Nanology Labs receives investment from oncology research fund

Ken Treloar

Nanology Labs, a pharmaceutical startup based out of the University of Toronto, has received an investment from the FACIT Prospects Oncology Fund, which was designed to advance Ontario’s cancer research innovations by supporting proof-of-concept studies and projects. The amount the fund is investing has not been disclosed.

“This seed funding is critical in enabling our technology to reach its next inflection point.”
-CEO and co-founder, Nanology

Nanology has developed a low toxicity contrast agent called Manganescan, which would improve the visibility of internal body structures in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The agent evades the limitations of other MRI contrast agents, by using the mineral manganese to illuminate early stage tumours in a way that could allow clinicians to make more informed treatment decisions. The agent also produces oxygen molecules in the tumour, which improves the therapeutic effectiveness of radiation treatment.

“This seed funding is critical in enabling our technology to reach its next inflection point, moving our system closer to the clinic and positioning our company for further investment,” said Mohammad Ali Amini, CEO and co-founder of Nanology. “We were fortunate to have been chosen as a finalist in FACIT’s 2018 pitch competition, which helped to strengthen our subsequent application to the Prospects Fund.”

Nanology Labs’ platform technology enables active transportation of diagnostic and therapeutic agents and molecules to brain tumour tissue. Last October, the startup was one of six companies to receive $50,000 from the Ontario Brain Institute as part of its early-stage neuro-technology entrepreneur awards.

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Nanology is currently a part of the University of Toronto Early Stage Technology (UTEST) Program, which provides support to entrepreneurs looking to create research-based companies. The program operates in partnership with MaRS Innovation and with the financial support of the Connaught Fund. UTEST provides companies with investment capital, mentoring, business strategy, and incubation space at the university’s downtown campus.

FACIT is an accelerator and investor for innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. The Prospects Fund is a part of FACIT’s various commercialization initiatives, programs, and services. It invests in Ontario-based oncology research initiatives, and grants typically range between $50,000 and $200,000. Six finalists are invited to pitch their innovations to a panel of expert judges, with the winner receiving the $50,000 Ernsting Entrepreneurship Award. This year’s competition was held on April 4.

“FACIT’s programs help identify emerging entrepreneurs and illustrate Ontario’s potential to impact patients living with cancer,” said David O’Neill, president of FACIT. “Our mission is to translate these breakthrough innovations and help them grow roots in Ontario, in turn creating skilled job opportunities and strengthening the province’s competitive position as a destination for biotechnology.”

Image courtesy Unsplash.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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