfolio in Ontario

TORONTO, ON (July 18, 2017) — FACIT, which commercializes innovative cancer treatments, has launched a recruitment campaign targeting individuals who possess strong clinical development, commercial and fundraising experience in the technology and life sciences sectors.  FACIT is expanding and updating its database of US-based industry advisors for roles ranging from investment diligence to full time management roles in Ontario-based biotech start-ups.  While Canadian biotechnology expatriates are the focus of this initiative, FACIT continues to attract worldwide leaders in oncology research to the province, a shared mandate well established by its strategic partner, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR).

Continue reading – FACIT launches cross-border campaign to recruit clinical scientists and biotechnology industry executives

August 1, 2017

FACIT announces investment in three Ontario start-ups under Prospects Fund

The logos of Radialis Medical, DNA Stack and KA Imaging

FACIT invests first round of Prospects Fund in Radialis Medical, KA Imaging, and DNAstack.

TORONTO, ON (July 10, 2017) – FACIT has announced the first three investments under its new Prospects Oncology Fund for proof-of-concept development of breakthrough cancer technologies. Ontario start-ups Radialis Medical of Thunder Bay, KA Imaging of Kitchener, and DNAstack of Toronto are the first to receive capital from this new fund, illustrating the strength and breadth of the cancer research network in the province. FACIT’s strategy is to bridge the gap in capital and expertise often experienced by early stage companies, and better position innovations to reach patients.

Continue reading – FACIT announces investment in three Ontario start-ups under Prospects Fund

March 22, 2017

FACIT Launches The Prospects Oncology Fund

New evergreen fund to help Ontario discoveries reach seed-stage funding faster

Prospects Fund LogoTORONTO, March 21, 2017 /CNW/ – Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (“FACIT”) is pleased to announce the launch of The Prospects Oncology Fund (“Prospects Fund”), designed to advance early-stage Ontario cancer discoveries by supporting the proof-of-concept studies needed to attract seed-stage investment. Managed by FACIT, this is an evergreen fund to which capital is allocated annually.

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March 22, 2017

FACIT Announces Investment in Propellon Therapeutics

Seed financing of CAD$3.0M positions first-in-class WDR5 cancer therapy for clinical development

TORONTO, March 22, 2017 /CNW/ – FACIT announced a seed stage investment in Propellon Therapeutics (the “Company” or “Propellon”), a start-up created by FACIT focused on developing a portfolio of WDR5-targeted anti-cancer therapeutics. FACIT’s investment, combined with non-dilutive capital, achieves a targeted $3.0M financing for the lead program. The seed funding enables Propellon to accelerate the nomination of a candidate drug and position the Company for financing and/or entering a strategic partnership for clinical trials in patients with haematological cancers.

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February 23, 2017

FACIT-Seeded Fusion Pharmaceuticals Closes US$25M Series A Led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation

 

OICR and FACIT logosFinancing leverages and strengthens Ontario’s next-generation radiotherapeutics expertise, products

TORONTO, ON (February 23, 2017) – The Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT) and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) are pleased to report that Fusion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Fusion) has closed a US$25M Series A financing, with Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC) as the lead investor. Additional, new investors include venture groups HealthCap, TPG Biotechnology Partners, and Genesys Capital, as well as founding investor FACIT.

Continue reading – FACIT-Seeded Fusion Pharmaceuticals Closes US$25M Series A Led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation

November 2, 2016

FACIT start-up Turnstone Biologics closes USD $41M financing

OrbiMed, Versant-led round continues commercialization success for Turnstone’s cancer therapies

John Bell and contributorsTORONTO, Nov. 2, 2016 /CNW/ – Turnstone Biologics Inc. (“Turnstone”), an Ontario-based developer of novel oncolytic viral immunotherapies, announced the closing of a USD $41.4 million Series B financing led by OrbiMed Advisors LLC (“OrbiMed”) and Versant Ventures (“Versant”), which led Turnstone’s Series A round in October 2015. New investor F-Prime Capital Partners (“F-Prime”) and existing founding investor FACIT also participated. Proceeds from the financing will support an ongoing Phase I/II clinical trial in patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumours as well as accelerate and expand Turnstone’s pipeline, funding the development of three additional programs into the clinic. In connection with the financing Orbimed’s Rishi Gupta, JD and F-Prime’s Ben Auspitz will join Turnstone’s board of directors alongside Versant’s Brad Bolzon, PhD and Jerel Davis, PhD as well as FACIT’s Jeff Courtney.

Continue reading – FACIT start-up Turnstone Biologics closes USD $41M financing

October 5, 2016

From our Annual Report: Investing in the cure and the economy

OICR Researcher in the Lab

Ontario has some of the finest cancer researchers in the world who are developing new cancer therapies, diagnostic tools and other anti-cancer technologies. When these novel products make their way into clinical use they improve outcomes for cancer patients and reduce the cancer burden on society.

Continue reading – From our Annual Report: Investing in the cure and the economy

July 4, 2016

FACIT Falcons’ Fortunes pitch competition helps Ontario ideas take flight

FACIT Falcons Winner

(from left to right) John Matheson, Medical Innovation Fellow, Western University, Mohammad Tavallaei, Medical Innovation Fellow, Western University, Jeff Courtney, CCO, FACIT, Nicholas Power Surgeon, London Health Sciences Centre, Asha Parekh Medical Innovation Fellow, Western University

Millions worldwide watch Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank where ambitious entrepreneurs try to convince deep-pocketed investors to provide funding for their innovative ideas. On June 1, 2016, a lucky group of cancer researchers from across Ontario had the opportunity to take part in a similar and perhaps ‘kinder’ pitch competition – the FACIT Falcons’ Fortunes event. The Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT) holds the competition every year to learn about some of the most exciting ideas in oncology research, provide funding for the best pitch, and to enhance, support and celebrate a culture of commercialization within Ontario.

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June 23, 2016

Propellon Therapeutics to Accelerate WDR5 Inhibitor Development for Cancers

FACIT Logo

FACIT forms biotechnology company for OICR-discovered first-in-class epigenetic modifiers

TORONTO, ON (June 23, 2016) – FACIT has announced the creation of a new Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. (“Propellon” or “the Company”), to manage the development and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment of various cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, possessing the potential to contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been achieved with the series of proprietary small molecule WDR5 inhibitors discovered and developed by the Drug Discovery team at Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (“OICR”). The formation of Propellon reflects a natural translation of early-stage breakthrough cancer innovations, and enables important development activities including attracting private sector investment and industry partnerships.

Continue reading – Propellon Therapeutics to Accelerate WDR5 Inhibitor Development for Cancers