IRICoR makes additional investment in ExCellThera


MONTREAL, Aug. 7, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - IRICoR, a Centre of Excellence in Commercialization and Research with a focus on drug discovery, announces a new investment in ExCellThera Inc., a clinical-stage cell and molecular medicine company which it co-founded in 2015.

IRICoR's investment enabled ExCellThera to secure the co-funding required in connection with the grant awarded to it from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for a Phase 1 clinical trial using its most advanced technology, ECT-001, for the treatment of severe sickle cell disease.

The study will be conducted in California to demonstrate the safety and feasibility of the Quebec-generated ECT-001 Cell Therapy in children and young adults suffering from severe sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder most commonly affecting people of African descent. It is caused by a genetic mutation characterized by a sickle-shaped deformation in red blood cells. This mutation prevents the blood from carrying oxygen effectively through the body and can obstruct the bloodstream, causing extreme pain, recurrent hospitalization and organ failure. It is estimated that sickle cell disease affects about 100,000 people in the United States and Canada.

"At IRICoR, we are extremely pleased to be part of the growing ExCellThera story. The company has repeatedly shown its success in key clinical programs. This major award from the CIRM is an additional opportunity to expand the potential of ECT-001 in yet another important indication. Once again, IRICoR has shown its active commitment through the support of one of its spin-off companies for the benefit of patients suffering from a severe genetic disease", said Dr. Nadine Beauger, Chief Executive Officer of IRICoR.

"The support provided by IRICoR to ExCellThera since its founding has been invaluable. IRICoR initially recognized the importance of launching this spinoff company to offer options to the tens of thousands of patients every year who are diagnosed with blood disorders, and we are pleased about IRICoR's ongoing confidence in ExCellThera through this new investment. This trial is a source of new hope for patients suffering from severe forms of sickle cell disease, and who unfortunately do not have a matched donor allowing them access to a hematopoietic stem cell transplant", added Dr. Guy Sauvageau, CEO and co-founder of ExCellThera.

About IRICoR

Designated as a Centre of Excellence in Research and Commercialization (CECR) by the Canadian government and based at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal, IRICoR is a pan-Canadian leader in the de-risking of early-stage assets in the field of drug discovery. IRICoR's mandate is to accelerate the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel therapies in cancer and rare diseases. Since 2008, IRICoR has been successfully investing in and supporting selected high-value projects in order to rapidly translate early-stage innovation into potential new therapies, through either co-development partnerships with the biopharmaceutical industry or the creation of spin-off companies. IRICoR seamlessly combines its business-related expertise with access to industry-level drug discovery capabilities, providing selected academic and industry projects with access to its network of experts and cutting-edge infrastructure, including one of the largest academia-based drug discovery unit in Canada. IRICoR's major funding sources include the federal CECR Program, the Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation du Québec (MEI), and collaborative partnerships with the biopharmaceutical industry.

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About ExCellThera Inc.

ExCellThera is a clinical-stage molecular medicine biotechnology company delivering molecules and bioengineering solutions to expand stem and immune cells for use in novel one-time curative therapies for patients with hematologic malignancies, autoimmune and other diseases. ExCellThera's lead technology combines a proprietary small molecule, UM171, and an optimized culture system. In pursuit of better treatments for patients, the company is building out its portfolio of products, as well as supporting best-in-class clinical trials.



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