Proteorex Therapeutics is presenting at IndeiBio’s Demo Day!

12 Sep 2017 Proteorex News

The event will be taking place on September 14, 2017.

IndieBio is the world’s largest biotechnology accelerator, and Proteorex is honoured be in Batch 5.

Join us on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 3 PM PST, and watch our live Demo Day presentation, delivered by Dr. Marc Adler, Co-Founder and Director, Technology.

Register for the event to attend in-person in San Francisco.

You can also live stream the event on Twitter using #IndieBio

5 medtech companies to watch at JLABS @ Toronto

1 Jun 2017 Proteorex News

With more than 40 companies on its roster, Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s life sciences incubator JLABS @ Toronto is celebrating a successful first year. One of eight such facilities around North America, JLABS provides early stage startups with space and expertise to get their ideas off the drawing board.

One of those companies is WinterLight Labs, which joined JLABS in January. WinterLight is developing an artificial intelligence platform that analyzes speech patterns to possibly diagnose neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

Like a blood test looking for biological markers, WinterLight’s technology seeks to isolate cadence, word choice and other voice markers that might indicate a neurological issue.

“Different disorders have different clusters of variables associated with them,” said WinterLight CEO and cofounder Liam Kaufman in a phone interview. “For Alzheimer’s disease, there’s more hesitation in their speech. The complexity of their language is reduced, so they’ll say things like car instead of SUV or sedan. They’ll say fewer nouns and substitute with pronouns.”

Motor diseases like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis tend to affect how the voice sounds, often making it flatter. WinterLight’s software keys in on 400 speech variables that might indicate a problem. Kaufman notes that psychiatrists and neurologists have been recognizing these types of verbal cues for many years.

“Within three minutes of talking with a person, I can recognize they have Alzheimer’s disease,” said Kaufman, who has done extensive work with Alzheimer’s patients. “I can’t articulate what I’m picking up, I can’t put a number on it, I just know. This technology is putting a number on it.”

While many of the advantages associated with incubators are obvious – access to investors, regulatory input and simply having a place to put your stuff – providing a built-in community to offer suggestions can be equally significant.

“A lot of life science companies go through the same things,” said Kaufman. “It’s useful to be able to talk to others.”

JLABS @ Toronto touts their no-strings attached model – in which companies retain intellectual property – as one contributor to their success. The site has attracted a diverse group of companies.

Eve Medical has developed an in-home kit to help women test for sexually transmitted infections.

DoseBiome is investigating the oral microbiome to address tooth and gum conditions.

Proteorex Therapeutics has developed a unique discovery platform to accelerate small molecule drug development.

“We officially moved in September of last year, and we have been nothing but impressed,” said Aman Iqbal, Proteorex Therapeutics CEO, in an email. “Each member of the JLABS @ Toronto team has gone above and beyond their duty and answered every possible question we have had.”

Having greater access to business expertise is a resounding benefit. Some company pick up the added advantage of producing technology that could augment J&J’s massive portfolio.

One example is Clerio Vision, which is developing a laser eye therapy that changes the cornea’s refractive index (how light bends as it passes through) rather than its shape.

“Since joining JLABS, J&J has acquired Abbott Medical Optics and is now a global leader in refractive and cataract surgery, the two other application areas of interest to us,” said Clerio CEO Mikael Totterman in an email.

WinterLight has moved past those heady “first date” moments with their technology and is now grinding through product development. They are working with speech pathologists, pharmaceutical companies and senior care homes to test drive their platform and find the right applications.

“When you have a general tool, that can be used for a lot of different things,” said Kaufman. “We’re trying to figure out what those first few things will be.”

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Proteorex a part of IndieBio Class 5

1 Jun 2017 Proteorex News

IndieBio is incredibly excited to announce our fifth class of life science companies. Founders have come to San Francisco from all over the world, including Chile, South Africa, Canada, and across the USA.

These teams are tackling problems in a host of industries such as gene therapy, regenerative medicine, the future of food, and Health IT.


BioAesthetics is regenerating the nipple-areolar complex for the 200,000+ women whom undergo mastectomies every year.


DNALite Therapeutics is developing gene therapy treatments for the gastrointestinal tract. The first lead candidate is for colon cancer, which is the second deadliest cancer in the U.S.

Finless Foods

Finless Foods is producing real fish meat in vitro to feed 8B+ people in 2020. Their fish is free from the mercury, plastic, and hormones that come with all aquaculture and factory fish.

