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.

Continue reading – FACIT Launches The Prospects Oncology Fund

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.

Continue reading – FACIT Announces Investment in Propellon Therapeutics

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.

Continue reading – FACIT Falcons’ Fortunes pitch competition helps Ontario ideas take flight

May 26, 2016

Privacy Analytics Acquired by IMS Health

Integrating innovative data privacy expertise with a global healthcare information & technology service leader, strengthening and driving Ontario’s digital healthcare security footprint  

FACIT LogoTORONTO, May 26, 2016 /CNW/ – FACIT is pleased to announce that IMS Health (NYSE: IMS) has acquired privately-held Privacy Analytics Inc., a FACIT portfolio company. The transaction combines Privacy Analytics’ leading edge expertise in health data anonymization and de-identification with IMS Health’s broad range of healthcare information, technology and services solutions, particularly its Real-World Evidence (RWE) capabilities. IMS Health’s mission-critical anonymous information and technical strength in providing its life sciences clients with R&D and commercial solutions positions Privacy Analytics to continue to expand its suite of innovative data governance software and expertise on a global scale. Reflecting Ontario’s innovative strength and expertise in healthcare technologies, the acquisition also allows Privacy Analytics to maintain a strong presence within the province, with solutions continued to be offered to the market, Privacy Analytics and IMS Health clients as an independent suite of products. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Continue reading – Privacy Analytics Acquired by IMS Health

May 25, 2016

OICR partners with Israeli university to create new cancer genomics and immunity program

Kathleen Wynne and Jeff Courtney

On May 18 an Ontario delegation led by Premier Kathleen Wynne visited Israel and signed several Memoranda of Understanding aimed at facilitating collaboration between Israeli and Ontario institutions.

Continue reading – OICR partners with Israeli university to create new cancer genomics and immunity program

January 28, 2016

Trillium Therapeutics Acquires Fluorinov Pharma

Combined entity creates strong foundation for leading Canadian immuno-oncology company

FACIT LogoTORONTO, ON (January 28, 2016) – FACIT has announced that Trillium Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:TRIL, TSX:TR; “Trillium”) has acquired all of the outstanding shares of privately-held Fluorinov Pharma Inc. (“Fluorinov” or the “Company”), a FACIT portfolio company. The transaction combines Fluorinov’s pipeline of oncology therapeutics and risk-reduced drug discovery engine, with Trillium’s pool of innovative immuno-oncology therapies. The resulting impressive arsenal of clinical and near-clinical stage products is positioned to benefit greatly from the capital and development resources available to Trillium. The acquisition also reflects the strength of innovation within the province, as well as the current momentum behind biotechnology and product development expertise in Ontario.

Continue reading – Trillium Therapeutics Acquires Fluorinov Pharma

December 16, 2015

FACIT Announces Investment in Fusion Pharmaceuticals and Alpha-Emitting Radiotherapeutics

Image-guided medicines for hard to treat cancers built using next generation medical isotopes

TORONTO, ON (December 16, 2015) – FACIT and Fusion Pharmaceuticals (“Fusion”) announced today an investment to support the development of Fusion’s radiopharmaceutical FPX-01 for the treatment of cancer. Fusion’s drug candidate leverages the potent cell-killing potential of alpha particle-emitting medical isotopes, with the precise targeting ability of a monoclonal antibody to selectively internalize and destroy cancer cells while sparing neighbouring healthy cells. Early results from a Phase I imaging study demonstrated on-target delivery in patients with solid tumours. FACIT’s investment will support efforts to advance FPX-01 into a Phase I/II clinical trial to examine its potential to treat cancer.

Fusion is leveraging its unique expertise in creating alpha-emitting therapies to build and cultivate a pipeline of novel products through both in-licensing and academic/industrial collaborations. The effectiveness and value of alpha-emitting agents is validated by recent approvals and marketing launches of Bayer’s Xofigo®, which is administered on an out-patient basis. FPX-01 is expected to have the ability to treat a wide range of different tumour types given the high level of expression of the drug’s target in numerous cancers.

