The extension saw BDC Capital’s newly created Thrive Venture Fund invest in Congruence for the first time.
Congruence designs novel small molecules that are meant to speed up drug discovery for rare diseases.
Thrive led the extension, which also saw return investment from Fonds de solidarité FTQ, OrbiMed, Investissement Quebec, SilverArc, and others. Former BDC fund Amplitude Ventures also reinvested in Congruence as part of this financing after leading the original close of the Series A round.
The extension brings Congruence’s total Series A round to $88 million CAD ($65 million USD), and comes more than one year after the startup held the round’s original close. Congruence did not respond by time of publication to questions regarding its decision to raise an extension one year later.
Founded in 2021, Montréal-based Congruence designs novel small molecules that are meant to speed up drug discovery for rare diseases. The startup is targeting a variety of rare diseases that often go overlooked by other pharma companies. Its platform aims to design small molecules to address protein misfolding, which is an error in protein formation that can cause diseases like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.
Canada has become home to a number of startups focused on using technology for drug discovery. This includes SoftBank-backed Deep Genomics, BenchSci, and smaller players like DrugBank and Valence Discovery. Healthtech-focused Amplitude has invested in all the above-named companies except for BenchSci.
The drug discovery process is cost intensive. While numbers can vary, reports estimate that $1.1 billion USD is the median cost for the research and development of one product. That hefty number is one reason that startups have looked to tech to make that process easier. However, it still takes significant financing for startups to be able to compete.
It also takes expertise. Congruence CEO Clarissa Desjardins notably had three sizeable exits under her belt prior to Congruence.
Desjardins sold her first biopharmaceutical company to PerkinElmer, while her third company, Clementia Pharmaceuticals, went public on the Nasdaq in 2017 before becoming one of the largest acquisitions in Canadian biotech history after it was bought by global pharmaceutical company Ipsen in 2019.
Congruence marks Amplitude Ventures’ third bet on Desjardins, with the venture fund investing in Caprion Pharmaceuticals and Clementia while Amplitude was still a BDC fund.
Feature image courtesy Congruence Therapeutics.