Health Linkages

Health Linkages is the Data Provenance Company. Health Linkages uses a combination of blockchain and big data to enable healthcare and life science institutions to trust, protect and share their data.


QuantumCyte is enabling a deeper understanding of the immune system and cancer biology by enabling next-gen single cell analysis. Their technology has unprecedented ability to analyze large numbers of cells at industry leading resolution.


Pheronym is creating an all natural highly effective insect control for agriculture. By leveraging pheromone spray they double nematode’s effectiveness as an organic insecticide to rival chemicals, without any of the negative health or environmental impact.

Prellis Biologics

Prellis is creating living tissues and organs for pharmaceutical testing and organ transplant. Prellis instantaneously prints high resolution tissue scaffolds that grow into functioning human organs.

Proteorex Therapeutics

Proteorex is discovering small-molecule drugs to treat diseases with the greatest unmet medical need. Their platform can rapidly and cost-effectively unlock previously undruggable targets and has produced multiple partnered compounds.

Stelvio Oncology

Stelvio is focused on delivering precision medicine diagnostics and novel therapeutics for glioblastoma. The resistance of high-grade glioma to conventional cytotoxic drugs has prompted our development of a novel approach to therapy, including differentiating glioma stem cells to less tumorigenic cell fates.


Sugarlogix is creating sugars with functional benefits for healthier foods. Their functional sugars enhance the immune system, promote gut health, and reduce inflammation without compromising taste.


NotCo is combining AI with food-science to craft cutting-edge plant-based foods that deliver unprecedented experiences: Greek Yogurt, Milk, Cheese, Mayo all tasting like the real thing (and even better).

UBA Biologix

UBA cleans industrial wastewater from coal, gold, and platinum mines with an organic bioremediation system. Their first system is operating on a large coal mine in South Africa.

About IndieBio

IndieBio is the world’s largest life sciences accelerator, having funded 67 biotech startups since starting in March 2015. Companies from all over the world apply to be part of a 4 month acceleration program which includes $250,000 funding, dedicated mentorship, and 24/7 access to a co-working space and bio-safety level 1 & 2 labs. During the program, teams are focused on turning science into product, closing customers, and raising follow-on investment.

With a focus on biology as a technology, IndieBio companies solve problems in a huge range of industries such as the future of food, biopharma and healthcare, agtech, regenerative medicine, neurotech, biomaterials, and more. Notable alum include Memphis MeatsKonikuSyntheX TherapeuticsCatalogAva Winery, and Qidni Labs.


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Corbin Therapeutics and Proteorex Therapeutics announce a research and development collaboration

21 May 2017 Proteorex News

Proteorex Therapeutics Inc. (“Proteorex”), headquartered in JLABS @ Toronto, is excited to announce the start of their research and development collaboration with Montreal-based Corbin Therapeutics Inc. (“Corbin”). The collaboration will identify small molecules which efficiently inhibit an important and highly conserved ubiquitin protein. Proteorex will receive an undisclosed upfront payment, and downstream milestone-based payments.

Corbin focuses on a novel therapeutic approach to treat various inflammation-based diseases via inhibition of the ubiquitin-specific protease 15 (USP15). Recently, this protease was shown to be key in the pathogenesis of neuroinflammation and its inhibition might be key in preventing and treating neuroinflammatory-based diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

Proteorex will utilize their award-winning targeted design chemistry platform that employs a simple two-step mechanism to tether small molecules to protein fragments to generate small molecule peptide conjugates (SMPCs). Then the SMPCs are eventually converted to fully small molecule compounds that can be optimized further to become potent drugs in the form of oral pills. The ultimate goal will be to avoid the need for intravenous drugs, benefiting patients’ treatment and care.

Dr. Maxime Ranger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Corbin, commented, “Corbin recognized the high value and great potential of Proteorex’s innovative technology platform to find novel small molecules inhibiting USP15.”  Dr. Aman Iqbal, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Proteorex, added, “Through this collaboration, Proteorex’s mandate is to turn USP15 into a validated druggable target for the treatment of neuro-inflammation.”

About Corbin Therapeutics

Corbin Therapeutics is a Montreal-based biotechnology company, using a unique drug discovery platform to identify and develop novel USP15 inhibitors for treatment of various inflammation diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. This platform includes several in-vitro and in-vivo models for efficient drug screening and confirmation of potential lead candidates.

