FACIT, a commercialization venture firm focused on advancing Ontario’s top-tier oncology innovations, announced new follow-on investments in start-ups Xpan Inc. (“Xpan”) and Nanology Labs (“Nanology”). Spun out of the University of Toronto, both start-ups have previously received funding through FACIT’s proof-of-concept Prospects Fund that enabled the companies to address key commercialization challenges. Upon successfully achieving initial business targets, these start-ups and their respective technologies have been elevated to an equity-based investment through FACIT’s seed stage Compass Rose Fund.
Nanology has developed a first-in-class theranostic agent enabling real-time tumor detection and radio-sensitization. In animal models, this agent is safer and more sensitive than MRI contrast agents currently available. It simultaneously oxygenates the tumor area leading to an improvement in radiation therapy efficacy. “FACIT’s follow-on investment is critical in enabling our technology to reach its next inflection point, moving closer to the clinic and positioning our company for further investment,” said Dr. Mohammad Ali Amini, Co-Founder and CEO of Nanology.
The 2020 MEDTEQ Innovation Summit will provide 5 Canadian healthtech start-ups with the opportunity to showcase their company in front of high profile investors, potential clients and partners during a cocktail reception by invitation. Each selected company will have five minutes to present its solution and technology and try to secure up to a $200,000 investment from the MEDTEQ investment fund.
A MEDTEQ Invest cocktail reception: More than 50 companies applied to present their technological solution at an invitation‐ only cocktail party attended by numerous investors, with $200,000 at stake. The winner, Nanology Labs, will be able to appear before the MEDTEQ investment committee.
“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 Dr. Mohammad Ali Amini, CEO and Co-Founder of Nanology Labs. “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.”
As part of FACIT’s suite of commercialization initiatives, investment programs and services, the Prospects Oncology Fund strives to advance Ontario’s cancer research innovations by supporting proof-of-concept activities. The Prospects Fund frequently receives applications from groups who have previously participated in FACIT’s annual Falcons’ Fortunes pitch competition. Any Ontario-based oncology researcher may submit an abstract to the pitch competition. From all abstracts received, six finalists are then invited to pitch their innovations to a diverse panel of expert judges, with the winner receiving the $50,000 Ernsting Entrepreneurship Award. FACIT runs the annual pitch competition as part of its broader mandate to build a culture supportive of entrepreneurship and commercialization in Ontario, generating a source of deal flow and investment opportunities from across the province.
Nanology Labs' CEO and Founder, Mohammad Amini, presented his cancer-treating nanotechnology startup with an air of confidence and insightful clarity in the RBC Prize for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, which is an annual pitch competition as the finale of the True Blue Expo, the capstone event of U of T Entrepreneurship Week.
Nanology Labs won the $25,000 Later Stage first prize victory due to its idea of “non-toxic MRI contrast agent” called Manganescan that is more effective in detecting early-stage brain tumors addressing the current societal problem of merely detecting brain cancer in the advance stage. On top of Nanology Labs' already developed prototype that has been pre-clinically validated, it will begin scaling up production this year and validate its safety in dogs. Amini aims to manufacture formula for clinical trials by 2021 and launch the product by 2024. With a conservative estimate, the company is expected to bring in $120 million to $150 million annually by 2029.
Nanology Labs receives $50,000 from the Ontario Brain Institute's ONtrepreneurs program - Canada’s largest single award focused on neurotechnology.
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