A Halifax biomedical company on a mission to fight superbugs is enhancing its product development with an investment from the province.
DeNovaMed Inc. has secured $500,000 in venture capital from Innovacorp.
"Imagine, a new generation of antibiotics, developed here in Nova Scotia, to combat some of the world's deadliest diseases," said Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris. "This investment supports the innovation and competitiveness priorities of the jobsHere plan to grow our economy, to say nothing of what it could mean to our health and wellbeing one day."
DeNovaMed is using computer-aided drug design to develop a new class of compounds that could treat infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria, or superbugs. The new antibiotics will target a particularly dangerous superbug known as MRSA, which often causes a skin infection that can rapidly spread to other organs in the body, is a serious problem in hospitals, and is now being observed in communities at an alarming rate.
"We're in the early stages of curing animals of infectious disease and expect to be ready for clinical trials starting two years from now," said Chris McMaster, DeNovaMed founder and president. "This investment will allow us to hire additional staff and advance through the research and development process. We look forward to being able to deliver on the clinical promise of our innovation."
After prolonged treatment with antibiotics, bacteria become resistant to the drugs. It has been three decades since a truly new antibiotic has been developed. If DeNovaMed's clinical trials are successful, the company will aim to partner with a large pharmaceutical company that would conduct the larger clinical trials and bring the drug to market.
Today's $500,000 investment includes the $120,000 seed investment announced when DeNovaMed was named as both a zone and provincial winner in Innovacorp's recent I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition.
"We're very excited to be working with a team seeking to transform therapeutics for infectious diseases," said Lidija Marusic, investment manager at Innovacorp. "DeNovaMed's innovative antibiotic platform, combined with its solid plan for future growth, puts them in great standing for the rapidly mounting need for superbug treatments."
Based out of the cheminformatics and drug discovery laboratory at the IWK Health Centre, DeNovaMed has four PhD employees as well as scientific founders, Mr. McMaster, David Byers and Don Weaver.
For more information contact:
T 902.424.8670 ext. 1189
Halifax, Nova Scotia, August 8, 2012