About Proteorex Therapeutics Inc. 

Proteorex Therapeutics’ mission is to attack the toughest diseases in a powerful way previously thought to be impossible. Proteorex is discovering small-molecule drugs to treat diseases with the greatest unmet medical need.  Their award-winning drug discovery platform uniquely integrates a novel synthesis design strategy, machine learning, and patient-derived cell-based screening to rapidly and cost-effectively unlock targets considered undruggable using existing approaches.

SOURCE Corbin Therapeutics inc 

For further information: Dr. Maxime Ranger, President and Chief Executive Officer, Corbin Therapeutics, Tel: (514) 825 – 9035,; Dr. Aman Iqbal, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Proteorex Therapeutics, Tel: (647) 835 – 8391,

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OBIO CAAP® 2017 Kicks Off Just As Toronto Health Innovation Week Launches

21 Apr 2017 Proteorex News

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO®) kicked off its 2017 Capital Access Advisory Program (CAAP®) on March 29, 2017, hosted at sponsor Norton Rose Fulbright LLP (NRF) Canada, just as Toronto’s first inaugural Health Innovation Week launches. Now in its fifth year, this year’s cohort of 10 high potential health science companies will work with OBIO and a vast network of expert advisors to address key goals and objectives which will position them for successful financing. OBIO CAAP companies are advancing and accelerating the development and commercialization of therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices and health IT products and services to benefit Ontario and global human health.

“OBIO CAAP is a unique program for health science companies who receive personalized coaching, advisor and investor introductions ultimately driving fundraising success leading to business development and growth,” said Gail Garland, CEO of OBIO.

“Our experience with OBIO has been tremendous! As OBIO Members and being part of OBIO CAAP we have received informative webinars, impactful pitch coaching, investor readiness reviews, and warm introductions to health science investors. Having experience with other accelerators, we can say without a doubt that OBIO provides the best insights of any program we’ve worked with. I would enthusiastically encourage any life science entrepreneur to engage with OBIO as early as possible,” said Joe Eibl, CEO, KE2 Technologies and OBIO 2016 CAAP company.

Some of the cutting edge and high impact technologies in this year’s OBIO CAAP 2017 program include: smart implantable bionic chips to restore partial vision, an audio and video entertainment system for MRIs, novel navigational tools and force sensing technology for minimally invasive surgery, digital pathology solutions, speech analysis using artificial intelligence to detect mental and cognitive impartment, novel therapeutic approaches for sustained pain relief post-surgery, drug conjugated antibodies and novel small molecule drugs for cancer, and smart diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for inflammatory bowel disease using the gut microbiome.

Toronto’s Health Innovation Week commenced yesterday, April 3, 2017 and provides the opportunity for hundreds of investors, startups, enterprises and policymakers to do business in the healthcare sector. In spirit and support of the week, OBIO hosted its 2nd Annual The Night Before RESI Event, an intimate evening of targeted networking, engaging health science companies looking to fundraise, including the 2017 OBIO CAAP cohort with Canadian and International investors, multinationals and Trade Commissioners, over good food. The event served to put a warm touch on the meetings happening today at The Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) Conference (RESI) lands on MaRS.

“Tailored networking events, led by Industry leaders, such as OBIO’s The Night Before RESI, legitimizes and fosters the commercialization of health science companies and strengthens the sector overall,” said event sponsor Christopher Jones, Partner, Blakes LLP.

OBIO’s continued advocacy, programming, and events, and initiatives such as Toronto Health Innovation Week help to strengthen and highlight the emerging importance of the Health Science Industry not only in Ontario and Canada but on a global scale.

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Six new drug discovery acceleration projects supported by CQDM and Ontario Centres of Excellence

7 Jun 2016 Proteorex News

San Francisco, June 7, 2016. – Partners since 2012, CQDM and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) are pleased to announce the funding of six new game-changing research projects to accelerate drug discovery under the Quebec-Ontario Life Sciences Corridor, for a total of $1.8M invested. The projects are part of the Explore program and were announced at the 2016 BIO International Convention in San Francisco which was attended by Dominique Anglade, Quebec’s Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy.

The unique CQDM/OCE Explore program funds Quebec and Ontario-based researchers whose unconventional research projects provide early concept validation of cutting-edge technologies that address the needs of biopharmaceutical research. CQDM’s pharmaceutical members are particularly involved in this program. Senior scientists from member companies provide industrial expertise and support to the funded projects through CQDM’s mentoring program.

