Biotech startup AmacaThera nets $3.6m to ‘redefine’ therapeutic delivery

By Lucy Ingham

Canadian biotechnology startup AmacaThera has closed $3.6m seed financing round to help it commercialise its proprietary technology to improve drug delivery.

The funding round was led by Sprout BioVentures and Viva Biotech, which specialise in early investments in startups within the drug development space.

Additional funding was also provided by early stage life sciences investment fund Grey Sky Venture Partners and healthcare venture capital firm Lumira Ventures, which completed the round.

“We are thrilled to have the Lumira team as part of our investor group and look forward to working closely with them and our other investors in executing the company’s business plan,” said Dr Molly Shoichet, co-founder and chief scientific officer of AmacaThera.

AmacaThera targets improving drug delivery

The funding will enable AmacaThera to step up commercialisation efforts of its proprietary drug delivery technology.

This takes the form of a hydrogel that is designed to be combined with therapeutic agents to form a completed product that can be injected locally and releases the drug over time.

This results in improvements to the delivery, targeting and release of the therapeutic agent, with AmacaThera claiming that its hydrogel “out-competes other available technologies”.

The startup’s first product, AMT-143, uses the hydrogel to improve post-operative pain control. This in turn should result in less or even no opioids needing to be prescribed post-surgery – a key goal given increasing issues surrounding opioid dependency in the US.

“We are thankful for the support of our investors. This capital will allow us to advance our drug delivery platform technology into clinical trials in 2020,” explained Mike Cooke, co-founder and CEO of AmacaThera.

The funding round has also seen Peter van der Velden, managing general partner at Lumira Ventures, join the company’s board of directors.

“We have followed the evolution of the AmacaThera story for some time and, as a result, we had the opportunity to work closely with Molly, Mike and the rest of the team before our investment,” he said of the news.

“That relationship, and the insights we gained, gave us confidence in their technology, development strategy and the opportunity to develop a novel non-opioid-based product for the treatment of post-surgical pain.”

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