Jeff Courtney, FACIT’s Chief Commercial Officer, remarked “Given the re-invigoration of the radiopharmaceutical space, Fusion represents a unique opportunity to leverage the expertise of the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization in manufacturing radiopharmaceuticals and Fusion’s proprietary chemistry. We believe Fusion’s unique alpha-emitting therapies are positioned well to build on the recent successes in the field and, if proven to be effective in treating cancer, represent an attractive complement to existing and new oncology regimens.”

Fusion is a spin-out from the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (“CPDC”) at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Created in 2008 under the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (“CECR”) program, CPDC has received funding support from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (“OICR”) and additional private and public sector support. The CPDC has grown to become a leader in the clinical development and manufacturing of radioimaging and radiotherapeutics. In 2015, CPDC conducted a clinical trial in which FPX-01 was administered in an imaging study lead by Drs. Rosalyn Juergens and Karen Gulenchyn, at Hamilton Health Sciences.

“Alpha (particle)-emitting agents have the potential to eradicate even the most resistant types of cancers and unlike previous generations of therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals they can be administered in conventional cancer treatment facilities,” said Dr. John Valliant, CEO of Fusion Pharmaceuticals and Professor at McMaster University. “Fusion’s approach has the added benefit that it uses non-invasive imaging to show that the drug hits the target of interest, and as a way to select patients who are most likely to respond to treatment. We are excited to be joined by FACIT to create a new Canadian biotechnology company to advance FPX-01 and build our pipeline of new drug candidates and tools to help deliver effective personalized treatments to cancer patients.”

About FACIT FACIT (Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust) is an independent business trust established by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) to undertake development and commercialization activities related to cancer research, products and drug discovery. For more information, please visit the website at facit.ca or email info@facit.ca.

About Fusion Pharmaceuticals Fusion Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage company focused on developing novel radiotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Fusion is a spin-out from the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC) at McMaster University, Hamilton. Please visit the website at fusionpharma.com.

Contact David Koehler, PhD Director, Fund Operations | david.koehler@facit.ca

Lynn Wick Fusion Pharmaceuticals Inc. | info@fusionpharma.com

November 9, 2015

FACIT start-up company Turnstone Biologics secures $11.3 million in financing, boosts leadership

turnstoneTurnstone Biologics Inc., a FACIT-incubated company spun out of research conducted in OICR’s ORBiT Program, has secured $11.3 million in new financing. This investment in the company has allowed it to take another step forward in its development with the hiring of Dr. Sammy J. Farah as Chief Executive Officer and Dr. Brian D. Lichty as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Farah is a veteran vaccine executive with extensive technology and product development expertise. Lichty, a distinguished scientist, is a leader in the development of oncolytic viral therapies and one of Turnstone’s founding scientists. The financing round was led by Versant Ventures and more than $20 million in follow-on capital has been committed.

“We are very pleased to have concluded this financing with an experienced venture capital firm of Versant’s calibre, and to be able to enhance the Company’s leadership with compelling management,” said Jeff Courtney, Chief Commercial Officer of FACIT, which is Turnstone’s founding investor.

Continue reading – FACIT start-up company Turnstone Biologics secures $11.3 million in financing, boosts leadership

October 28, 2015

FACIT Startup Turnstone Biologics Closes $11M Financing, Secures Additional Capital Commitment, and Adds Strong Management

Versant Ventures-led investment accelerates development, broadens oncolytic viral immunotherapy potential
TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2015 /CNW/ – Turnstone Biologics Inc. (“Turnstone” or the “Company”), a FACIT-incubated startup, has completed its $11.3 million Series A financing round led by Versant Ventures (“Versant”) with follow-on capital committed in excess of $20.0 million. The financing enabled the Company to appoint Sammy J. Farah, PhD, MBA as Chief Executive Officer and Brian D. Lichty, PhD as Chief Technology Officer. Turnstone develops novel oncolytic viral immunotherapies that both attack tumour cells in a targeted manner and enable the patient’s own immune system to be harnessed to fight cancer. The Company previously announced an ongoing landmark Phase I/II clinical trial in patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumours. Proceeds from the financing will enable expansion of operations in Ontario and a broader clinical development strategy.

Bolstering Turnstone’s leadership team with talented and highly qualified management, Dr. Farah is an experienced vaccine executive, while as a founding scientist of the Company Dr. Lichty possesses leading expertise in oncolytic viral therapies. In conjunction with this investment, Versant Partner Jerel Davis, PhD and Managing Director Brad Bolzon, PhD will join the Company’s board of directors. Founding investor FACIT also participated in the round.