The six projects will focus on innovative approaches to treating cancer and heart diseases as well as new vaccine therapies and other drug discovery. The project teams will be led by Dr. Robert Batey (University of Toronto), Dr. Mickie Bhatia and Dr. Michael Thompson (McMaster University), Dr. Yves St-Pierre (INRS – Institut Armand-Frappier), Dr. Daniel Larocque (PAIRimmune Inc.) and Dr. Jason Maynes (Hospital for Sick Children).

Through the Quebec-Ontario Life Sciences Corridor, immense strides have been made by the two provinces in Canadian scientific R&D. Today’s announcement brings to 15 the number of projects co-funded between CQDM and OCE. These funded projects are comprised of 39 researchers from 18 public and private organizations who are committed to accelerating innovation in the drug discovery and development processes.

This whole-of-government approach to funding innovation, including federal government support, creates an efficient means for industry to access academic expertise and resources.

“We are delighted about our long-lasting partnership with OCE. Together, under the Quebec-Ontario corridor, we fund the best possible research in our two provinces. Our strong inter-provincial collaboration fortifies the Canadian life sciences ecosystem and makes the co-funding of these unique and very innovative projectspossible. We have pulled our strengths and resources together to build strong research networks in Quebec and Ontario,” said Dr. Diane Gosselin, President and CEO of CQDM.

“We are very pleased to be working in partnership with CQDM with the shared goal of enhancing the capacity of our two provinces to commercialize research and increase global competitiveness in the important area of drug discovery,” said Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence. “This is an excellent program that enables researchers to undertake unconventional research that challenges established practices in the drug R&D process and has the potential to transform current models and ways of thinking.”

“Through these research projects, Québec and Ontario are once again joining forces to further foster drug discoveries that will enhance the quality of life of many Quebecers and Canadians. I would like to pay tribute to CQDM’s outstanding contribution to the establishment of the partnerships, which are further bolstering Québec’s expertise in the life sciences industry,” Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy Dominique Anglade noted.

“I am excited about these six new projects, which will accelerate groundbreaking discoveries and strengthen our innovation ecosystem. I am grateful to both OCE and CQDM for their sustained efforts to foster collaboration between Ontario and Quebec.” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation. “Both provinces have ever-expanding life sciences sectors, and a lot to offer each other, including knowledge and expertise that can shape an enhanced tomorrow. By working together, we remain focused on the future, and committed to driving discoveries that change people’s lives.”

Six new drug discovery acceleration projects

Michael Thompson of McMaster University – Screening Methods for Thermally Stable Spray Dried Vaccines

Vaccines can have a profound influence on the health and longevity of a population; because of their heat sensitivity, however, they also introduce complex manufacturing issues for pharmaceutical companies. The development of thermally stable vaccines would improve their storage and distribution efficacy by diminishing or even eliminating the costly needs related to cold-temperature management. This project combines the expertise of pathology and engineering to create new thermally stable vaccines that will translate to spray drying processes.

Jason Maynes of the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and University of Toronto – Novel Methods to Evaluate the Cardiac Activity of Pharmaceuticals: Identifying New Therapies and Predicting Cardiac Toxicity

New heart disease therapies are challenging to develop due to the complex functions of heart muscle and the difficultly of modelling heart cell behavior. Developing systems that are better able to recreate how heart muscle works in the body will facilitate the discovery of new cardiac therapeutics and help scientists better predict how drugs affect the heart. Dr. Maynes and his team of researchers are looking to develop a system that will measure the comprehensive function of human heart cells, by combining novel engineering techniques with cutting-edge methods in regenerative medicine.

Mick Bhatia of McMaster University – Human sensory neurons directly converted from blood for assaying chemotherapy-induced neuropathy and drug discovery

One of the side effects of life-saving chemotherapy is damage to sensory neurons, which transmit information from the brain to every other part of the body. The damage is known as “chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy” (CIPN) and results in pain so severe, chemotherapy is often stopped before the cancer cells have been fully eradicated. There are currently no medications to prevent CIPN. McMaster’s Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute hopes to change this with a process that converts human blood to peripheral nerve cells, which will allow for the testing of thousands of FDA-approved drugs for their ability to reduce the damage to peripheral nerves. This project aims to deliver between two and three new drug candidates to repurpose for CIPN; new insights and new targets for CIPN; and a platform to test for peripheral neuropathy (PN) side-effects for the next generation of chemotherapeutics.

