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AmorChem l.p. Invests in a Novel Cholesterol-Lowering Biologic Product Targeting PCSK9 and Puts in Place a Master Agreement With Univalor, L.P.

8/14/2012 10:11:49 AM

Montreal, Quebec –August 8, 2012 – AmorChem is delighted to announce the closing of another transaction with Univalor, the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (“IRCM”), the National Research Council of Canada and Dr. Nabil G. Seidah to pursue the discovery of a new biologic product to control cholesterol levels. This biologic is part of an emerging family of therapeutic products called “single-domain” antibodies and it will target PCSK9, which, when blocked, leads to a significant lowering of cholesterol levels in the blood. This new approach using biologic products opens an opportunity which is complementary to the small molecule approach already underway in Dr. Seidah’s laboratories and at NuChem Therapeutics inc. under AmorChem’s financing.

“Because AmorChem believes in the importance of PCSK9 in the treatment of high cholesterol, we feel it is crucial to attack it with different tactics”, explains Dr. Elizabeth Douville from AmorChem. “Beyond this project, we strongly believe in the importance of having put in place a Master Agreement with Univalor”, she continued, “and several further deals are being lined up with them now that this has been accomplished.”

PCSK9 is a well-known, validated target used in efforts to develop a new generation of drugs more efficacious than the currently used products, statins, which include LipitorTM. This multi-billion dollar market is expected to continue to rise significantly over the next decade.

“IRCM is proud to be part of the success of this project. Discovery of novel drug development targets is a long-term endeavor”, comments Dr. Tarik Möröy, its President and Scientific Director. “Our Institute congratulates Dr. Seidah on his diligent work. The discovery of the importance of the PCSK9 target in cholesterol control is the product of many years of research” emphasises Dr. Möröy.

“This is a very exciting period of research and discovery that should culminate in the identification of novel drug candidates to efficaciously control the levels of circulating low density lipoprotein cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) with minimal side effects”, adds Dr. Seidah.

The work on the biologic inhibitor of PCSK9 will be done in Dr. Seidah’s laboratories at the IRCM. “We are keen on maximizing our exposure in certain fields and our dual efforts in Dr. Seidah’s lab reflect this portfolio strategy. We are planning to continue to build our portfolio by announcing additional deals shortly”, comments Dr. Inès Holzbaur, from AmorChem.


AmorChem L.P. ( is a venture capital fund located in Montreal focused on investing in promising life science projects originating from Quebec-based universities and research centres. This fund is the latest addition to the GeneChem portfolio of funds, a fund manager in existence since 1997. AmorChem’s innovative business model involves financing research-stage projects to enable them to reach pre-clinical proof-of-concept (“POC”) in a semi-virtual mode within 18-24 months. The fund seeks to generate returns through a two-pronged exit strategy: sell projects having reached POC to large biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies; or bundle them into new spin-out companies. The projects will be managed by AmorChem using external resources. To that effect, AmorChem has established a strategic partnership with the Biotechnology Research Institute in order to access its R&D platforms. In addition, to enabling projects requiring small molecules as tools or drug leads, AmorChem has founded NuChem Therapeutics Inc., a medicinal chemistry contract-research company.


Univalor, founded in 2001, is a limited partnership that offers to the industry the opportunity to increase their competitive advantage through access to leading edge scientific and engineering technologies developed by world class researchers from the Université de Montréal, its affiliated schools and most of its affiliated hospitals. The work of Univalor’s specialists is to showcase some of the most promising technologies developed by those researchers to potential partners looking for innovation in the areas of life sciences and human health, pure and applied sciences, engineering, information technology and management sciences. Please visit for more information.


Founded in 1967, the IRCM ( is currently comprised of 36 research units in various fields, namely immunity and viral infections, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, cancer, neurobiology and development, systems biology and medicinal chemistry. It also houses three specialized research clinics, seven core facilities and three research platforms with state-of-the-art equipment. The IRCM employs 425 people and is an independent institution affiliated with the Université de Montréal. The IRCM clinic is associated to the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM). The IRCM also maintains a long-standing association with McGill University.

Media contacts:

Elizabeth Douville


Inès Holzbaur


Business development contact:

John Clement

514-849-6477 (o) ; 514-887-7696 (c)

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