“I am delighted to join Turnstone’s dedicated team in helping to advance a transformative technology that will positively impact a broad range of cancer patients,” said Dr. Farah. “With an established leadership in oncolytic viral immunotherapy, and a high content clinical trial for the first product candidate already in progress, Turnstone is in an advantaged position to significantly influence the immuno-oncology landscape.”
Turnstone’s platform is a unique and first-in-class approach that combines the benefits of oncolytic viral therapy with a tumour-targeted vaccine, into a single intravenously-delivered treatment to stimulate and direct a patient’s immune response to tumours. The platform possesses many distinguishing qualities that previous oncolytic virus and vaccine products have lacked, including systemic administration, production of significant durable T-cell responses, and ease of manufacturing. Importantly, preclinical studies in mice and primates have demonstrated unprecedented immune responses against a range of tumours. In expanding the clinical strategy, the Company will advance development in multiple disease indications and in combination with other cancer immunotherapies.

The completed financing underscores the strength and quality of the developmental work completed to date, the opportunities associated with expanding the boundaries of immuno-oncology therapies, and the recent clinical validation of oncolytic viruses. The investment is also another important example building on the translational vision of FACIT to cultivate and promote growth in Ontario’s economy, support improvements in patient care and attract world-class investors to the province’s innovative oncology assets.

“We are very pleased to have concluded this financing with an experienced venture capital firm of Versant’s calibre, and to be able to enhance the Company’s leadership with compelling management,” said Jeff Courtney, Chief Commercial Officer of FACIT and Turnstone’s founding investor. “Versant’s commitment provides valuable development and commercialization resources given the depth of its extensive network and expertise. This investment enables an aggressive growth strategy to be pursued to fully exploit the commercial potential of the Company’s pipeline.”

About FACIT
FACIT is an independent business trust established by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research to undertake development and commercialization activities related to cancer research, products and drug discovery. For more information, please visit the website at facit.ca or email info@facit.ca.

About Turnstone Biologics
Turnstone Biologics Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on developing novel oncolytic viral immunotherapies for cancer. Turnstone’s therapeutic platform is a first-in-class tumour-targeted oncolytic vaccine that combines potent tumour-killing effects of oncolytic viruses with the benefits of a cancer vaccine that harnesses the patient’s own immune system to fight disease in a sustainable manner. The Company’s platform leverages the innovations and expertise of its renowned founding scientists, Drs. John Bell, Brian Lichty and David Stojdl. Turnstone is also developing additional oncolytic virus strategies and immunotherapy combination treatments. For more information, please visit www.turnstonebio.com or email info@turnstonebio.com.

For further information:
Jeff Courtney, Chief Commercial Officer, jeff.courtney@facit.ca

October 14, 2015

OICR, UHN, Novera Therapeutics Announce Collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation on Drug Discovery and Development for Haematological Cancers

Research Collaboration and Option and License Agreement Reach Approximately $450 Million Cdn

TORONTO, Oct. 14, 2015 /CNW/ – The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (“OICR”) together with Novera Therapeutics Inc., (“Novera”) have announced a collaboration with Janssen Biotech, LLC (“Janssen”), a Pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, to accelerate the development of promising small molecule drug candidates for haematological cancers. Novera, a new Ontario biotechnology company, will discover and develop novel therapeutic compounds identified through OICR’s drug discovery program in partnership with University Health Network’s (“UHN”) enabling technology and disease area biology, and coordinate the collaboration with Janssen under a collaboration, license option, and exclusive license agreement (the “agreement”).

Under the agreement, facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Novera will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive various pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory and commercialization success-based milestone payments up to a total of approximately $450 million Cdn, plus tiered royalties on potential net sales of products.  Janssen has been granted an exclusive option to license, for all human uses worldwide, candidate drug(s) that have been identified and will be advanced through the collaboration.  Janssen will assume responsibility for subsequent pre-clinical, clinical and commercial development once it exercises its option.

As a translational research institute OICR identifies, funds and supports oncology innovations with a goal of improving clinical practice. Leveraging the extensive and renowned research community within Ontario, OICR assembles and coordinates the intellectual resources, management and expertise needed to drive anti-cancer discoveries from bench to bedside.  Novera was established by FACIT, OICR’s commercialization partner, to advance the therapeutics against molecular targets in difficult-to-treat hematological malignancies.