Robert Batey of University of Toronto – Innovative technology platform for small molecule fragment screening and lead development against protein-protein interaction drug targets

Disrupting some of the more than 350,000 protein complexes identified in genome sequencing is a viable therapeutic strategy for finding cures for many human ailments. Historically, targeting these protein-protein interactions (PPIs) has proven to be very challenging. Multiple techniques and technologies have been tested, but they have not been very successful. This project is focused on an innovative and high throughput technology that will enable the identification of small molecules (oral pills) that can be developed into drugs.

Yves St. Pierre of Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique – Dimer Interfering peptides (DIPs): A novel platform for targeting the immunosuppressive functions of prototypic galectins

Galectins play a central role in many diseases, most notably cancer. When produced in excess by cancer cells, prototypic galectins suppress the local and systemic immune response in patients by eliminating cancer-killing T cells. This project targets one of the 15 members of the galectin family, which is expressed at abnormally high levels in aggressive forms of breast and ovarian cancer, and for which there is currently no effective treatment.

Daniel Larocque of PAIRimmune Inc. – A new flow cytometry platform to evaluate the efficacy of immunotherapies and vaccines

The most successful area in drug development for cancer, infectious diseases and chronic disorders over the last several years relates to the development of effective therapies, vaccines and drugs related to the immune system. Proof-of-Concept studies for a platform known as Immune Complex Phagocytic Assessment (ICPA) will be performed in a way that is similar to those developed for Alzheimer’s therapy, HIV vaccines, cancer immunotherapy and microbial infections. This approach could find implications in future immunotherapies and could be used to develop new assays and biomarkers to monitor the immunological response to candidate therapeutics.

About CQDM
CQDM is a pharma-based consortium active in early research whose mission is to fund the development of innovative tools and technologies to accelerate drug discovery. Unique in the world, CQDM’s business model is based on a collaborative approach where all stakeholders share the costs of biopharmaceutical research and benefit from its results. CQDM also provides a common meeting ground where academia, governments, and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries converge to address numerous complex medical challenges. CQDM receives financial support from Merck, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly Canada, Janssen, Novartis Pharma Canada, Sanofi Canada, as well as from Quebec’s Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation (MESI) and from the Government of Canada under the Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence Program (BL-NCE). For more information:

About the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario’s global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario’s industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and government ministries. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, information and communications technology, digital media, advanced materials and manufacturing, agri-food, aerospace, transportation, energy, and the environment including water and mining. Funded by the Government of Ontario, OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario’s Innovation Agenda as a member of the province’s Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE).For more information:

Eugénie Bergeron-Côté
Communications Advisor
Tel.: (514) 766-6661, ext. 2196

Stuart Green
Manager, Media Relations
Ontario Centres of Excellence
Tel.: (416) 861-1092, ext. 1022

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JLABS gives U of T startups a place to call home

11 May 2016 Proteorex News

“They’ll give us the right exposure to the business side and they’ll help us carve out a clear path to market”

Up until today, Nanovista existed only in the virtual world.

Meetings involving the startup’s three co-founders took place in the Mercatto coffee shop downstairs in the MaRs Discovery District, while research was conducted in labs and operating rooms around downtown Toronto.

Now, they’re moving on up to the 13th floor of the MaRS West Tower – one of the first 22 up-and-coming companies selected to be part of JLABS @ Toronto, an innovative research centre designed to advance bio/pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and digital health programs.

“Being a part of JLABS brings us one step closer to commercializing and delivering this product to market to help patients,” said Jinzi Zheng of her company’s injectable imaging agent that helps surgeons see where tumours are located and remove them more precisely, while leaving healthy tissue intact.

“They’ll give us the right exposure to the business side and they’ll help us carve out a clear path to market. We’re scientists, we don’t have that expertise.”

Of the 22 startups at JLABS announced today, at least eight have ties to the University of Toronto and its partner hospitals – like Nanovista, which developed out of research started by Zheng as she worked towards her PhD in medical biophysics. The others include: 6Biotech, App4Independence, AvroBio, DNAstack, Ketogen Pharma, Ubiquitech and Proteorex Therapeutics Inc., which is working closely with Professor Robert Batey, chair of the department of chemistry.

