MONTRÉAL (Québec), Canada - gIcare Pharma Inc announced the closing of a seven million dollar (7M$US) Series A financing, today. gIcare Pharma is developing a novel alternative to perform safe, painless colonoscopies without any kind of sedation. In addition to offering clinical benefits during the procedure, GIC-1001's use does not require a recovery room or particular medical assistance post-colonoscopy. This colonic analgesic approach aligns well with the current global strategy to reduce healthcare costs. The financing was coled by Forbion Capital Partners and Genesys Capital. "This financing will certainly translate into value creation for GIC-1001 which offers multi-level advantages for patients as well as for practicing gastroenterologists and third-party payers", said Maxime Ranger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, gIcare Pharma Inc. "We have received an unfailing support from our investors, especially from Sander van Deventer, MD, gastroenterologist and General Partner at Forbion Capital, who brought his extensive knowledge in GI drug development".
"Colonoscopy screening is very effective for prevention of colorectal cancer, but sedation significantly adds to the costs of the procedure and is the cause of about 50% of procedure related complications. We believe that the development of GIC-1001 will facilitate a much wider acceptance of sedation-free colonoscopy, which will benefit patients and reduce costs. The product profile indicates that it may also be effective in a wide range of additional indications including irritable bowel syndrome", said Dr. van Deventer.
"gIcare Pharma combines management talent and scientific strength in GI drug development and innovation unique to the local Montreal area and we are excited to be co-leading the financing", said Jamie Stiff, gIcare's Board member and a Partner at Genesys Capital.
Colonoscopy is one of most performed endoscopic procedures worldwide. With the increasing incidence of CRC, video-colonoscopy remains the best tool to screen patients for this disease and monitor them over the time. More than 14 million of colonoscopies are performed annually in the US alone. This number includes 9 million of full colonoscopies, which generally cause serious discomfort and even pain. In 40% of cases, deep sedation (i.e. propofol) is used, while 56% of colonoscopies are managed through the use of moderate sedation (e.g. midazolam/fentanyl). A similar trend is observed in Western European countries. Both deep and moderate sedation modalities are associated with a significant cost, particularly in the US, representing a significant fraction of colonoscopy exam fees. GIC- 1001's goal is to replace either deep or sedation currently used in colonoscopy and significantly reduce the cost of the overall procedure.
GIC-1001 is an orally-administered, non-centrally-acting opioid agonist interacting with colonic mu and kappa opioid receptors. This drug candidate also features significant antispasmodic effects, which are expected to reduce colonic spasms, facilitate the insertion and passage of the colonoscope, and then shorten the time to reach the caecum, without interfering with the patient's normal gastrointestinal tract motility. gIcare Pharma also intends to develop GIC-1001 in other medical indications for pain management. The Company owns the intellectual property which protects the molecular structure of GIC-1001 and its use in colonoscopy. The Company owns the PCT patent on a series of GIC-1001 derived new chemical entities.
About gIcare Pharma Inc
gIcare Pharma is a pharmaceutical developer of proprietary therapeutic drugs in gastroenterology. The management's expertise aligns with the corporate strategy to develop and acquire innovative GI drugs. GIC-1001's development program is led by Dr Patrick Colin, former Vice-President R&D at Axcan Pharma (now Aptalis Pharma). The Company's core technology emerges from the work of Dr. François Martin, a far-sighted gastroenterologist, former Chief Medical Officer at Axcan Pharma, who envisioned the use of oral opioid agonists as colonic analgesic drugs in colonoscopy.
About Forbion Capital Partners
Forbion Capital Partners is a dedicated Life Sciences venture capital firm with offices in Naarden, The Netherlands, and Munich, Germany. Forbion invests in life sciences companies, particularly in world-class drug discovery & development as well as med tech companies addressing substantial unmet medical needs. For more information, please visit www.forbion.com.
About Genesys Capital
Genesys Capital is focused on building companies in the fast-growing sectors of healthcare and biotechnology. Through its expertise and industry network, Genesys accelerates the development of commercially viable emerging companies that represent promising biotechnology investment opportunities. Genesys is one of the largest Canadian-based venture capital firms exclusively focused on the life sciences industry. For more information, visit www.genesyscapital.com