Vancouver-based ImStar Therapeutics, which is developing treatments for ALS, has raised $1.8 million in seed financing.
BDC Capital led the funding with Vancouver-based health sciences accelerator Accel-RX. The remainder of the investment was made by AviTx, a private company dedicated to finding a treatment for ALS, and a group of private investors.
“We were impressed with ImStar’s management team and its lead drug development program,” said Natalie Dakers, president and CEO of Accel-Rx. “There are a number of drugs in development that have the potential to slow disease progression but do not represent radical therapeutic advances for the disease.”
ImStar Therapeutics will use the funding to advance preclinical work on its approach to treat ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) before moving on to clinic trials. The company is working on developing treatments directed at a proprietary therapeutic target for ALS referred to as TANA, or TDP-43 related NF-kB activation. The technology is based on the research of Dr. Jean Pierre Julien, Professor and Senior Canada Research Chair in Neurodegeneration at Université Laval.
“Our lead drug development program, IMS-088, is a novel compound designed to address this key immune system activation pathway involved in neurodegeneration,” said Dan Wattier, CEO for ImStar Therapeutics. “Our strategy is to get to human proof-of-concept. If the observed drug activity of IMS-088 were to translate to comparable efficacy in human clinical trials, this could represent a significant advance in the treatment of ALS.”