Their new home is a gleaming 40,000-square-foot facility that has cutting-edge, modular and scalable lab space, equipment and, most importantly, access to scientific, industry and capital funding experts.

It also features JLABS’ first device and digital prototype lab, which was shown off today at its official opening to dignitaries including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Toronto Mayor John Tory and U of T president Meric Gertler.

The space, which is rented by JLABS from the University of Toronto, is the result of a unique collaboration between global giant Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC, the university, the Government of Ontario, Janssen Inc., MaRS Innovation and several hospital partners.

“The project to transform and fit out the floor into the first Canadian location for JLABS, budgeted at $18.3 million, came in on time and more than a million dollars under budget,” said Scott Mabury, U of T’s vice-president of operations.

Every speaker at the event mentioned the university and the critical role it played in making JLABS @ Toronto a reality, including Wynne.

“The opportunities that JLABS will create for Ontario are immense,” she said. “And while the driving force behind those successes will be the people who take their research from lab to market, we need to recognize that there are other factors.

“If it weren’t for MaRS, if it weren’t for U of T, the strategic partnership stream of our Jobs and Prosperity Fund, the life sciences corridor that surrounds us today, and the whole innovation ecosystem that we’ve built here in Ontario, there would be no JLABs launch today.”


photo of Meric Gertler at lectern

With five locations in the United States, coming to Toronto next made sense.

“Canada’s startup scene is booming,” explained Melinda Richter, head of JLABS.

The location is also perfect – smack dab in the centre of Toronto’s bustling ecosystem of hospitals, businesses and university labs that already attract more than $1.4-billion in research funding each year to the city.

The university’s Banting and Best Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (BBCIE) is also just across the street, making this stretch of College Street the place to be for ambitious researchers to hang out their shingle with the hope of turning their discovery into the next big thing.

“We’re excited to have JLABS @ Toronto join the University of Toronto as the newest addition to our vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said Gertler. “Together with our nine campus-led accelerators, under the umbrella of our Banting & Best Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, we’re fuelling the creation of new companies, new jobs and solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Interested in startups and entrepreneurship? Visit the BBCIE


For Zheng and her Nanovista co-founders, Christine Allen and David Jaffray, a world of possibilities has now opened up by joining the JLABS family.

This in addition to their academic positions at U of T. Zheng is an assistant professor in the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering,a scientist in the Institute for the Advancement of Technology for Health with the University Health Network (UHN) and a morning/evening MBA 2017 candidate at U of T’s Rotman School of Management. Allen is a professor in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and GSK Chair in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery. And Jaffray is a professor, director of TECHNA and executive vice-president of technology and innovation at UHN.

“It’s going to be great to be able to bounce ideas around with the other startups,” said Zheng (pictured below). “They’re going to have some of the same challenges as us, which means we can learn from each other. They’ll be a healthy competition.”

And aside from dreams of having operating rooms around the world stocked with vials of their product, Zheng says ideally they’d like their time at JLABS to lead to them meeting the right people who can take over the business side of their company, freeing them to focus on what they know best – pushing the science forward.

photo of Zheng at lectern

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Proteorex Therapeutics’ Win Shines Global Spotlight

23 Sep 2015 Proteorex News

From Long Shot to Hot Shot – Proteorex Therapeutics’ Win Shines Global Spotlight on Toronto as Emerging Commercialized Biomedical Research Hub

Proteorex Therapeutics Inc. recently showed the world that Canadian life science companies have what it takes to compete globally. Proteorex became the first Canadian company to win the grand prize at the first annual Johnson & Johnson Innovation Biotech Startup Day competition at BioPharm America™ 2015 – the world’s largest biopharma conference.

In fact, Proteorex Therapeutics was the only Canadian company to be shortlisted to present at this day-long session providing early-stage projects and young companies the opportunity to get on the global life science community’s radar.

Viewed as a long shot by some competitors, Proteorex ended up blowing away the competition with a winning pitch showcasing its innovative technology and services to support drug discovery.

Proteorex Therapeutics is developing cures for diseases by identifying and blocking faulty molecular networks inside and outside of cells with an innovative proprietary technology. Proteorex will target the emerging fields of personalized medicine, Epigenetics and rare diseases. The total market size is around $1 trillion.