The announced agreement with Janssen is another important example that builds on the translational mandate and vision of OICR, FACIT and Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation (“MRI”).

“Janssen is an excellent partner for this exciting program and we welcome the opportunity to leverage their distinguished development expertise in haematological cancers.  Patients in Ontario and worldwide will benefit from this collaborative and innovative model for translational research,” said Tom Hudson, President of OICR.

“We are pleased with the remarkable achievements of OICR, UHN and FACIT and their continued efforts to translate breakthrough research from the lab to the marketplace. An expanded presence of a health industry leader like Janssen in Ontario — combined with our world-class scientific research — is essential for the province to stay at the forefront of innovation for the benefit of patients and our economy,” said Reza Moridi, Minister of MRI.

“As a worldwide leader in developing breakthrough medicines, Janssen is an ideal partner and an excellent fit with our plan to bring the commercial strengths and experience of multinational pharmaceutical companies to support oncology innovations arising in the Province,” remarked Jeff Courtney, FACIT’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Janssen’s commitment to this program is indicative of the calibre of innovation driving OICR’s Drug Discovery initiatives.”

About OICR
OICR is an innovative cancer research and development institute dedicated to prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation, supported by the Government of Ontario. OICR and its funding partners support research programs that involve more than 1,700 investigators, clinician scientists, research staff and trainees in research institutes and in universities across the Province of Ontario as well as at its headquarters. OICR has key research program efforts underway in small molecules, biologics, stem cells, imaging, genomics, informatics and bio-computing. For more information, please visit the website at www.oicr.on.ca.

About FACIT
FACIT (Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust) is an independent business entity established by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR)  to undertake and accelerate development and commercialization activities related to breakthrough cancer research, products and drug discovery from OICR and throughoutOntario. For more information, please visit the website at facit.ca or email info@facit.ca.

About University Health Network
University Health Network consists of Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, genomic medicine and rehabilitation medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. www.uhn.ca.

About Novera Therapeutics Inc.
Novera Therapeutics Inc. is a biotherapeutics company focused on developing and commercializing therapies that improve patient outcomes in difficult-to-treat cancers. Established by the Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT), Novera’s drug candidates are derived from discoveries, research and innovations originating from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN). For more information, please email info@facit.ca.

January 7, 2015

Fluorinov Pharma and FACIT Announce Investment in Breakthrough Bromodomain Inhibitors for the Treatment of Cancers

TORONTO, ON (January 07, 2015) – FACIT and Fluorinov Pharma announced today an investment in the development of highly potent inhibitors of key bromodomain targets. Targeting drugs to epigenetic modifications to DNA is an exciting new strategy in the fight against cancer. Bromodomain inhibitors have shown profound preclinical efficacy in models of leukemia, multiple myeloma, solid tumours and other non-oncology indications. However, first-generation inhibitors such as JQ-1 have poor drug-like properties that may limit their utility in patients.

Jeff Courtney, FACIT’s Chief Commercial Officer noted “Fluorinov’s one-of-a-kind technology platform is expanding the boundaries of medicinal chemistry, and FACIT is pleased to advance these important therapeutics towards clinical development. We believe this investment is key to unlocking the value of Fluorinov’s technologies for industry and patients alike, and is another example of FACIT’s work to strengthen innovative networks for worldclass cancer drug development in Ontario and Canada.”

Fluorinov’s oncology drugs have been developed through a broad collaborative network including the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), U.S. National Cancer Institute, and the laboratories of Drs. Sam Weiss and Artee Luchman at the University of Calgary. FACIT, together with Fluorinov, is exploring partnerships with investors and pharmaceutical companies and also pathways for clinical development for these and other innovative Ontario based cancer therapies.

“Fluorinov is very pleased to have FACIT’s support in further developing this important program. While we anticipated our proprietary technology would give rise to exceptional bioavailability, we were delighted to identify preclinical candidates with potencies and activity superior to competitor drugs” remarked Malik Slassi, President and Chief Scientific Officer at Fluorinov. “Clinical candidates from this class have a promising future with our hematology-oncology development partners at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.”