Company Co-founder, Aman Iqbal is thrilled with the win. “Johnson & Johnson Innovation sees the potential in our approach to solving this problem and we are excited to work closely with the J&J mentor and utilize the lab space to further develop our technology and disrupt the space. This recognition should also enable us to leverage seed funding to achieve our goals,” said Iqbal.

Proteorex Therapeutics Inc. Co-founder, Aman Iqbal

Proteorex Therapeutics Inc. Co-founder, Aman Iqbal

Operating as a virtual lab since 2014, Proteorex will gain access to free lab space as the first tenants of the soon-to-be-launched Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS @ Toronto location and receive mentoring from a Johnson & Johnson Innovation team member.

The prize will also enable the company to tap into global investment contacts to help raise $1 million in capital. According to Iqbal, funding is a constant issue for Proteorex and other biotech startups in the Toronto region. “Therapeutics research is expensive and it takes a long time to see results, so it can be difficult to raise capital in our smaller, more risk averse investment community in Canada.”

Iqbal, who graduated from the University of Oxford with a PhD in Chemistry, is very passionate about using his deep scientific knowledge and sharp business acumen to solve some of the most challenging healthcare problems in the world.

Proteorex Therapeutics’ business model is founded on using its technology platform to find drugs to treat some rare cancers and work towards personalized cancer medicine via internal discovery and strategic partnerships with pharmaceutical companies. Proteorex plans to generate a pipeline of first-in-class and best-in-class products.

Proteorex is spun out from Structural Genomics Consortium, leaders in the field of epigenetics research, which has two drug research programs to target a very rare type of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) termed r-All/AML. This disease affects infants under the age of one year, kids under 17 years and certain adult populations. Currently, there are no treatments in the market. Existing Leukemia drugs are either ineffective for this subtype or very toxic. Proteorex’s unique technology platform enabled researchers to find novel leads for these two r-MLL drug targets.

“Our approach will have a huge impact on exploring uncharted territories to discover cures for diseases with highest unmet need. We are coupling technological innovation with business model innovation to revolutionize the BioPharma industry.”

Iqbal attributes some of Proteorex’s success to being located in the Toronto region, which made it easy to build a network within a highly entrepreneurial community of biotech, biopharma and other companies. Proteorex has also benefited from access to a supportive and well connected ecosystem that includes innovation incubator, MaRS and its The Next 36 program, of which Proteorex is an alumnus, as well as experts at its world-leading universities and research hospitals.

Despite seeing other young companies move south of the border to grow, Iqbal sees amazing potential here in the Toronto region. “Toronto is witnessing an exciting resurgence of interest in the field of commercializing biomedical research,” he notes. He sees the announcement of JLabs opening in Toronto ahead of Europe as well as British Columbia firm Blueline Bio locating in Toronto as encouraging signs of even more innovation and activity in the coming decade. “Developments like these inspire others to look at Toronto from a different perspective. If we can make our mark here, I think we could be a really good example for others to follow.”

In Iqbal’s view, it is well worth making the investment in a not so long shot.

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Proteorex Therapeutics Inc. wins recognition at BioPharm America™

16 Sep 2015 Proteorex News

Toronto-based biotech startup wins recognition at BioPharm America™ 2015 during Johnson & Johnson Innovation Startup Day competition

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

CARLSBAD, Calif. and BOSTON, Sept. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — EBD Group today announced the winners of the first annual Johnson & Johnson Innovation Biotech Startup Day competition at the eighth annual BioPharm America™ 2015 life science partnering event in Boston.

The winner of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Startup Day competition grand prize went to Proteorex Therapeutics Inc. for their innovative technology and services to support drug discovery. As the grand prize winner of the competition Proteorex Therapeutics Inc. will have the opportunity to gain access to the use of one bench at a Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS location for three months and six months of mentorship from a Johnson & Johnson Innovation team member.

Cardiio, Inc. based in Cambridge, MA, was chosen from among 20 pre-selected startups who participated in an open mic pitch contest at Biotech Startup Day. Participants pitched to a judging panel of industry experts made up of top investors, including from Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Mass Med Angels and Boston Harbor Angels, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Atlas Venture, and Lilly Ventures. Cardiio, Inc. will receive a presentation slot at, and complimentary full access registration to, the 2016 BioPharm America event from the EBD Group.

This year was the first edition of Biotech Startup Day, a dedicated day at BioPharm America specifically designed to provide early-stage projects and young companies the opportunity to get on the radar of the global life science community.

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